In English my last name is a device
that transports hospital patients from one room to another,
unless they are left in the hallway,
waiting an inordinate amount of time
for a room to open up for sleep, recovery or a procedure.
Since the wheeled stretcher
was first called a gurney in nineteen-thirty-five,
of unexplained origin in the dictionary,
and our family moved to the American colonies in sixteen-thirty-four,
there must be another meaning hidden somewhere.
Ancestry research claims Gurney is a place name,
English, evolved from the Norman-French Gournay
back when the Normans controlled
parts of England and parts of France, but not the whole of either.
A few letters dropped or changed along the way
to modern times from the Norman-Saxon merger
to Albuquerque, New Mexico where I live—
which is not unusual when you consider the phrase
an inkling started out as a nicking—a simple count.
So much for my pet theory that the name originated
from Guernsey, the channel island between France
and the English coast where that wonderful book
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society
is set just after World War Two.
copyright © 2019 Kenneth P. Gurney