jed smith 
Jed Smith at the 2005 Indy 500 goes: I'm "officially" named after my dad, Gerald M. Smith, so I'm a Jr. When my dad was a toddler, he prounounced his name 'jedmautinpiff', so my grandfather nicknamed him Jed for awhile then it became the customary Jerry, for Gerald. When I came along, rather than calling me "junior", or Little Jerry, or something similar my parents -- along with my grandfather -- remembered the 'jedmautinpiff' thing and decided to nickname me "Jed "-- it was "Jeddy" up until high school when I made an IMMEDIATE change to Jed -- and it stuck. ONLY those friends, male and female alike, who knew me in those years remember "Jeddy" -- and i still hear it from them.

So I'm Jed Smith. My younger brother over the years came up with "Jedediah" for some mysterious reason -- kinda sounds poetic, I guess -- and it also has stuck with immediate family members (mostly my brother) AND has other significance: Note my AOL screen name. It has stuck with me too. Yes, I live in California. Yes, I have done a LOT of whitewater rafting on the rivers Jedediah Smith "discovered" and explored. Yes, I have a photo or two of me somewhere around here taken at the Jed Smith State Park, near Crescent City, CA and the Smith River. AND, I even established a loosely-organized fun-loving group of whitewater rafting guys and gals "operating" under the name of Jedediah's Outdoor Adventures -- from Mild to Wild. Imagine the looks of amazement when I book a river trip, or a campsite, or flash my "business card" in the areas the where original Jedediah Smith is well known. Priceless.

In other areas -- nearly everywhere else -- when I'm asked for my first name I usually don't even wait for the obvious response...I just finish it for them with a grin: "Yeah, like on the Hillbillies...".   Usually gets a smile and a nod...sometimes more.

It's been fun. Most of the time. Do you realize how many words rhyme with Jed? I've had "other" nicknames tacked on to Jed as well...when I was a teenager growing up in Indiana, my ruthless scouting buddies found many ways to embellish the name Jed. The one that keeps popping up when we reminisce is "Lead Head Jed". The variations were, and are, endless...Good thing I have a good sense of humor, huh...I least it was all in fun. (I think)

Jed Smith