Of names and relatives, Boilermakers and Broilermakers
A few days I wrote a column, meant to be both light-hearted and serious, about the importance of correctly spelling the name of U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue. Here's the link: http://www.agweek.com/columns/jonathan-knutson/4260109-worries-about-ag-....
The first column mentions that I worry about misspelling his last name as Purdue (the same as the great land-great university) or giving his first name as "Frank" (the late Frank Perdue was a famous agribusinessman who revolutionized the poultry industry). The column also mentions, in passing, that Sonny and Frank are not related -- something stated in numerous news articles by prominent news organizations.
Today I received a gracious email from Mitzi Perdue, Frank's widow. Here's what she wrote (and which she said I can pass along):
Sonny and the Frank Perdue family are related. Frank and I met Sonny when he was Governor of Georgia and we figured out that our branches of the family separated about 150 years ago. But even so, he said he'd welcome having kin visit him in the Governor's Mansion. I wish we had taken him up on it! I loved your column.
Oh, one thing more: the widely-used nickname for Purdue University is "The Boiler Makers." We, on the other hand are "The Broiler Makers."
Judging by her web site, Mitzi Perdue has had a fascinating life and is a talented, successful person (a past president of American Agri-Women, among many other accomplishments.) I appreciate her note.
Well, I'm still determined not to mess up Sonny Perdue's name in print. And I will never again write that he and Frank Perdue are unrelated.