What the heck is a Vondonkey anyway?

Are you wondering where that funky name originated?  Let me explain.

You remember way back in the late 1990’s when “getting online” was all the rage and AOL seemed to be the most popularly chosen dial-up internet service?  Dial-up, yeah, I can still hear that modem screeching like a cat being swung around by its tail.  Well, it wasn’t long before everyone in our family had purchased a computer, signed up with AOL, and in no time we were all enjoying the online chat feature.  It was especially nice for me, being able to converse with my parents regularly without running up those pesky long-distance phone charges on the land line.  We had push-button, corded telephones, too.  Wow, so much has changed!  And, you know, that “You’ve got mail” thing — it was pretty cool.

During this time period, I took a Florida vacation wherein I stayed with relatives who, of course, used AOL.  I mean, why would they not?  They invited me set up a screen name under their account which allowed me to continue enjoying the daily chats with my parents during my stay.  Wasn’t that nice of them?  Coming up with a screen name took me some time, though, because I wanted something really unusual.  I don’t remember why I didn’t want to/couldn’t use my regular screen name on their computer.  Then it hit me.  I’ll use…”Bondon!”  In the 1970’s, when my nephew,  Jeremy, was very young, he could not pronounce “Vonda” correctly.  It would always come out “Bondon.”  So, there was my temporary screen name!  I put the KY on the end to represent the great state of Kentucky where I’ve resided since 1987.  There’s a story for another time.  Anyway, this Bondonky name, as it turned out, was not temporary at all.  It stuck with me long after that vacation even though I no longer used it on AOL.  Or anywhere else for that matter. However, through many subsequent online chats with my father, he slowly and very skillfully changed it to Vondonkey.  I suppose he did it because it more closely resembled my real name, you know, with a V and all.  My Dad did it!  He was always doing silly things like that with names and words.

Now, twenty years later, I am still referred to as Vondonkey by many of my family members.  However, these days it is more often said with a very heavy southern drawl, with higher pitch and major emphasis placed specifically on the “key” part. Like “Vondonk-EEEEE!”  Sounds like something from HeeHaw, doesn’t it?  Now you know the history of Vondonkey.  Won’t you sleep better tonight after having gained this knowledge?  Ha ha!

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