It's a little startling to look back at this pictures. Looking back I'm shocked that I've not ever really noticed how much I look like my father. We aren't doppelgängers, but if I look closely at his hands and arms, or especially his eyes, I can see my own.
And that hair. That unruly hair. It has been the bane of my existence, requiring highly trained professions to shape and a cabinet full of products to seal in place. Dark--almost black--when I was young and now slowly softening into the same white hair.
While my mom is outrageous and direct with her humor, my dad has always been a little more on the quiet side. He is the trixter of the family, always seeming to have secret knowledge of what is at hand (or about to be at hand) and engages in some sort of shenanigans behind the scenes.
We all that Maggie Russell Berkes to thanks for this little memory. She made me think of it and add it to this blog post. I have a feeling she's a trickster, too. It's why I like her.
One year my father, sister, and I drove to Florida from our home in Ohio. Normal families might stop somewhere and spend the night. I'd even settle for a semi-normal family that stopped for a civilized meal and restroom break. Things worked differently in the Mihalko family.
My dad appears to have had a bladder that could make it all the way to Florida. Our rest stops would last only long enough to fuel his car up (the worst trip ever was when we had a diesel car (I think I sustained permeant damage to my pistachio sized bladder). That, however, is a story for another day.
We were just underway--somewhere in Ohio--and I already had to pee. I was trying to distract myself. I noticed out the window a particular bird that was flying backward.
"Dad! What kind of bird is that that is flying backward?"
"It's an Olentangy Bird, son. They are very rare."
I believed my dad, of course. I was in grade school and my dad knew everything. My how things change.
I was in my late 30s when I next thought of the Olentangy Birds. I was driving down the highway looking for a place to stop and pee and noticed some birds flying backward.
"That god damned trickster."
I called my dad and probably called him a god damned trickster.
Profanity is generally accepted in my family and expressed as a sign of love. My mother once called me a little prick. I responded that some day I hoped to be a big prick just like my daddy. Laughter ensued and we forgot whatever it was we were arguing about.
"You remember those god damned birds that fly backward? Do you have any idea how many people I've told about the birds?
My dad starts laughing. I could picture exactly how he looks when he laughs. He gets this trickster look in his eyes that is pure delight--his, not necessarily mine.
"You're just figuring this out now? We were passing over the Olentangy River and I saw the sign."
I wonder what else I'll discover to be another one of my father's jokes?
|welcoming me to the world|
|shoulder rights are the best--wish I still fit|
|napping appropriate at any age|
|my first of endless shaves....|
|getting ready for Niagra Falls|
(note our complimentary hats)