Friday, May 16, 2014

A Multitude of Michaels

I’m lucky to have many Michaels in my life, both past and present.

I recently helped the first of my Michaels get to O’Hare airport. Not by driving, mind you, his dad drove. I sat in the back seat trying to convince my smart phone to give me verbal directions to go along with the map. Everyone had a safe journey and I got in a lot of valuable practice time virtually navigating around Chicago.

Another one of my Michaels is a family friend, a bright young man I watched grow up. And yes, when he started kindergarten he rechristened himself with a new middle name—Dinosaur. I’ve waited a long time to find a place for that little gem.

He’s grown up to become a responsible family man with an impressive beard that makes him look a lot like his father. I ran into him at a museum a few months ago, but didn’t mention his little niche in my novel as we chatted. It wasn’t the right time.

Two other of my Michaels are a father and son. The son was responsible for my family getting involved in the Bishop Hill 4-H club. I put in ten years shepherding kids through monthly meetings, helping them complete all kinds of projects, and staging local and state fair presentations. Personal high point: watching rockets and robots do their stuff. Least favorite: the lemon shake-up assembly line.

One day, I had the three of these young men sitting in my living room. I walked in to tell my son something and called out his name. Three sets of eyes simultaneously turned to stare at me and I immediately lost track of what I wanted to say. Whatever important thought that had been there fled my mind, just as I fled the room.

The last of my immediate collection of Michaels was a brother who never had a chance to grow up.

There are probably a few more Michaels that I have forgotten about. It has been a popular name for a long time, so I hope they’ll forgive me if I can’t mention each one.

I just wanted folks to know how I rolled all these people up to become the namesake and inspiration for one of my characters.

Additionally, bits and pieces of many other people went into creating the personality and background for this character.

I hope the finished product will be a tribute to all.

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