Tribute to Mike, on his forthcoming nuptials

We learned from letters over the summer and autumn that our brother Mike had met a Japanese woman and thought he'd marry her. At Thanksgiving we put our three letters together, and it was confirmed on the phone by dad; Mike is getting married in Nagoya Japan on January 12th. Youngest sister Anne and I are the only ones able to go; the other five siblings and Dad don't have the time free so soon after holidays. I try to live as if time is worth more than money, so though I'll be stretched into debt to go, I do have the time. Japan is an appropriate location for a wedding, with much that is old and new, plenty borrowed (for Anne and me), and still a bit blue. We have a week and a rail pass. I look forward to my first look at the other side of the world, and have prepared and practiced with below-freezing watercolor, more accurately vodkacolor.

Mike was an artist from birth, carving into the piano bench at age two such perfectly formed stars and moons that my mother blamed us older kids. Oil painting at eight, he worked in graphics while still only in high school before his interests led to teaching. His imagination is wide open and his humor all-inclusive. He has written stories from his taxi days in San Francisco that made me laugh out loud. Mike might seem like a country hick but he is street savvy. When he got the vibe that two men in his cab had the plan by which taxi drivers are found with their throats cut, a destination down an alley and a whispered gesture, he stopped the cab in the middle of the busy intersection of Market and Van Ness and left. He is sure the feeling was true because the two sneaked quickly away, not at all screaming what the hell as anyone normal would.

Mike always carries a few hooks and a piece of fishing line so to fish all he needs is a stick and to turn over a few rocks for bugs, and he always catches fish this way. In Ireland they called him Huck Finn. In Jamaica where he built fish ponds they called, "Hey Mikeymon - if you marry my daughter I buy you a farm". His letters that together tell the story of his romance are together and in safe keeping. He is in love. We cannot wait to meet Shizike and to see her country.

Images Copyright 1997 by Mike Vinsel.