It is strange how sometimes life’s paths seem to take us away from our initial goals, but if we just give them a chance and play out the hand, we may get what we wanted in the first place.
It was the year 2000 and the world had just survived the current disaster de jour, the millennium had come and gone and the various tools of its destruction had failed to cause a nasty smell let alone bring on the four horses of the apocalypse. The biggest hammer, the millennium bug, the software version of the plague had come and gone with very few casualties save for the Japanese man who had feared nuclear destruction and fled to Australia with a blow gun, a flak jacket and a chemical warfare suit. It’s true folks . I couldn’t make that up. I am not sure that qualifies as a casualty but I am sure his friends missed him. It was also the year that I finally got off my butt and did what I had been talking and thinking about for some time, Uproot myself from Northern Virginia where I had landed after graduating from college. I had been there for fifteen years and I had made some really great friends but I wanted to be a little closer to my family. I had two nephews who I saw once a year and I had a niece on the way. I wanted to make sure that she did not know me as ” the uncle that showed up at Christmas, brought me a present and whose name I had to be reminded of”. Of course when they’re young they probably would take two out of three as long as one of the two are “present”. Ok , not to fully take the air out of the “ he is such a family guy” sails but I also wanted to be in a place where I could enjoy the outdoors and ski more. I had taken up skiing several years before and I needed to make sure my jones could always be met. Hey, when the knees are gone I am going to have to lean on my family.
I found a job in Boulder Colorado and in June of 2000 I jumped in my Mustang and took the long way to Colorado via Michigan to visit my brother. While I was there my niece had entered the world. Perhaps it was just a coincidence that I was leaving for Kansas the next day and would see her soon. Perhaps not. Perhaps it was her way of insuring that I would never forget her birthday. Six hundred and some odd miles later I was visiting with my newborn niece. While I was experiencing some trepidation at starting my new life, I completely forgot it while contemplating her new life. Funny thing about birth , it tends to put things in perspective.
Its strange, now that I live in Colorado I do more traveling then I ever have in the past but I see my family more often. Usually I can arrange my travels so that they take me through Kansas for a visit. If I am not traveling I have been known to jump in my Mustang (yep the same one) for a short cruise , they are only 7.5 hours away when there is no construction on I-70 and the highway patrol cooperates. It was during one of those “short cruise” visits during the fourth of July where my niece gave me the nickname that I love and will go with me to my grave*. Out of the blue one day she said to me “Your not Uncle Dan, You’re Uncle Bingo”. Of course her logic was solid when I asked why, “I dunno just cause you are”. Works for me. It also seems to work for the rest of my family who affectionately call me , I am sure its with affection, Uncle Bingo or just Bingo.
So if you hear the sound of fun coming your way it may be the circus or you may just be getting a visit from Uncle Bingo’s Traveling Road Show. Don’ t worry, it will be entertaining and I hardly ever leave a mess. Well nothing that can’ t be cleaned up or forgiven by the next visit.
*Oh sure ,when I am an 80 year old man “Uncle Bingo” will sound kind of weird but when that time comes it will just be “endearing” or creepy. I’m betting on the former.