These are the thoughts of a Texas transplant in West Michigan who makes his living as a newspaper reporter by evening, and a struggling novelist by day.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

kind words only a mother would say

i was chatting it up with my sister a few days ago and we got to talking about tattoes.

the three of us have tats. my brother got two early on, my sister has a small one on her back and i got one last year on my arm.

they are all different. my brother's got two tigers, one on each shoulder. my sister's is a frog because she likes frogs. mine is the word "dawn" but in chinese symbols.

after our dad died, we all talked about getting news that reflected our dad. there was speculation about what we all wanted to get. the time came i guess.

my brother ended up getting three, each on top of one another. the top one says Robert (my dad's name), then the number 19 ( the cattle brand he had since he was in his 20s) and then another cattle brand, the running W (the brand of the king ranch, where my dad worked). all relevant brands and reflect my dad.

my sister wanted to get a tat of my dad's favorite flower but has since abandoned it because she's afraid it won't come out as she wants it. so she's thinking of some angel wings and maybe a number 19, too.

here's mine. i'd thought to keep the chinese theme, i'd get the word "father" in chinese on my chest near my heart. grand idead, right? i thought so.

so my sister and mom are talking recently and it comes up that this is what i want to get. linda says she doesn't know why i'd want to get that instead of something more simple that people can understand.

my mom, says kindly, "well, you're brother's always been different."

that got me laughing like crazy. mom was putting it kindly. what anyone else would have said is, "your brother is just weird." (i've yes i've been told that many times.)

my poor mom knows just how "different" i am. i've always done things that my siblings haven't done or takena different route to get where i was going.

i was the most demonstrative with words or actions. as a young teen i began listening to iron maiden and it consumed my times, posters on walls, singing at the top of my lungs, and on and on. i did weird things, i got into clasical music and other forms of music and books.

during the course of a conversation yesterday linda was talking about a book she was trying to read but just couldn't get into it. then she says, "it's one of your type of books, but i don't think even you'd like it." that cracked me up again.

in the end, i decided to go with the flow. i'm not getting the word "father" in chinese. instead, i will get a tattoo reflective of who my dad was: a rancher. so i will get the number 19, too. i think i will have lois coil barbed wire around the numbers somehow. we'll see.