Dotted Duck

As a kid watching movies and shows about epic adventures, I always thought, “One day I’d like to ride a dotted line across the world.” Much of my early childhood was spent accompanying my mother on her wild flights of relationship fancy. I only remember bits and pieces of it, probably due to my brain reboot, but a few memories stand out in stark contrast to the fuzzy mess in there.

  • Mississippi and the ever-present belligerent house guests, the cockroaches. I remember being schooled in the fine art of shoe-shaking to ensure you didn’t slide into a sticky, scratchy mess when donning footwear.
  • Colorado, where my first memories of childhood infatuation were formed. I remember being devastated when I learned that she was leaving soon after we held hands for the first (and last) time. It wasn’t until later that I wrapped myself in crippling fear of girls, something that would ensure I was dateless through most of my school years…but that’s a whole other Oprah.

There are likely other locations that aren’t coming to mind right now, but I have slept many times since then, sometimes not by choice. What I remember most is leaving the cold of Colorado on the tail end of more relationship woes for my mother, and finding myself in the much warmer climate of southern California. I remember thinking that there was so much to do in a 1-2 hour driving radius that I would never be able to do it all before fate, or another ended relationship for my mother, whisked us away elsewhere. Ah, but since my mother’s main source of support and finance was there, it looked like we might actually “settle down”…sort of.

We lived with my grandparents when we first moved to California, but it didn’t take my mother long to determine she needed a place of her own. We moved into an apartment complex as far on the other side of town as possible, probably to make unscheduled visits from family unlikely. My main memories of that place were of placing pennies on the railroad tracks next to the apartment complex and collecting as many of the flattened projectiles as I could find, never really understanding that I could wind up with one in my brainpan. I also remember getting in horrendous trouble for sticking my entire arm down a gopher hole and sending my brother to tell my mom I had lost my arm. I think the term “emotional volcano” is a fair assessment. My brother took heat for his role in the missing arm caper, but we’ve already established my penchant for using him as a crash test dummy.

At some point, we finally moved into a house. Purchased by (you guessed it) my grandparents. At least we finally had a place to call our own and begin the process of settling down and fitting in. The national park behind our house was our playground, my brother and I, and we engaged in many Darwinistic endeavors. For instance, positioning ourselves at opposite ends of the flood control area and seeing who could shoot an arrow closest to the other. A few scrambling dashes to safety and that project went back into development. We shifted focus to impaling spray paint cans instead, which earned us no-fly status with a few of the neighbor kids when they had to be scrubbed raw to remove spray lacquer that had mysteriously teleported from the can to their bodies in the rustle of arrow feathers. Yeah, we were those kids.

Since we stayed in that home the longest, during the years I remember most, I still consider southern California my home. Based on all of the atrocit…uh, my adventures and exploits, it’s the place I feel most connected to. However, it never quieted the nomadic spirit in me, and I eventually left, for which my brother’s limbs thanked me, I’m sure. I joined the Air Force to see the world. I saw Spokane, WA for ten years.

Leaving Spokane came easy, emotionally. Okay, maybe not entirely. I made some wonderful friends who could tolerate me for more than a few minutes at a time, and any place you park your backside for an extended period can leave a mark (in this case, welts). I packed up my life and hauled it to the east coast…where I met her, my friend, my partner, my pilot (if this journey were piloted by me, we’d be dodging smoke monsters and ‘Others’ in limbo).

Together, we’ve traveled all over the world, with me ensuring we have at least one moment of angry silence, and her typically acting as translator. She’s good with languages, so she heads up these dotted-line excursions, while I tag along and act like a monk who’s taken a vow of stupidity. We’ve made this get-up work in France, Switzerland, Crete, New Zealand, Montreal, Barbados, the Caymans, Ecuador & the Galapagos, USVI & BVI, and very soon (as in ‘for my birthday this week’), Costa Rica. I’ll need to come up with something innocuous yet obnoxious to start things off right, but I’m looking forward to a fun trip and great stories to share here. Lots of these other places we’ve visited warrant the maniacal slapping of keys, but I’ll save those tales for when I have another brainfart.

Tales of Indiana Duck and his cohorts in chaos (other youthful shenanigans that didn’t involve giving my brother nightmares), are still to come. Whips, plastic guns that make me dive off a cliff and the Air Force chasing us off with real guns…you know you want to hear it.

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5 Comments on “Dotted Duck”

  1. Dad Says:

    Well, I guess I could cover my posterior and pretend that I DIDN’T forget your birthday (again), but I suspect you would have figured it out by the time I hand delivered your card and a box of leftover Halloween candy to your doorstep. So, I’ll skip the card and candy and wish you a very happy birthday and will take you and your gal out for dinner at a time of your choosing. BTW, how about taking in the CFRT production of “Around the World in 80 Days” ? It closes on 11/11.

    Much love, Big Guy.

  2. Katie Says:

    Have a blast in Costa Rica!!! If you make it to Bagaces, tell Katia at her open-air chicken restaurant (just down the road kitty-corner from the gas station) I say “hi.” 🙂


  3. […] mountains, as well as several flood-control areas that were either devoid of trees and great for shooting arrows at each other, or so cluttered with trees and shrubbery that you could hide behind one tree and not know someone […]


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