Daily Post Photo Challenge: Scale of Tina’s Toes

Tina's toes on the island of ancestors
Tina’s toes on the island of ancestors

 You know how sometimes you’ll do something you’re not proud of, and then you resist telling people about it, perhaps fearing what they may say, or think. You try to put it out of your mind and not think about it. Until one day, you’ve pretty much forgotten it ever existed. It has become so tiny, it no longer resides in your world. And then, something happens and wham! there you are, facing the issue you thought was gone and forgotten. The universe has a way of retrieving these incidents you made so tiny and insignificant, and then setting them right in front of you, life size once again. You know what I’m talking about? Or am I alone here?

I would like to tell you the whole story about these toes some time, but I’d like this post to be a simple, short one regarding the notion of scale. I’m not going to write about the size and scale of pain or suffering one might cause another. I’m going to skip the part of the story that takes us down to Mazatlan, Mexico for Spring Break, years ago. I’m going to skip the part about renting a Jeep and driving up the steep dirt road and reaching the lighthouse that sits atop that mountain, a mile above the Pacific Ocean below. I’m going to skip the part about making love overlooking the sea from that great height on a crisp, clear day, the water silver and shimmering in the wind, the sailboat, tiny in the distance, gliding by. I won’t discuss why this scene is huge on more than one level.

I’m not going to discuss the train trip home, the women holding chickens by their feet upside down, and how my surfboard got stolen from the cargo car. I’m not going to tell you what the gypsy psychic told us or how important it is—especially these days—to use a condom. I’m not discussing why my daughter was named Christina. I’m not going to tell you why I saw her only once when she was a few weeks old. You won’t learn why her mother and I never married. You won’t hear what happened when her mother became a Southwest Airlines flight attendant, nor will you hear about my selling John Denver ginseng in the natural food store I owned in Aspen, Colorado. And I’ll omit the details of how and why I finally got in touch with Christina after thirty-something years of not knowing her.

The story I will tell you begins here: Christina is married, the mother of four. I have never held her in my arms, never changed a diaper on her. I am spending the summer in Amsterdam, I’ve rented a 300-year-old canal house with a stunning view of the beautiful Leidsegracht. I send Christina a plane ticket to fly over and spend some time together, get to know who in the world we have become. It’s a little scary, and a little exciting.

Like Christina, I never knew my father, he left when I was two years old, and he never returned. Perhaps, what they say about blood and DNA is true. My father’s ancestors were Dutch. Christina and I decide to visit the island where they came from, which lies a few hours north of Amsterdam. We rent bikes and cycle the island. It is a mid-summer day, but the island is awash in chilling wind, miles of waist-high grass bends in the breeze. I can see why my ancestors harbored a desire to leave the place. Christina and I walk in the sand near the water. We imagine we are characters in an Alex Haley book, returning to this distant land and discovering our Roots. We become friends immediately, I call her Tina. And it’s hard for me to believe, but I begin to feel something like love for this person I have never known. But I’ll stop talking there because that begins to run into the other parts of the story I’m not writing today. I will say this, though: Tina has my mother’s toes.

You can find the Daily Post instructions and other entries here: Scale


    • I’m glad you liked it. Oddly enough, I did not intend to write that story…perhaps, ever. At least not the whole first part. And not in that fashion. It just sort of came out of me and gushed on the page. And immediately, I thought maybe I should delete the story. Then I got busy with other things. Then I forgot. Now it’s already today. And what to do?

      Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for stopping by and reading and viewing. I’m glad you liked the “layers.” And it’s odd, because I did not mean to write this story. I was only going to write a one-liner about the photo because it’s a photo thing. Later, I found myself knee-deep in history. And emotion.


  1. A very beautiful story of a difficult yet wondrous time reuniting with your daughter.
    i was intrigued by the photo by itself ( i nearly, very nearly, posted a pic for this challenge of my toes and my daughters toes, all painted up nicely with flowers, but decided against it.
    and then came the story. you have written this story so well and how great it has a wonderful ending with the reunion on the island of the ancestors.
    the picture becomes more DEPTH after having read the story.
    thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks so much for checking out my site. I discovered you on the Photo Rehab thingy. Loved your photo. It’s funny because I did not sit down with the intention of writing a story. It was only going to be a line or two to accompany the photo. A while later, I realized I was blurting my heart out with memories long hidden.
      Hey thanks for your pingback. How do you do that in a post…as normal, only you just insert it in the post? Or what?

      Liked by 1 person

    • Through a window.
      No special effects needed.
      Suzhou windows are very special – magic.
      they were designed for “borrowed views” and to make the eyes trick perception…..
      i love that photo!

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Whoa, now. Last thing I want to do is make someone cry. But I’m very glad you liked the story, and felt some emotion. I guess I harbor more emotion about it than I realized.


  3. I am glad you didn’t delete the words you shared with us.
    Thank you for sharing this part of your life story. It was a smart and enticing way to write it .
    The photo also made me immediately curious.
    You surely gave us depth at an unimaginable and unexpected scale.
    And I am happy and honored to hear that you have Dutch roots, and that you chose Amsterdam, and a beautiful canal, to reunite with Christina.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks so much, Lucile. Meeting in Amsterdam seemed like a good idea at the time, and turned out to be perfect in many ways. Also, discovering Texel was rather awesome (for lack of a better word).

      Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Lucile. Yeah, just after I posted it I just didn’t know whether I actually wanted that out in cyber space. I’m a rather private person, really. Pretty much a loner. And don’t share my inner life with too many others.


  4. Wow! I found it! I am so glad you remembered it very much as I did. Has Tina seen this? BTW Your mom immediately noticed she had her hands as well. I’m so glad they got to meet. Genetics are amazing aren’t they?

    Liked by 1 person

  5. this moved me so!!!
    probably bec my daughter is growing up without her dad (and now that he is having a son soon, they will have even less time together)? we currently live in macho land (Puerto Vallarta, Mexico), so of course he will stick with with son’s mom!
    woops…sorry for the vent! this is very recent news…but reading this gives me hope that maybe when my daughter is older, he will make up for lost time, and that they will also be good friends, as you are now with your daughter.
    yey you. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    • Funny…I just met another blogger from PV. I’m supposing you have taken the boat to Yelapa? I love it there…or did when I was there many years ago.

      Family splits are hard on everyone. But you are living in PV…how bad can the rest of life be, eh? And, most things turn out for the best in life.


  6. Oh Mr. Fish. I am going to miss you so I decided to go back and read some of your earlier stuff. I stumbled onto this one first, caught my eye maybe because it was written so close to my daughter’s birthday….I couldn’t finish. I will read it while you are gone on your trip. Maybe when you are back, and settled in, (do you ever?) we can talk about all the other things we have in common…like strange genetic discoveries in daughters we didn’t raise….


      • I know that was an obscure reference, a stretch. I must really like finding things I have in common with you. I just meant on Mother’s Day sometimes I think about my daughter, whom I did not get to raise…”never changed a diaper on her”, etc. I just wondered if on Father’s Day, you thought of Tina.


        • Oh yeah…things in common…and I thought that’s what you were referring to, just didn’t know how you felt exactly, but suppose it’s similar…a wondering, a thought of “what if”, a tad bit of …I don’t know, some emotion I can’t name


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