“Michal,” based on a photo by Eric Stachnick, painting by one of his students

I’m one of those lucky people in the world that has a sister. Her name is Michal and it’s her birthday today. Here are some cool things about her:

  • She’s organized, but can tolerate mess. (Growing up, her room was a mess, but she tolerated me.)
  • On road trips, Michal likes stopping to see weird local stuff like the Corn Palace in Mitchell, SD.
  • She’s a teacher and any student is lucky to have her. She’s taught 2nd graders through college students.
  • Michal loves reading and is always passing along to others the best novels and parenting books she can find.
  • She has three kids, including twins. All of my “nibblings” are awesomely unique and Michal is a marvelous mom.
  • She has an equally awesome husband, an artist and art teacher. He is also a professional disc golfer and she is very generous when it comes to how often he is away for tournaments.
  • She likes singing in the car. When we were both in college in Oregon, we drove home to Santa Cruz singing REM’s Automatic for the People. Best sibling car singing performance ever.
  • She’s a good friend and makes sure she spends time with the people who mean a lot to her.
  • Her name comes from the Bible, specifically I and II Samuel. Michal was King David’s first wife and the brideprice was 100 Phillistine foreskins. She saved his life at least once, but did not approve of his dancing like a madman in front of the ark of the covenant with his ephod flapping all over the place. He ended up cheating on her with Bathsheba. Michal deserved better.
  • As the best man at Michal and Eric’s wedding, I distributed dried apricots and we toasted the couple in honor of the foreskins. Yes, that is something that happened.
  • At some point I came up with the nickname “Mitch,” as in “Sup Mitch?” Other people call her Mitch sometimes, but mainly me. I like having a special name for my sister whom I love very much.
The Mitchell, SD Corn Palace in 1954

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