Memories of Mike
- I am still trying to put into perspective the news of Mike San Miguel's terrible accident but I just can't. Andrew and I frequently crossed paths with Mike in eastern Kern County and we were always enriched and invigorated by birding with him. However, it is Mike the quality human being that I will miss most.
Mike and I found out that we shared several things other than our personal interest in birding. Often Mike would remark that we were each so blessed to be able to bird with sons who had passed up their fathers in birding skills. Mike's pride in Michael's birding expertise was only surpassed by his respect for Michael's decision to bird less so that he could be a better father to Jake and Alex. Andrew in his post "Remembering a Friend" to inlandcountybirds eloquently tells of Mike's importance when Andrew was an awkward teenager. The birding community and Mike in particular had a big impact on Andrew's maturation; I am eternally grateful for this.
Although I have not been fortunate enough to meet Gayle or Lisa, I feel as if I know them because of the stories Mike shared with me. My wife, Winona, and Gayle are both teachers. We enjoyed talking about how nice it was to be married to teachers. Mike would tell me that he had never seen anyone who was such a natural teacher as Gayle. Winona got to bird with Mike several times, and he would always ask about her when he saw Andrew or me. We also shared the fact that we each had a daughter. Once I said to Mike I enjoyed our bragging sessions about our daughters. His reply was that we weren't bragging; we were two unbiased people stating facts.
In short Mike made me want to be a better parent and a better person. The California birding community has lost an icon.