No. 42 – Mingo Therapy Enchantment Jan 19, 2020

Photo by Quinn Kellum

People remark on my granddaughter Elodie’s legs. It’s been said that they go on for miles and miles. I remember when the same was said for me. This came to a serious halt after I had children.

Oh, what the optics of being skinny can do for the illusion of height. I once attended a college reunion where someone said – “Weren’t you taller in school?”

I am proud to say that I rang the bird leg gimmick for all it was worth. Once I won an election for secretary of a student body by way of a campaign speech in which I assured the voters that based on the definition of the secretarybird, (birds that have the longest legs of any bird of prey and must bend them in a crouch to feed or drink) I was the ideal candidate. I then stepped out from behind the podium for emphasis.

Can you believe the nerve or maybe the long lost ability not to take things seriously? Through the years some of my favorite people have affectionately called me “Bird,” though I’m not sure if it was about the name Roben or about my legs.

While at the beach once a boyfriend remarked that the sandpipers and I had a lot in common. Scurrying along on tall pins is about right.

In recent years, I find it enchanting that wherever I go outdoors, a robin is sure to follow. Oddly they come quite close. A friend once commented that large flocks in touching distance was not normal. “I’m sure you are a reincarnated robin,” she said. Having been in flight sounds about right.

In general our extended family appreciates birds with long legs. One cold Mississippi morning when my son-in-law Bradley took the Kellum brothers on a hunting sort of thing, Margaret declined by telling her mother that she had to see the MINGOS instead.

A small flock is always to be had at the Jackson, Mississippi Zoo. I loved to visit the flamingos there when I was Margaret’s age as did my father as a wee one.

We facetimed and Margaret pointed out her favorite creatures. At one point she was like Bob Diamond in Defending Your Life, “trapped near the inner circle of thought.” She gazed at them as if their pinkness held the key. When we hung up, I went into book report mode.

Eventually she and I will reunite, and I will attempt to demonstrate the way mingos contort their heads to settle down backwards into sleep. Since I’m already an S shape, sounds about right.

We will practice standing on one leg as they do, pulling one leg against our bodies to stay warm. We will talk about the super social nature of God’s pink tribe. A match made in heaven, Margaret is super social and a lover of pink to boot.

Since she dearly loves her baby doll, we will discuss the way the mother mingo and the daddy mingo have only one offspring at a time and take turns sitting on the egg to keep it warm.

The baby is happily called a flaminglet, and there we will dwell until the sobering but spectacular truth is told. The tiny flaminglet is born grey until it begins the proper diet to produce pinkhood.

With the exception of a prolonged self study, I have never been a student of birds, but I have friends who are and I regret not tagging along on birdwatching patrols from time to time.

I often find my grandchildren watching the rounds of Rolling Fields robins which light among the Osage-orange trees in my yard. Just like the flamingos they gather by the thousands to improve their chances for survival.

And for our sakes, we are relieved to hear that when mingos hangout together, it’s called a flamboyance!

Not unlike the way I hear that when humans flock, it is called heaven.

Sounds about right.