Smoke and mirrors

By Steve Galea

Last fall, I bought a Ghost Blind. This is an ingenious hunting blind that consists of six hinge-connected, outward facing, mirrored panels that unfold to make a semi-circle of mirrors that angle towards the ground. This causes each panel to reflect an image of the ground immediately ahead of it. Set up correctly, with the same sort of background behind the blind, it becomes virtually invisible. And so do you when you sit behind it. 

I plan on using it for turkey hunting this spring. 

Obviously, it will be used in other important ways too. For instance, I plan on using it to convince my best friend he is hearing voices. And it will definitely come in handy when I jump out from behind it and yell “Boo!” in order to access the reflexes and vertical jumping abilities of anyone who approaches my front door.

It also got me thinking. These days, hiding is an undervalued talent, but when I was a kid, it was the most important skill a person could have.

Hiding got you out of all sorts of trouble.  Not to brag, but I was so good at it that I avoided a bath for the entire summer of 1972. 

I’m lucky though. You see I was taught the value of hiding at an early age by my father, who was a world-class hider. For instance, whenever one of our more boring neighbours would turn down our driveway and walk towards our open garage, my dad would immediately, disappear, leaving me to answer the question, “Hey, where’s your father? I swear I saw him standing at the work bench just a second ago.”

Even if I wanted to answer the question, I wouldn’t have been able to. Dad was that good. 

He put this skill to good use whenever my mom wanted to take him shopping or visiting on a Sunday afternoon too. And once, I swear I saw him disappear before my very eyes when she mentioned that she wanted to discuss the possibility of them taking ballroom dancing lessons.

This was even more remarkable because, back then, hiding technology was still in its infancy. 

Typically, if a person wanted to hide in those days, they would have to make do by ducking behind a shrub, tree, or in an alley. If if they were fortunate enough to be sitting on a park bench with newspaper close at hand, they could hide behind it too.  As a last resort, they could stand straight behind the nearest lamp post and suck their gut in, but that rarely worked.

Kids these days have no real appreciation of the advantages good hiding technique bestows. I blame this mostly on the disappearance of the word “chores” from their vocabulary.  

When I was a kid, we hid for many reasons. For instance, the sound of broken glass would incite an instinctive hiding reflex, even if you had nothing to do with it. It was also common to hide for the full duration of your overly-kissy aunt’s visit.  Bath night, your turn to do the dishes, and homework, also caused us to spend time under a bed or in beneath a pile of dirty clothes in the laundry hamper.

Fortunately, this mirrored Ghost Blind continually inspires me to relax and reminisce about those wonderful days. Sometimes, all I do is sit behind it and reflect.