A Man Called Miguel

This is Miguel’s story. This is his legacy.

Life is made up of big dreams and small miracles.

— Cindy Lapeña

Today, I met a man who found me on Facebook less than one month ago. In reality, I had already met him once, when I was with a friend who went to him for haircuts, but because I do not frequent beauty salons, we never met again and never connected otherwise. Until he found me.

Our first meeting had been planned for last week, but was postponed. Meanwhile, he shared bits of his life on FB chat, with the strong feeling that he had to turn his story into a book, but needed a writer to do it. I finally met Miguel McCristall today and heard more of his story.

I have decided that I do want to write his story–in fact, several stories. Miguel and I will meet regularly as we work on the details of different chapters of his life. While this will be, in the end, the biography of a man whose life has been a roller-coaster ride, I have decided to include you in our journey together as we weave together the little bits and pieces of Miguel’s life into one big story.

Everyone has an interesting story to tell; some more than others, and Miguel certainly has had a colorful and exciting life to date. Most of us do not share our stories because we think there is nothing much to share, and when we put it that way, there really won’t be much. But if we look at all the details of our lives and how people and incidents have molded us into creatures we never thought we would be when we were younger, we might realize that we have had our share of excitement, no matter how little. Those could be worth putting into a story.

Others have lots of excitement, drama, challenges, failures, and triumphs, which make their lives more interesting to those of us who have never left the neighborhood where we grew up. Let me tell you something I have learned after nearly six decades of what some people deem has been a dramatic life: there will be no excitement, no drama, no challenge, no failure, and no triumph if you do not have big dreams that drive your existence. And those big dreams are not fulfilled in one torrential downpour but through small miracles that most of us ignore or do not even see. I believe life is made up of big dreams and small miracles, and Miguel’s life is exactly that. He has always dreamed big dreams and it has been the small miracles that saw him through.

When you are young, it is much too early to write a biography, unless you are about to die. Miguel is no closer to death than the majority of people you know (unless you live or work in a nursing home), because who knows what life will give him? Que sera, sera. What will be, will be. But because Miguel is nearing the half-century mark, he has begun to turn his thoughts to what legacy he might leave his young daughters.

It is funny how reaching that mark makes most of us see life differently, even if the prospect of living beyond the average life expectancy (currently at 82.2 in Canada or 72.3 for health-adjusted life expectancy ) is higher. But because we have no assurance that we will definitely live longer than our parents, we start preparing for the last 2 or 3 decades allotted to us by statisticians. In PEI alone, about 550 centenarians have been listed in this compilation by Gary Carroll (2013). The baby boomer generation has certainly added more to that list in the last six years, so with the advancements in medicine and health, there is a good chance many more of us may live to at least 100 years.

Miguel has been diagnosed with a precancerous bacteria resistant to treatment (and that is another short story) but after several treatments and surgery it seems to be in remission with a 50/50 chance of turning. Otherwise, he is well and happy and enjoying life on PEI with his family and new challenges. We all know cancer is unpredictable and until we find a definite cure for all cancers, it is always good to know what faces us. Miguel knows. It is not too soon to write a biography and this might or might not be his final chapter. Who knows? He could live longer than me! Nonetheless, he has many a story to tell and I am his happy medium.

This blog is Miguel’s story. This is his legacy.

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8 thoughts on “A Man Called Miguel

  1. I have had the privilege of meeting Miguel and his Lovely wife Jenny when the first moved to Our Beautiful Island.. and Miguel came to work at the same Hairdressing salon I was working at,,, Over a short time we became more then work related friends but Friends outside the work place as well… Miguel is a Fantastic , Experienced and Talented hairdresser that many Hairdressers on PEI has never seen or known. He is known world wide as he has competed many times as well as Canadian shows… I am honoured to have worked with Miguel and Proud of all his accomplishments and look forward to our continuing FRIENDSHIP with his family.


    1. Thank you for sharing your story, Linda! I am sure Miguel feels just as lucky to have you as a friend.


  2. I encountered the first sighting of my dear friend Miguel on a local TV show in Oshawa Ontario where he was demonstrating a hairdressing technique . I was so fortunate to acquire an appointment at his salon soon after . He in my estimate is the best hairdresser ever , I was a very loyal customer of Miguel until he moved away from the province of Ontario , I was always complimented on my hair for its style and the wonderful look after visiting Miguel . He is an awesome human being and it gives me great pleasure to see him happily married to his lovely wife and see his beautiful daughters enjoying life in P.E.I. He is certainly missed by myself as no other hairdresser I have ever attained could accomplish for me what he did . Good luck Miguel and may God Bless you and your lovely family .


    1. Thank you for sharing your story, Anne. We are certainly lucky to have Miguel on PEI. Maybe you can come and visit the island just to get a cut!


  3. Great story and advise to others…looking forward to more “HAIR Raising” events!


    1. Thanks, Frank. We’ll do our best.


  4. Well how life is filled with coincidences and small miracles, indeed.

    As I know and enjoy both of you; Cindy and Miguel, I look forward to reading these blog adventures. I consider most people to be highly interesting, and that we all have quite a story, however Miguel, I sense your story is extraordinary. I look forward to you having many more great tales to tell.


    1. Thank you, Donna! Miguel and I are sharing these little bits in a blog that will lead up to a book, so we do hope you will continue to follow the blog and read the book, which will have more details than the blog will ever have!


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