He’s a mystery daddy to me, a mystery father.

“Father, it’s so good to meet you.”

“Thanks for coming in today. I’ve got your communion cups ready for you.” Todd was puzzled being addressed as Father. Yes, he’d ordered the cups, but the store clerk must have assumed Todd was a priest.

“What parish are you from?” It was clear she was a bit too curious.

Todd frantically thought of an answer. He didn’t want her to know that he had purchased the cups to use for rum tastings. So, the new Mystery Father thought of the most religious organization he knew and replied with confidence: “Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence.”

It was the religious store clerk’s turn to be puzzled. “I’m not sure I’ve heard of that parish before.”

“Oh, we’re ‘very progressive’ – we have a website and everything. Look us up.” Todd purchased the cups and almost ran for the door. He’s still wondering if she solved that riddle.

It was Mystery Daddy’s fault.

Kuku Ahu had visited Shipwreck Shirley’s – Doug and Todd’s home bar in Columbus, Ohio – and had praised them for creating a fabulous and alluring space. Mystery Daddy’s praise had one limit, though. After tasting one of their early cocktails, Kuku Ahu declared that Doug and Todd needed to up their rum game. So, a quest for rum sampling commenced, and a good set of tasting cups was required. Doug found his rum Yoda in Donovan Globe from the Ohio Rum Society. While visiting a friend’s house, they found the perfect size glass for a taste – only to learn that they were communion cups. So, Todd found a local place to order, and the rest is – well – a mystery.

Mystery Boys, Mystery Girls, a Mystery Daddy & Mystery Trans Women? You’ll find them all at Shipwreck Shirley’s. Building on the tradition of the mystery drink from the Mai Kai and the Kahiki (when a secret drink was served by a Mystery Girl with a seductive dance), Doug and Todd have successfully modernized the tradition to make it alluring for everyone. I heard there’s an ‘audition’ process, but I bet that is also a secret.

It all started for Doug with an article he wrote for Columbus Underground. Doug had served as a president for the Columbus Historical Society, so he was a natural to be asked to write a feature on the Kahiki Supper Club, Columbus’ lost tiki temple. Research for the article brought back memories of his first visit to the Kahiki at age six. He was completely mesmerized with the entire experience, but particularly remembers the large clam shell sinks found in the restroom. Doug’s article and the purchase of his and Todd’s 1953 ranch ignited a love for tiki that resulted in co-authoring a book – Kahiki Supper Club – and establishing an amazing home bar that now serves as a community gathering space for people of all walks of life.

I had the good fortune to witness the abundance of aloha at Shipwreck Shirley’s on the night of Doug and Todd’s annual luau. More than one hundred people came out to enjoy tiki drinks, visit the bar, eat delectable food from their besties Nathan and Shawn, congregate in the back yard, and behold the Mahana dance troupe. DJ Trader Jeff (aka Jeff Chenault, author of Ohio Tiki and co-author with Doug for the Kahiki Supper Club) was the amazing deejay. Those gathered gave significant funds for Besa to provide local support for homeless shelters and senior homes. Nathan and Shawn fed all gathered as a personal gift towards the fundraiser. All in all, Doug and Todd’s events at Shipwreck Shirley’s over the past couple of years have provided over $10k towards local charity. There were even postcards of the ‘Mystery personalities’ at the luau for guests to take home, just like the postcards that our parents and grandparents would buy from the tiki temples in those days gone by.

It left me wondering. Did I have what it takes to be a Mystery Daddy? Guess that conundrum might also remain unsolved.

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