Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Just a little trick I learned from the Indians

"What's that you got there?" Dad asks as he walks in the room. I'm struggling with something, as usual. I can't seem to get it right.
"Here, let me show you a trick I learned from the Indians," he says, with a smile on his face.

"A trick I learned from the Indians". This is a line I heard many times as a child. Growing up in rural Idaho, I just took for granted that my father knew some "Indians" who had at one point imparted vast amounts of wisdom to him. This he passed along to me, for which I was immensely grateful. Whenever he would do something particularly amazing, I would ask, "Where'd you learn that?" "Oh, its just a trick I learned from the Indians," he would say. I never even thought to question who these mysterious Indians were, or how they came upon this knowledge. For instance, they taught my dad that the best way to avoid spilling a paint can on the top of a roof was to put a piece of wood under one side of the bottom of the can. Amazing! Now the can is level and doesn't spill. These Indians also taught my dad that if you tie a piece of string to a spoon, wrap the ends of the string around your fingers, put your fingers in your ears, and then tap the spoon on the table, you'll hear a sound like a bell chiming. Or if you turn binoculars backwards they turn into a microscope. And so much more. These Indians that taught my dad so many things were obviously smart.

As I've grown older, I've come to realize that these Indians didn't exist. This was just one more quirk of my dad's, and I loved him for it. I find myself, even today, showing my husband "a trick I learned from the Indians." He looks at me as if I am crazy. And maybe I am. Maybe a better way to say it would be "Let me show you a trick I learned from my dad." That would be more accurate. Thanks, Dad, for all you taught us. I'm sure glad those Indians taught you all that cool stuff. And that you took the time to share it with us.

For all my siblings, what is your favorite trick that Dad learned from the Indians? Just post a comment, or email all of us. I'm sure we'd all like to hear :)


  1. So, Penny and I were talking last night. I've been wracking my brains to think of anything that Dad may have taught me.... well, I came up with one thing!!! *whew* We tap on the tops of our soda/beer cans to keep the bubbles down.... but I'm not sure that he told me that the Indians taught him that. I think by the time I was able to learn some cool tricks from him, I was too stubborn (too much like him!) or too lazy (wasn't struggling with anything!) that he just kinda gave up.
    I miss Dad. I REALLY regret not taking advantage having him around while he was here. I regret that my kids didn't get to know him. I can't wait for Mom to come home so she and my kids can get to know each other. I hear stories about people living next door to their family/in-laws and I get so jealous of them. I *hope* things can change.
    I LOVE you Pam. Have a wonderful day! :)

  2. i think my favorite trick he learned from the indians, is taking a leaf of lettuce and putting sugar in in, rolling it up, and eating it! :) yummy!

  3. Ok, so I know this is a little out dated, but I've been thinking about what dad taught me through the Indians. I guess one thing was how to put the fish we caught on a tree branch and then stick it in the bank so the fish would stay in the water and not dry out. It was so hard to come up with "just a little trick I learned from the Indians" because he was always teaching me. He was one fantastic teacher. I hope I'm half as good as he was.