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Thursday, March 22, 2007

DAD, THE BLACKFEET, & ME



This is my dad again, Floyd Earl West Jr. but he was known
to everyone as “Bud”. I think he was in his forties or early
fifties when the picture was taken and judging by the string of owl lights
next to him it was taken up at the trailer camp in Meredith N.H. where we
spent summers.




Dad had a dry sense of humor and could keep a straight face
while putting one over on you. I first found that out when we
moved from the Boston suburb of Malden back into the
city’s Dorchester neighborhood. At some point or another
before that I’d seen something about Indians in Maine and I
asked Dad if we had any Indian blood in us.




“Ayup, we sure do.” In later years that “ayup” would have
tipped me off; Dad hardly ever used that in conversations.




“We are? What tribe are we from?”



“I'm a Blackfoot.”



I was eight years old. He was my Dad. I believed him.



So, when we moved into the apartment on Capen St. and I
was trying to fit in with new kids, I told about how we were
part Blackfoot Indian from New Hampshire. One of the other kids
said the Blackfeet didn’t live in New Hampshire and I ended up in
my first fight.



Of course when I got home my folks wanted to know what
happened and so I told them.



Mom looked at Dad. “BUD!”



And most likely he gave her that smile he’s wearing in the picture.
"What?”




“You are NOT a Blackfoot!”



“Sure I am. I never wash my feet.”



That was when I found out about Dad’s idea of a joke. The story
has been told a lot over the years. As far as I know there are no
American Indian ancestors in my family tree. And it's really
a very bad pun.



But I also have to confess that some fifteen years later I said to
my kid brother “Did you know we have Indian blood?"

5 comments:

Miriam said...

The Midkiffs have this same silly story in their family, too. Must be a guy thing!

Thanks for the great story! The photograph is indeed worth a thousand words!

Bill West said...

Glad you liked it, Miriam!

Yeah, by the time that picture was taken I knew only all too well what it meant!

Phil said...

This is your kid brother, It's funny I have Matt and Philip Jr believing the same thing.

Dad did have a sense of humor that would someties go right over your head. But he was a good man who was friendly with everyone.

Your Kid brother;

Phil West Sr

Marian Pierre-Louis said...

Thanks for the fun story! I needed that tonight.

Cynthia Shenette said...

I'm supposedly Abenaki. I don't have the supporting evidence, though. Hmm...