... Of Surviving the Wilderness
Although we all know that Lin was a handful, I must admit I was probably the tougher one to raise. I was a real wuss. That was also Lin’s fault. If I didn’t do what she wanted she used to hang a real whuppin’ on me. I ate so many of her mud pies that I actually developed a taste for them.
When I was living on the farm I wanted to grow up to be just like him and if I have grown up to be half the man he is I consider my life a success.
Every person within 25 miles of Gordondale, and many beyond that, has had their life enriched by knowing him. If every family had a member like him what a wonderful world this would be.
But through his actions Paul taught me much more than just basic skills, he also prepared me for me for the rest of my life. I’m sure that most of the time Paul did not realize what he was teaching me – Paul was just being himself. Actually, most of the time I didn’t realize what he was teaching me – until many years later.
When people get into situations where they need to solve a problem or make a decision they tend to rely on their experiences to help them. Time after time my references took me back to the time when I was growing up on the farm. Remember when I said, “you just never know when someone is paying attention”? Well, I would like to share with you a few of the times I was paying attention and what I learned.
Do you know how he did this? He tied two empty jam tins around my chest and towed me out about 10 feet from shore. Then he held onto my swimming trunks until I learned to kick my feet. When the back end seemed to working alright he showed me how to move my arms and hands. He swam along side of me until I had built up a good head of steam and then reached over and untied the cans. I was so busy trying not to get water up my nose I didn’t even notice until I got to the other end of the dugout. Paul was ahead of his time. He didn’t realize it then but he had developed a prototype of today’s water wings.
Over the next few years Paul taught me the basic survival skills in life – how to ride a bike – how to skate – how to make slingshots, bow and arrows, holsters for my guns (cut low so you could draw quicker) – how to throw a lariat (I’ll tell you both Lin and the dog were awful nervous for a while) – and how to swim.