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Native American Friend

Ernie vintage frame

 

True Native American

My family enjoyed living across the street from a dear neighbor, who was a widower—Ernie, in Portland, Oregon. He was truly a Native American. He was a tall, agile, handsome Indian; actually part Indian, though I can’t remember from which tribe. Since we all relished the outdoors, we would camp together in Oregon’s vast areas of wilderness. When traveling to a campsite with Ernie, we always ventured the back roads. Freeways were not his forte. I never complained of the length of time it took to arrive at our destination as I enjoyed these rural routes of scenic beauty.

Ernie came and visited our home frequently in the evening, being a lonely widower. He lost his beautiful bride at a young age and he never remarried. He had been a friend to my grandmother and father (grandfather died when my dad was a young teen). He had watched my father mature into a man. My grandmother eventually went home to heaven to be with her Savior, Jesus Christ. Through it all, Dad made sure he continued a man to man relationship with his faithful companion.

Ernie was the best handyman. I don’t think there was anything this old gentleman could not perform in this field. One of the ways Ernie implemented his hands on talents was in woodworking. I remember when he constructed a miniature church for my mother who enjoyed assisting in the children’s department of our Baptist fellowship. Our family all admired it. We were not the only ones who took a fancy to it. It also caught the eye of our cute, very young kitten. I am sure he felt it had been designed for him, seeing it was just his size. After looking it over, he slowly stepped in, moving up the aisle.

This pussy had a most lovely face and it decided to peak its darling countenance out one of the many church windows. His cute, little face was perfectly framed. Who could not help but laugh?

After so long, however, it developed into a not-so-cute situation, as the little guy was unable to maneuver his sweet face back into the church building. He tried and tried. We as a family tried too, pushing and shoving, but very cautious of not hurting the little thing. Finally, we gave up in great despair. What a conundrum! What to do? Ernie finally came to mind. He would help without any hesitation. He was a handyman and the crafter of the fine little church. Yes, Ernie was the answer. My mother, along with my two sisters and myself, marched the little church with kitten across the street to his house. Ernie analyzed the situation and implemented his handling talents—lengthy hands and gifted brain—to gingerly maneuver the young feline’s face back into the church. Wow! What a relief. It seemed there was little Ernie could not accomplish. We had been so afraid that the well-designed, petite structure would have to be destroyed. Ernie had placed so much work into it; we couldn’t bear to think of him being hurt by its dismantling.

Over the passing of years, both my parents passed on, but Ernie remained—being afforded many years upon this earth. It came to the place where he could not care for himself and he was moved to a retirement center. My sisters and I visited him a time or two in his new small residence. Later, he moved out east to be with his son and contact was broken. We still think of him off and on as he was a true friend, neighbor, and Native American.

~

Fisherman’s side note:

I never met a better angler. Ernie could catch fish where no one else could obtain a bite. In younger years, he was a great hunter and had climbed skyward into areas that no one else dared for that perfect, prized trophy. We spent many summer nights in the high country, around a campfire, with this intriguing, story-telling Indian.

Val Lee

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November 24, 2008 Posted by | Cat Story, Hunting and Fishing, Indian, Native American, Oregon, True Animal Story, True Cat Story, Uncategorized | , , , | Leave a comment