When I was little, my dad and I were part of a dad/daughter group called “Indian Princesses”. I’m not sure what the organization’s purpose was, but our group was under the impression the goal was for young girls to get into trouble while their dads drank heavily and played cards. It’s the place where I learned that too much of anything will make you barf and peeing on the side of the road is only illegal if you get caught. I’m pretty sure I was supposed to be learning survival skills and how to be a proper young lady, but our entire group was asked to leave a camping event before I learned any of those skills. This may explain why I can’t start a fire or engage in cocktail party chatter today.
Years later I met a man who was taking his daughter on an Indian Princess campout and he stated that alcohol was no longer allowed in the cabins because “a few bad apples ruined it for everyone”. I refrained from telling him that I was one of those bad apples he was referring to. The same year we were asked to leave was the year my dad brought several cases of whipped cream and we covered half the grounds with it while having a massive whipped cream fight. I vaguely remember leaving the event early and heading to someone’s cottage for the rest of the weekend. It was the equivalent of being called out in class and told to go to the principal’s office. Every eye in that mess hall burned our backs as we packed up our RV and headed south. Our exit bypassed the principal’s office and headed straight out the back door with two middle fingers in the air. Years later when I literally did the same in high school, my dad couldn’t really say much. That was a life lesson I got from the Indian Princesses, when the man tells you to shut it down, pack up your party and head to the lake. Here are a few other things I learned while hanging out in the woods with feathers on my head:
- Gambling is fun, especially when you win. The men used to play a game at restaurants called “Queen Bee” where you bet to see who pays the bill. Once someone “wins” and gets stuck with the bill, they have a chance to win back double their money from everyone else. My Dad let me sit in on his turn and I cleaned out every old guy at our table. I walked out of there with my pockets loaded only to leave the general store 10 minutes later with a handful of change. I spent the whole wad buying toys and candy for my fellow princesses. I have been a master liar’s poker player since then (as well as a pretty good liar which is a whole different lesson).
- Driving is a hell of a lot easier when you can see over the steering wheel. Did I mention the dad’s partook in a wee amount of alcohol consumption while on these adventures? Letting the children drive was really the responsible thing to do in that situation. I may have been the youngest driver on the roads in Canada, but I was one of the better drivers nonetheless. In my dad’s defense, I was actually a pretty good driver at a young age since I had been riding a motorcycle since I could stand it up by myself.
- If your stomach hurts, you’ll feel a lot better if you just get it over with and barf. This applies to a lot of things, but I barfed a lot when I was young and I always felt better once all the whipped cream evacuated my body. I’m pretty sure this was also how my dad learned to put a little girl’s hair into a ponytail.
- Doing your own thing is usually a lot more fun than following the crowd. Sometimes that means being asked to leave and that’s okay. Somehow a group of dads and their daughters who had no business joining a group like the Indian Princesses managed to join anyway and have fun for about a year before blowing it all up. The little group of misfits still managed to stick together for several years after making their own adventures that didn’t even require using outdoor bathrooms and identifying poison oak.
- Frog legs really do taste like chicken, and escargot tastes like salt water. Adventuring with my dad always meant I got to eat whatever I wanted and I was always ready to gross out the other 8 year old girls with food choices. This may also have contributed to lesson #3.
- The 80s was the decade of oxymorons. A group whose name was both racist and sexist certainly had a lot of rules about proper behavior. Maybe if the dads were actual Native Americans, their drinking would have been overlooked, or if the girls had been shooting whipped cream rockets at each other while wearing tiaras, it would have been cute. Either way, I’m glad I was raised during that time and I’m even more glad that I can look back on it and laugh.
**Of course I listed to some classic 80s music while I wrote this!!