In her second year, my number one daughter Amanda exhibited a talent for sleight-of-hand and misdirection.

My father and I, took one-year-old Amanda and her sister Terri with us for lunch at a buffet steakhouse in Evansville, Indiana. Both girls were walking a little, could feed themselves and drink from a cup, so this was not a big deal.

After ordering, collecting our food and paying the cashier, we sat against the lattice topped wall which divided the dining room from the entrance queue. The girls sat next to the wall, with my father and I seated on the aisle. We were having a conversation about ...probably work, as the two girls ate their hamburger and french fry combinations with their fingers, and clucked to each other in that secret language of twins. Amanda was seated to my father's left. Number one daughter Terri was across the table from Amanda, on my right.

In the fray of arm waving, and other hand-eye coordination antics necessary to eat, Amanda knocked a single french fry from her plate onto the table. My father, noticing this, picked the fry up and placed it back on Amanda's plate. Our conversation did not even stutter as Amanda looked first at the fry, then at her grandfather, and back at the fry. With great deliberation she took the fry off of her plate and placed it back on the table where it had previously fallen.

I could not help but smile as she went back to work on her meal. My father however could not imagine how that fry got back on the table, so once again he replaced in on Amanda's plate with a kind word of encouragment about not losing the french fry.

Our conversation continued as once again Amanda studied the situation and once again, removed the offending fry from her plate and placed it back on the table. This time my father saw her do it. He picked the fry up again and told her to keep it on her plate as he replaced it there. She just glared at him, her mouth thin and tight. She looked me, at the fry, at Dad, and back at the fry. My father had resumed eating but was now keeping an eye on his grand-daughter.

She studied that fry long and hard before picking it up again in her right hand. She then turned toward the divider and reached upward with her left hand, toward the latticework. Grand-dad immediately leaped into action, rising from his seat, reaching for her left hand, as she used her right hand to deftly deposited the french fry on his plate.

I almost split a gut as Dad found nothing in her tightly gripped left hand and sat back down, telling her not to do that any more. She just smiled and continued her attack on her hamburger. I was finally able to quit laughing and we completed our lunch and took the girls home.

Many years later, as my father and I were discussing the talents of my children, he mentioned a few sleight-of-hand tricks Amanda had played on him through the years, laughing. I agreed that she had quite a gift, recalling how she had demonstrated it to him at an early age. He asked what I meant, and I reminded him of the french fry incident, only to find that I was not reminding him. The "diversion" had been so effective that not even my uncontrolled laughter gave away the "drop"

We had a good laugh about it then, and both moments now bring a smile to my heart.


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