It's been a long day here today. Snow resulting in 6 or 7 inches, a house full of three rambunctious kids, a husband working from home, and me on my third day of pretty much being housebound. I got a little work done this morning, then as the kids' energy mounted I curled up in a chair with By the Shores of Silver Lake. I pretty much ignored the crazies around me and slipped back into the late 1800's. It was a nice diversion.
So, before I get totally through these books I want to make a concerted effort to continue sharing a passage from each. It has been fun reading them and mentally taking notes about what I want to share, yet it is difficult because so many things are beautifully written!
Farmer Boy is the third one I read, and is the story of Laura's husband Almanzo growing up in New York State. What I find interesting is that as an author, she places a lot of emphasis on the food that surrounds Almanzo on a daily basis. She grew up in often remote areas with little money; many meals were scraped together and of course this book details her family nearly starving. So talking about the myriad of food choices at the dinner table actually makes the reader hungry! There are too many fantastic descriptions of the food to pick just one, so please pick up a copy for yourself sometime and see what I mean.
Here are a few paragraphes describing the goings-on of Christmas morning (keeping in mind the children woke at 3:30 am to open their presents!) ...
The sun rushed up in the sky. Mother was everywhere, talking all the time. "Almanzo, wash your ears! Royal, don't stand around underfoot! Eliza Jane, remember you're paring those potatoes, not slicing them, and don't leave so many eyes they can see to jump out of the pot. Count the silver, Alice, and piece it out with the steel knives and forks. The best bleached tablecloths are on the bottom shelf. Mercy on us, look at that clock!"
Sleigh bells came jingling up the road, and Mother slammed the oven door and ran to change her apron and pin on her brooch; Alice ran downstairs and Eliza Jane ran upstairs, both of them told Almanzo to straighten his collar. Father was calling Mother to fold his cravat. Then Uncle Wesley's sleigh stopped with a last clash of bells.
Almanzo ran out, whooping, and Father and Mother came behind him, as calm as if they had never hurried in their lives.
This is so real-life to me! Haven't we all done this? We don't wear cravats and brooches and our visits are not announced by sleigh bells, but the gist is the same nonetheless.