On the Banks of Plum Creek
Laura Ingalls Wilder
I decided to listen to this book while cooking dinner or driving in the car. Cherry Jones performed my edition. Who is Cherry Jones? Apparently, she is an American actress, but I had never heard of her; however, she can perform my books for me any time. I don't care what it is because she knows how to read a book aloud.
On the Banks of Plum Creek rejoined Laura and her family in Minnesota. Kansas did not work out, so they traveled northeast, landed in Plum Creek, and sold the wagon and horses for a dugout, a small wheat field, and oxen. I think Laura was seven or eight.
Pa is truly an optimist. He was so confident of his decision to move to Minnesota - that the land and weather were optimal for crops - he foresaw an excellent future for them. He told Caroline and his girls three or four times that they were going to be rich off of the crops that he had not planted, yet. Laura imagined that they would be so rich; they would have candy every day. Pa told Caroline they would have beef every day - "anything they wanted." Talk about speculation. They forgot that God is in control of all things.
It is almost impossible to believe what happened next. The week Pa planned to reap the little wheat field that the original owner had left, millions of grasshoppers arrived and ate every living green thing as far as they could see. It was like Armageddon. Everything was gone, except the grasshoppers; they remained for awhile, and even laid their eggs for the following year. Laura does such a good job describing this nightmare, you will want to look around for any that may have escaped the pages of your book and showed up in this present age.
This reality forced Pa to walk 200 miles east to look for work. When he realized they would have to postpone those plans to be rich, he pulled on his old, hole-y boots and decided to go where the work was. This demonstrated true perseverance, resilience, and resolve. By the way, Pa would need those traits later, when a little walk into town turned into a blizzard, and he disappeared for several days. That was an anxious time for Ma and the girls.
Besides the apocalyptic grasshoppers, Ma and Carrie in a runaway wagon, Laura almost drowning in the angry Creek, the mean brat Anna that commandeered Laura's rag doll, and Pa being swallowed alive by the blizzard, this is one of my favorite books from the Little House series. This story is how the season spring feels. I can feel the warm sunshine and breezes and hear the rustling of the tall grasses and the the roaring of the creek. Plum Creek is a place of curiosity and exploration for Laura, though it almost gets her killed. We get to know Carrie a lot better, who is developing a little personality. Mary and Laura go to school for the first time, and we finally meet the infamous Nellie Olson. In this book, we discover how much Laura loves horses. After meeting her future husband in Farmer Boy, is it any wonder that God brought them together?
|Christmas at church|
My favorite line from Laura:
On a hot Sunday with nothing to do but sit in the stifling house:
Carrie wanted a drink, but she pushed the cup away and made a face and said, "Nasty!"
"You better drink it," Mary told her. "I want a cold drink, too, but there isn't any."
I wish I had a drink of well water," said Laura.
I wish I had an icicle," said Mary.
Then Laura said, "I wish I was an Indian and didn't have to wear clothes."
"Laura!" said Ma. "And on Sunday!"
|Plum Creek, Minnesota|
Now that the Ingalls family is so close to town, they can go to church. But Laura's thoughts reflect her free spirit. While everyone inside church was listening to the preacher, she was staring out the open windows "at butterflies going where they pleased."
Do you get the feeling that Laura wished she were a butterfly free to go where she pleased, too?