Laura Ingalls Wilder
"When a man undertakes a job, he has to stick to it till he finishes it." ~ FatherFarmer Boy tends to be a popular favorite of the Little House series. It is a charming story, written by Laura as a compilation of childhood tales about her husband; I wonder what Almanzo thought of it.
"Boys aren't pretty like girls, and they can't wear ribbons."
"I don't care how pretty I be," Almanzo said. "And I wouldn't wear ribbons anyhow."
"Well, I like to make butter and I like to patch quilts, and cook, and sew, and spin. Boy's can't do that. But even if I be a girl, I can drop potatoes and sow carrots and drive horses as well as you can."So there.
Almanzo was so eager to grow up and be responsible. He did love to care for the farm animals:
He helped to feed the patient cows, and the horses eagerly whinnying over the bars of their stalls, and the hungrily bleating sheep, and the grunting pigs. And he felt like saying to them all: "You can depend on me. I'm big enough to take care of you all."When Almanzo asked his father why he did not hire out the work of threshing, using a machine, his father explained how that was work for the lazy man who rather have more time on his hands than prevent waste and do a good job.
"All it saves is time, son. And what good is time, with nothing to do? You want to sit and twiddle your thumbs, all these stormy winter days?"
"No," said Almanzo. He had enough of that on Sundays.My favorite, favorite section I copied into my journal was the whole lecture on Independence Day. It is too long to record here, but to shorten it . . . on July Fourth, the town had a celebration and lit the cannons.
"That's the noise that made the Redcoats run!" Mr. Paddock said to Father."Father replied that muskets may have won the Revolution, but it was axes and plows that made America. Almanzo wanted to know what he meant. Father explained that the War was fought for a little strip of land, but "it was farmers who went over the mountains and cleared the land and settled it and farmed it, and hung on to their farms." Yes, it was Indian Territory, and the Spanish, French, and English owned parts of it, but they weren't interested in developing the land like the farmers were.
There's something to say about a farmer. That was what Almanzo aspired to be when he grew up.
And he did.
|Almanzo and Laura at Rocky Ridge Farm, 1940s|