Every year or two, I read through all the “Little House” books by Laura Ingalls Wilder. I love these books and always have, though it isn’t easy for me to explain why. Maybe it’s their life of simplicity, faith, and hard work that I admire and want to emulate. Maybe it’s Laura’s spunk and wit. Whatever it might be, each time I read through the series, a different book becomes my favorite because of the way I relate to it at the time.
I just finished reading On the Banks of Plum Creek. After leaving the crowded Big Woods of Wisconsin and passing through Indian Territory in Missouri, the Ingalls family moves to Minnesota. Expecting a bumper crop of wheat, Pa builds a house, paying for the supplies on credit. But the wheat crop never comes in because swarms of grasshoppers cover the land and eat every living plant. Now, not only can Pa not pay his debts, he can’t even afford to buy new boots to replace his patched ones, and food supplies are running low.
So Pa goes back east, walking three hundred miles to find work harvesting others’ crops.
Back east, when they’ve been travelling west all these years. It seemed like going backward.
And he walked. Three hundred miles.
It’s mind boggling to me, but it’s what Pa had to do to take care of his wife and three daughters.
I feel a kinship to Pa. We too are in debt and need to find work to be able to pay our bills. I don’t think that going east to help with the harvest will be our solution, but we are working to figure out what our solution is.
And I hope that, like Pa, we will remain faithful and steadfast.