I went to bed thinking that my next blog post would be about my favourite children’s books- Goodnight Moon, Frog and Toad, The Very Hungry Caterpillar, Green Eggs and Ham and all the other Dr. Suess books, Caps for Sale, Pippi Longstocking, Anne of Green Gables…
And then something happened during the night to help me focus my thoughts.
But first some background….
We live in a small village. Population 1000 for the last 100 years. It is so small that we feel very much like we still live in the country.
Under the village sign, Holsteins graze. In the sky, big Vs of geese are common. Teens ride snowmobiles to school. And we can hear the shots of duck-hunters. Skunks wander freely. We often hear the yip-yip-yipping of coyotes at night.
Which is what happened last night. I heard coyotes. In fact, I didn’t just hear them, I was awoken by them. They were LOUD and sounded like they were right under my window! And their voices sounded more like howls than the customary yips. Which made me wonder two things-
1. Were these older coyotes?
2. Or were they wolves?
I actually shivered from the sound of them. Which is UNusual, because I usually like the sound of them, and try to listen to all their voices and make out the variances of sound. I find it interesting.
But this night, they sounded different.
Which connected my thoughts to the earlier ones. I suddenly thought of Little House on the Prairie, my all-time favourite children’s book and series.
I remembered the story of the wolves circling Laura’s little log home. (Maybe because my husband was away, I was more sensitive to these outside things…)
Which got me thinking about Ma Ingalls. Maybe Pa and Laura thought it was interesting to watch the wolves, but what about Ma? Did she shiver in bed too?
If you consider all the adventures that the Ingalls faced on the prairie frontier, and think about the role Ma played, and the adversity she faced, there had to have been many frightening moments. I’ve never really looked at the story from a mother’s point of view until now. Laura leans heavily in her father’s favour when she describes the love of the open land.
Ma was concerned about education, food, heat, raising well-behaved children, and having a cozy home. She undoubtedly wondered if she would be able to do it, and must have had days where it seemed impossible. Not so different from the feelings many mothers of today experience.
Despite all the challenges, as far as we can tell from the books, Caroline Ingalls remained a person of good character, and was a factor in contributing to her daughter’s determination and drive. Perhaps she deserves a little of the credit for these books.
The impact of the Little House books continues to this day. Hooray for good literature!