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My children used to love for me to read the ‘Little House’ books by Laura Ingalls Wilder to them, and since I still have the complete set I read them again myself every few years. This is one of those years. Between the ‘Polar Vortex’ and ‘The Big C’, my world has narrowed considerably this winter. Luckily I’m (mostly) quite happy to be a homebody and reading is something I truly enjoy. That Ingalls family had a tough life, but daughter Laura recounts their true family stories as though they were fairy tales. I don’t have that rosy view she enjoyed but I do enjoy a good story and so I thought on this long winter’s night, you might too. So, gather round chil’rens..
Once upon a time there was an old
hippie hippy hip couple that sometimes couldn’t even agree on how to spell what they were. Ma liked to write, while Pa liked to read. Ma liked to make soup, Pa liked to make bread. Pa liked to play banjo, and Ma liked to play bass. In spite of their differences, they were happily living in the mountains of Tennessee. But then came the winter of 2014, and one night the temperature dropped to a frigid -4 degrees! The old couple found themselves not feeling very well and looking for ways to stay warm too. They had installed pull-down shades and heavy lined curtains on their windows, they were wearing multiple layers of clothing, including what Ma liked to call ‘indoor gloves’. But they were still cold! And so they cooked. Ma made big pots of soup using fresh ingredients from their outdoor hoop houses and things they’d grown and preserved during the summer and Pa made crusty loaves of hot bread to go with it all. And it was good…
But the old couple still felt cold and out of sorts. Just about the time that frost had begun to form on the dog’s water bowl, a good friend very much like “Mr. Edwards” from the Little House books (who coincidentally had described himself as “a wildcat from Tennessee” and which came very close to describing this friend too) came by with a jug of homemade ‘tonic’, thinking it might be just the thing to help them ‘feel better’…
And so ‘Ma’ and ‘Pa’ and ‘Mr. Edwards’ commenced to ‘feeling better’ after their fine meal of soup and bread. They lit some candles and lit a fire and sure enough, the magic tonic began to help them all feel better, including ‘Mr. Edwards’ who had never felt bad to begin with! Before they all knew what hit them, the guitar and banjo, the fiddle and the bass came out and the three friends picked and played and sang and danced for hours. When the tonic was finally gone, they threw one final log on the fire, crawled into their feather beds, pulled up the thick homemade quilts to their ears and fell fast asleep. The end.
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