We tucked her in a half hour ago, but lamp-light spills under the bedroom door. It’s summer, so we don’t fuss. She’s reading again.
Every night, she’s been pressing open pages of a prairie girl’s story. These books were her father’s books. (And yes, my favorite farmer says his favorite Ingalls book is “Farmer Boy.”)
He handed the books down to his oldest daughter late this spring.
And the words
dance in bonnets and
taste like maple syrup and
whistle like wind through cracks of a pioneer shanty.
Our daughter finds friends in Laura and Mary and Pa, who carves melodies on fiddle strings.
Our oldest daughter is a 21st century baby. She loves Club Penguin and Taylor Swift and games on the Wii. But these days, she’s also dreaming of covered wagons and corncob dolls and a family named Ingalls.
So I ask her: “Do you want to see those words come alive?”
And she says: “Yes, yes, yes!”
So we call some friends, and we pack a picnic, and we caravan north to the place where Laura Ingalls lived the stories
that turned into the words
that found the pages
that met my daughter
on summer nights in 2010
on a farm in Iowa.
De Smet, South Dakota, is two hours north. We drive forward on the road, but backward in time, to find the girl in the story. And while we’re looking? Surprise! We also discover the girl in each of us!
We inspect candy jars and chalkboard slates and Mary Ingalls’ Old Testament. The words are embossed so a blind girl could feel the promises of the Father at her fingertips. Yes, those are the real words come alive. And this Lee mama — who once was blind but now I see — wishes she could have touched the words, too, but they’re kept behind the plexiglass now.
We walk along the wooden planks. We touch the board-and-batten of an old house, and we stand among the five cottonwood trees that Charles Ingalls planted. The trees still stand.
On a whim, we traveled back in time and slowed
to find ourselves here
by the Big Slough
and the lollipops.
Photo: One of the cottonwoods!
Might you share your favorite Laura Ingalls story?
How have those words come alive for you?
Have a wildly wonderful weekend where
the best Words come alive in you!
See you Monday.