The Helpful Kid is finally (FINALLY) old enough to comprehend and enjoy the Little House stories. Approachable Man reads a chapter or two at a time aloud out of Little House in the Big Woods in the evenings these days. I’ve read these books (literally the same set I’ve had since I was just a little older than Helpful Kid) dozens of times, and the stories never get old to me. But I’ve just realized that this is the first time I’m reading/hearing them from the perspective of a parent of children that are old enough to make trouble.
What a difference perspective makes!
Who remembers the story Pa tells the girls about their grandfather’s boyhood sled ride that was successfully clandestine until they picked up the wild pig halfway down the hill? The pig’s squealing alerted his father that he was having fun on a Sunday (the nerve).
My childhood impression of this story was twofold. Firstly, the image of the silent boys on their furtive sled ride picking up, of all things, a pig that steps out of the woods at that moment, sliding helplessly by their silently watching and disapproving father NEVER fails to make me laugh.
Life is, after all, metaphorically full of unexpected pigs. You think you’ve accounted for all the variables and that nothing could go wrong with x plan or project, but you never saw that pig coming!
Is laughter not the best way to cope with life’s absurdities? I mean, it helps limit the evening’s alcohol consumption, amiright?
Secondly, I was always struck by how ridiculous and unfair and overly strict the father in the story sounds. Seriously, dude? Just because it’s the Sabbath, it’s all solemnity. *No* playing or laughing or horseplay or…
…or irritating noises, or bickering with your siblings, or getting up 5 times after officially being in bed, or rapid fire questions about subjects so inane my brain starts to melt into an insipid puddle of sad?
Tonight, hearing this story for the umpteenth time, it hit me:
This man was a genius.
Twenty-four hours of beautiful, glorious silence. What happened to the good old days????
I have clearly turned a corner. Little House will never be the same again.