We’re in Branson Missouri for a week of hanging out with Fuzzy’s family. Part reunion, part vacation, much togetherness and frighteningly unhealthy food.
On the way home, I realize we were just a short drive away from where Laura Ingalls Wilder lived the bulk of her married life with Almanzo and Rose. Sadly, it was too late to turn back. We settled for pausing for a couple hours in a place called Artist’s Point, where I bought homemade sorghum molasses and watched the sun set in a valley worthy of being on a thousand postcards.
But it was Laura who followed me home.
Ever since then, I’ve had this idea, one that was expanded by an October, 2006 trip to South Dakota, of doing a modern story juxtaposed with Laura’s journey, of showing the contrast between DeSmet when it was young and Charles Ingalls worried that there wasn’t enough breathing room because the town was growing up so fast, and the sadness of witnessing the death throes of towns like the one where Fuzzy grew up, where family farms are being sucked up by corporations, and kids are fleeing to the big cities.
There’s sadness, but there’s beauty, too.
But I’m a city girl, and I worry that I couldn’t tell the tale properly.