Thursday, September 4, 2014

A Prairie Summer With A Little Carl Sandburg Thrown In

Hog Butcher for the World,
     Tool Maker, Stacker of Wheat,
     Player with Railroads and the Nation's Freight Handler;
     Stormy, husky, brawling,
     City of the Big Shoulders:

Carl Sanberg

My family truly had a prairie summer.  We didn't hitch up the covered wagon and gallivant cross country to national parks. There were no steam engine rides to other climes.  No ships rounding the tip of South American either going to or coming from the West Coast.  No planes because...well, in keeping with the 1880's prairie theme, I am just going to ignore the existence of planes.
"Powerball or Mega Millions?"

Our prairie summer included lots of good, old-fashioned labor. Me?  I was working at the general store (Hy-Vee Supermarket) jawing with the locals--dispensing sage advice on lotto picks and serving as postmaster for my little corner of Madison, Wisconsin.  Jo worked for the organic farm we have been associated with for the past four years.  She peddled produce at local markets and probably came the closest to the prairie dream.  Maia?  Well, I am struggling a bit trying to make a connection with employment as a Starbucks barista and life in a claim shanty, but I suppose you could say that she worked at the local cafe, or was the Miss Kitty of caffeine at the local saloon.  All three of us put in many hours and successfully juggled the use of the family's two horse and buggy rigs with a minimum of squabbling.
My neighbor's lawnboy, Sven.
There were lots of family chores--canning, scything the lawn, tending the herb pots, cleaning and airing the shanty.  The dogs needed to be herded out to pasture several times a day.  And of course there was the usual mending of the harnesses, the snowblower, and such. On the prairie there is little time for idleness--the Devil's Playground. 

Three Prairie Pioneers on their
faithful steeds.

The girls and I did make one trip into the Big City in early August. We took ourselves to Chicago for a Great Adventure.  If living on the sometimes savage prairie isn't dangerous enough, we decided to tour the city on semi-new-fangled Segways.  

At this point, let me just say that these horseless carriages operated by noodle-headed novices are just a whole series of lawsuits waiting to happen.  Prairie lawyers start lining up and wait for the circuit judge to ride into town.
Look at those toned Prairie Grlz!  Lots
of water hauling and pig slopping.

Whittled from a birch
At speeds topping that of a draft horse, we zipped around the parks and streets of The Loop, causing pedestrians to scatter and dive for the underbrush. But Prairie Pioneers revel in living on the edge, and we were exhilarated by the experience. We came close to taking out a few pigeons, but no humans were permanently harmed.

Now the youngest is back at the old school house, and middle daughter is packing her satchels to head back to college.  Me? This was my first day of school picture.  Enough said.

In my jammies at 9 AM!

“After the sunset on the prairie, there are only the stars”

Carl Sanburg

Prairie Sherry