Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Fish for Every Meal!

Every day there was fish for breakfast and fish for dinner and fish for supper.
Taken from On the Banks of Plum Creek in the chapter entitled The Fish Trap

That is the last line in this particular chapter. I don't know about you, but I'd probably be complaining to High Heaven after about 1 and 1/2 days of that! But not the Ingalls family. Nope! You guessed it! They were grateful.

Let's back up:

The Ingalls family was living in a dugout near a creek (more on that in another post!) and, as always, living off of nature's bounty. Pa was always one step ahead of the needs of his family. So he set about building a fish trap.

"Now you see, Laura," said Pa. "The fish will come over the falls into the trap, and the little ones will go out through the cracks, but the big ones can't. They can't climb back up the falls. So they'll have to stay swimming in the box til I come and take them out."

At that very minute a big fish came slithering over the falls. Laura squealed and shouted, "Look Pa! Look!"

Pa's hands in the water grabbed the fish and lifted him out, flopping. Laura almost fell into the waterfall. They looked at the silvery fat fish and then Pa dropped him into the trap again.

He sat on his heels and Laura sat on hers and they waited. The creek poured and splashed, always the same and always changing. Glints of sunshine danced on it. Cool air came up from it and warm air lay on Laura's neck. The bushes held up thousands of little leaves against the sky. They smelled sweet in the sun.

Pa and Laura took the fish home to Ma, where Pa cleaned them and Ma fried them up for supper.

"You always think of something, Charles," said Ma. "Just when I'm wondering where our living is to come from, now it's spring." Pa could not hunt in the springtime, for then all the rabbits had little rabbits and the birds had little birds in their nests.

Every morning after that, before he went to work, Pa brought fish from the trap. He never took more than they needed to eat. The others he lifted out of the trap and let swim away.

He brought buffalo fish and pickerel, and catfish, and shiners, and bullheads with two black horns. He brought some whose names he did not know. Every day there was fish for breakfast and fish for dinner and fish for supper.

The End.

No complaint whatsoever of having the same ol' thing for every meal. This is a beautiful example of good old American ingenuity. It's truly pulling yourself up by your own bootstraps and making do with what you have. It's what made the Pioneers a great generation, and helped them to successfully settle the western frontier.

This same book covers many hardships, like a plague of grasshoppers, blizzards, wheels of fire, drought, and debt. But the Ingalls family didn't flinch, and they didn't despair. They still sang songs at bedtime while Pa played his fiddle, they worshipped with their local church and even contributed to the shiny new church bell. And when things just wouldn't turn around, they cut their losses and found a new place to start again. After all, this was America and anything was possible.

No comments:

Post a Comment