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On the Way Home: 06/07/06

On the Way Home

Last night I took a break from the heavier reading (Mr. Ripley) to read something short: On the Way Home by Laura Ingalls Wilder and Rose Wilder Lane. The heart of the book is a short diary of the Wilder family's migration from De Smet to the Ozarks during a crop failure in 1894. Laura's contribution is a diary of brief entries for each day, mostly noting where they had traveled, what they ate and how hot it was. Rose's introduction, conclusion and periodic annotations flush this diary out to explain the hardships the family faced at that time.

The most poignant bit of the 115 page book is the disappearance of their nest egg, a single one hundred dollar bill hidden away inside a lap desk that Almanzo had built for Laura. Having traveled for six weeks and hundreds of miles on the hope of buying a new homestead in the Ozarks their dreams are nearly dashed when the arrive. The money isn't in the desk. Did their traveling companions take it? Did Rose play with it and lose it? Did it fall out? Read the book to find out what happened.

I can relate to this story of the secret bill. I'm currently carrying a secret bill of the same amount with me. It was a gift last Christmas and with our tight budget I don't want to spend it on the wrong thing. I'm still trying to decide what to spend it on. In the meantime I keep it close just in case I need it.

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