Why didn't they all die?
By which I mean the pioneers. I'm re-reading the Little House on the Prairie books, which I haven't read since I was a kid. Back then I was just interested in them as a story and I think I viewed them rather like fairy tales. But now I'm reading about how hard their lives were and I am astounded that the entire generation didn't just curl up and die. Or freeze to death. Or starve. Or collapse from exhaustion.
I remember back when I was employed (well, employed for money) how I'd come home from working all day in front of a computer and feel tired. But these people slaved away at manual labor from before dawn until after dark. They plowed and planted, hoed and weeded, harvested, chopped, butchered, trapped, baked, scrubbed, you name it. And they were happy at the end of the day with a little fiddle music and some dried plums. Christmas meant a tin cup and two pieces of Christmas candy and they were thrilled.
How spoiled we've become. I was just feeling tired about doing laundry. Oh yes, how hard it is to carry a basket from the bedroom to the garage. How in the world would I have managed filling a tub from a well, scrubbing with my cold hands, hanging heavy woolen clothing on a line to freeze in the winter chill and then spending the entire next day ironing? The answer is, I wouldn't. I'm a wimp, I admit it. I am so thankful to be living in a world with dishwashers and central heating, TV and grocery stores.
When I read the accounts of how the Ingalls family lived I cannot help but shake my head. It all seems impossibly hard to my spoiled 21st century self. I suppose if that's all you know it seems normal but the amount of work involved in just getting from day to day boggles the mind.
So how about you? Would you have made it as a pioneer?