May the Fourth Be With You

Happy Star Wars/ Luke Skywalker Day! Less festively for the fourth day of May, we have been having a blizzard. There was a winter storm warning AND a wind warning last night, which is somewhat disheartening. Have you read The Long Winter, with all the descriptions of the Ingalls family twisting hay to burn for fuel and slowly starving to death because none of the trains could go through and having blizzards last for three days with no one leaving the poorly heated house because they could get lost in the snow and die? So in this day and age it’s not really so dire that it’s snowing in May. There are many, many worse things in the world than a daytime high of 1 degree Celsius and 100 km/hour winds, even on the fourth of May. It is QUITE depressing though.

I loved the Little House books when I was a kid; I desperately wished for long braids, a futile wish since my mother cruelly had my hair cut in one of those horrible early 80’s mushroom cuts. I wanted a sunbonnet and a slate pencil; I longed for my very own tin cup and attic bedroom. The reality is that life was terribly hard and often tragic back then, with disease and death and malnutrition, with much hardship and often thankless, backbreaking work and terrible poverty.

Frequently I will hear someone speak of wanting to live a simpler life, and the solution is generally to just buy less stuff, unpopular though that might be. Idealizing the simple life of yesteryear is somewhat flawed: not many of us would choose to live a life without modern medicine and educational opportunities, a life in which we would wake up to frozen washwater in the winter and the untimely death of a cow meant a significant loss of nutrition for your family. It’s important to remind oneself that we are fortunate to live in the modern age, something I am reminding myself of today because MY WORD the children are driving me crazy with their pent up, very noisy, forced-indoors energy. If May-appropriate weather does not soon return, I am in serious danger of losing my sanity. As it is, people, I am this close to locking myself in the bathroom, cranking up the heat and drinking margaritas while singing Jimmy Buffett tunes. Which sounds kind of fun, actually, although I will settle for some wine after the kids are in bed, which is very soon. Thank goodness for the modern age and the availability of wine.


  1. I too looked like a mushroom. Until she got her hands on the perm solution. Then I looked like Annie. Only uglier.
    Summer is coming. Summer is coming. Summer is coming. Deep cleansing breath, summer is coming

  2. I love The Long Winter. Reading it as an adult, I was really taken aback by how poorly Ma and Pa fulfilled the task of child-rearing – I was so used to the idealized Michael Landon version that it came as a bit of a shock to realize that Pa consistently placed his wanderlust ahead of values such as nutrition and socialization for his children. I find it fascinating the way both the novel and the townspeople resist the imperative to abandon their capitalist individualism and actually share resources – only on the very brink of starvation are they able to do it, and even then Rose Wilder Lane manages to overlay the story with a libertarian ideology.

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