Lately we've been reading Laura Ingalls Wilder books to our children. In Farmer Boy, a book about the early years of Wilder's future husband Almanzo, his mother learns that her son may abandon farming to go to work for a carriage-maker in town.
Then Father told her that Mr. Paddock wanted to take Almanzo as an apprentice.
Mother’s brown eyes snapped, and her cheeks turned as red as her red wool dress. She laid down her knife and fork.
“I never heard of such a thing!” she said. “Well, the sooner Mr. Paddock gets that out of his head, the better! I hope you gave him a piece of your mind! Why on earth, I’d like to know, should Almanzo live in town at the beck and call of every Tom, Dick, and Harry?”
“Paddock makes good money,” said Father. “I guess if truth were told, he banks more money every year than I do. He looks on it as a good opening for the boy.”
“Well!” Mother snapped. She was all ruffled, like an angry hen. “A pretty pass the world’s coming to, if any man thinks it’s a step up in the world to leave a good farm and go to town! How does Mr. Paddock make his money, if it isn’t catering to us? I guess if he didn’t make wagons to suit farmers, he wouldn’t last long!”
“That’s true enough,” said Father. “But—”
“There’s no ‘but’ about it “Mother said. “Oh, it’s bad enough to see Royal come down to being nothing but a storekeeper! Maybe he’ll make money, but he’ll never be the man you are. Truckling to other people for his living, all his days— He’ll never be able to call his soul his own.
Her elevation of farming and the declaration that most other work condemns one to "truckling to other people" really resonates with me. The entire Little House series is quite wonderful and if you've got young kids, I highly recommend them.
We return to Henry County, Kentucky in 4 weeks.