Saturday, August 28, 2004
So Much for My Saturday "To Do" List
It's been a lazy Saturday here at Prairie Tide. I started the day with a bowl of cereal and a book. With the evening light fading form the window, I'm still in my pajamas and still reading the same book.

Today's book is Frontier Illinois by James E. Davis. It's a book about the days when Illinois was considered "Out West." I've barely made a dent in this hefty tome, so I'll share interesting insights as we go along.

Frontier Illinois caught my attention from the first page. Davis begins his book by telling the story of Sarah Aiken, a 15-year-old who's family moved near Peoria, Illinois in 1833. Right away, I related with the teen. It was her father's idea to move here. She'd have rather stayed back East with her friends and family. In those dark days before Instant Messenger, she kept in touch with her old friends by writing lots of letters home, and her letters give fresh insight into what life was like as an early settler in the state.

When she arrives in her new home, she calls it "that far distant country." This sound very familiar. When I first moved here, it seemed as if we'd just settled on the far side of the moon from the West Coast. After spending some time with the locals, Sarah wishes she fit in better. "O, for one friend," she laments. Here's another place where my life intersects with Sarah's. It felt like everyone in town already had enough friends when I came along. Then, after living in the area for a few years, she writes, "O, this is a delightful country. Nothing would induce me to return to New York to remain." Illinois has a way of growing on a person.

So the book has managed to suck up an entire day, and I'm still not finished with it. Davis writes like an academic, but he's focusing on the lives of the everyday folk, which keeps things interesting. Sure, I probably should read up on Lincoln and some of the other noteworthy types, but it's the day-to-day survival in this place that keeps me turning pages.

Shhhh, don't tell Randy, but there is just one more piece of the Hot Fudge Sunday Cake left in the fridge. Come to find out, the cake is just as good warmed up in the microwave as it is hot out of the oven. I think I'll just tip-toe down to the kitchen and help myself to a bite.



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