Friday, May 6, 2011

Flashback Friday: The Hopping 1870s

I have a dozen plus years of fabulous Mother’s Day memories, thanks to my Aunt Karen. Every year, she hosted a birthday party for my cousin Colin to coincide with Mother’s Day festivities. It was one of the few times during the year that the entire O’Rourke clan got togethe.  Amazingly, the fire department only had to make an appearance once in all those years. Uncle Kelly learned the hard way that frying a turkey is in fact a dangerous endeavor.

Mother’s Day reminds me of another lovely Mother-Daughter memory that has nothing to do with turkeys but a plague of grasshoppers. Karen, my cousin Casey, Mary, my mom and I drove to Walnut Grove, Minnesota one summer to get our Little House on the Prairie on.

Laura Ingalls Wilder was one of Minnesota’s great citizens. I was obsessed. I wanted to be her. I wanted to teach in a one room school house. I likened my elementary school arch nemesis as Nellie Olson. I wanted to marry my own Almanzo and survive blizzards and draught and life on the great plains before the advent of the deep frier.

During the pageant, we were mesmerized by the real fire that spread through the Walnut Grove stage. But the re-enactment of the grasshoppers’ descent really shocked the audience. Those in the front rows were pummeled by the flying insects. The little blades of grass that flew over the Ingalls’ dugout surprised everyone and we were momentarily fooled into believing Walnut Grove was home not only to one of America’s greatest authors, but also the most well-trained colony of grasshoppers!

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