Prairie Life

I find myself, during my workday, needing something on TV in the background as I go about my day since working from home. Recently, I find myself watching Little House on the Prairie from 1 to 3 every afternoon. Unfortunately I find I am so distracted by the horrific events on the prairie that it has been super hard to focus on work. I actually become irritated when work causes me to lose track of where I was in each show. While watching just yesterday, I was overwrought with the towns’ people being afflicted with yellow fever and the following episode little Kari fell down a well, the walls collapsed, and Charles and the town’s alcoholic still managed to come to the rescue. Thankfully Laura did not succumb to yellow fever (she had poison ivy) and Kari was rescued. I would have been worthless for the rest of the day if either or them had died.

Of course, I knew they lived. I watched this series multiple times throughout my childhood, but I still get caught up in it all the same. The music in the intro to the show alone, gives me the “warm and fuzzies”. I think I always had a crush on Charles. I thought he had the most brown and dewiest eyes I have ever seen, much like a Disney character. I was sharing my latest little prairie predilection with my friend, Tammy and she shared that her father was annoyed with Charles Ingalls crying in every episode, and this made me take note of Charles’s tears. I believe his eyes were just wet, not dewy, from all the crying. Tammy’s dad was spot on, Mr. Ingalls does shed tears at least once in most every episode, Sometimes it’s more than once. I believe that so far in the last month, there may have been maybe two episodes where Charles didn’t cry. The baseball episode when Walnut Grove beats the asshole baseball team from another town, and the episode when the town essentially held an adult and child “field day”. However, he did get misty eyed over something in one of those episodes, but he didn’t really cry. Only no tears in two episodes in 30 days!

To play devil’s advocate, prairie life was rough with illness, famine, bad weather, and general harsh conditions all around. I would have cried everyday, multiple times, just when using the outhouse. And Ms. Oleson was a fucking bitch, judging others like a true Christian. I might have also cried if she refused to give me a fair price on my eggs, like she often did with Caroline. I find myself at various times of the day thinking about the characters on the show. On my walk last night with my dogs, I caught myself thinking about Mr. and Mrs. Oleson. What the hell did Nels see in Harriet? It perplexes me during every episode. Ms. Oleson was a terrible person who was single handedly raising a narcissist, much like herself. Nellie was Satan and Willie was merely a sheep. I completely understand why Laura slapped Willie or pushed him into the local pond in every other episode. I would have never shared my marbles with him.

The amount of time I have spent thinking about Charles, his tears and the little house on the prairie has taken an emotional toll. I don’t believe this show, for me, was made to be binge watched. At the end of just two hours of the show, I tend to be soaked in cortisol and at the same time comforted by the thought that most everybody lived until the next day, phew. Remember, this was a time when a splinter could have caused certain death. I understand most people would not put Game of Thrones in the same category. For me, both shows provoke the same dread, but maybe without all the sex and gore. Dead is dead, whether it be by sword or by cholera. The main difference is in a season of The Prairie, maybe only 2 people die and one might be terribly injured, and in Thrones 3, 523 die in a terrible fashion. The other striking difference, other than the hundreds of years that separates these time periods, is that GOT characters were less likely to hold hands at the end of the episode and sing Kumbaya, My Lord like the god fearing folks on the prairie.

Getting back to Charles, I do agree with Tammy’s dad. Charles was a bit soft when it came to keeping his emotions in check. I wonder if he might be Caroline’s little spoon at night and I will never know. Not that I think anything is wrong with being the little spoon. However, I bet Caroline rocked him to sleep after a long day of crying. He might have always been on the brink of dehydration, I imagine. However, I can’t help but think sometimes, “what would Charles do?”, when faced with some dilemma throughout my day. Then, I think of Tammy’s dad, and remember how disappointed in me he might be if I even considered shedding a tear.