I was thinking about prairie wives this morning, as I am wont to do. I wonder what prairie wives thought about? Staying alive, that’s what. Between the blizzards and the rattlers and the ne’er do wells at the local saloon, and by local I mean like a day away. I bet there was less crime out in the dugouts and soddies, because by the time the ne’er do well got there, they’d either be sober or dead from rattlers or blizzards. Prairie wives, they just had their babies, maybe a kindly Native American woman would happen by with some oxwillow or something, or maybe not. Maybe they would just birth their babies all alone and then cook up a mess of flapjacks. Have a baby, whip up some flapjacks, slap a grizzly bear on the nose and call it a night. Them were women, y’all. Nowadays we call each other superwoman if we go grocery shopping with 2 toddlers. Which is super hard, respect.
I tell you what has always creeped me out the most about prairie wives, the solitude. Now, right this second I would pay cash money for some solitude, primarily in sticky nickels and pennies, but these women had too much solitude. I read some book one time about a prairie wife going crazy. (You’d love it, Brooke.) I guess her husband was off somewhere, as husbands tend to be, harvesting corn or playing their rock axes in Arkansas or whatever, and she didn’t have any kids yet, or maybe she did, that can add to the crazy, and she was miles from another woman and she just stared out at the tall prairie grass as far as she could see any direction and something just snapped and she went nuts. I don’t remember what she did, maybe caught the grass on fire or something, but I haven’t forgotten the primary elements of alone, tall grass, bonkers.
That scenario has always been very concerning to me, along with the risk of accidentally trapping myself in my sheets and bedspread and never being able to find my way out, or choking to death on a sip of water. I’m not morbid today, I just hit a roll of concerns there and was unable to stop myself. Which brings up another fear, brakes going out. Prairie wives be like whaaaat? we got WILD BOARS AND TUBERCULOSIS up in here.
I was thinking about it all because I spend too much time on Facebook and I think it’s because the lure of instant connection is just too good to pass up. Not only can I be connected to the best angles of my friend down the street, I can also see the most flattering parts of the days of my friends across the world. I’m thankful for that, for the ability to communicate and commiserate, even if it’s your “best self”. As far as neglecting our children, prairie wives neglected their kids to milk the cows and quilt and stuff, which was all meaningful and contributed to the good of the household so I know it doesn’t hold up, but quit your judging. It’s keeping me from prairie madness, so just be thankful for that.