Tuesday, December 4, 2007

nicely played, half pint ...

in nine year's worth of episodes, there are just two scenes i remember from the television show "little house on the prairie": once a cow went into false labor and accidentally gave birth to its own uterus; in the midst of some hair-brained hormonal fit, laura ingalls wilder put apples in her bra and one of them dropped to the floor in the middle of class.

i am not a great "little house on the prairie" mind, mostly because i always hated the show. even at age nine, i saw it as hokey: the murky swamp-water filtered film, the pingy theme song, all those chores, none of this appealed to me. it certainly wasn't entertainment. pinfores and bonnets, pin curls, sweeping, and going to the store ... i just couldn't relate.

[i'm not sure how i related to "three's company" and "scoobie doo," but unless laura was stuffing her bra or a cow was making balloon animals out of its internal organs, these were the shows i watched after school instead.]

i must have had a few of the books. i bet they were gifts, since i'd never actively seek out reading where key characters are named "ma" and "pa" and "half pint." [definitely not after i'd been introduced to elizabeth and jessica wakefield.] and i must have read them. probably after i read everything else in the house, skimmed the wxyz encyclopedia britanica, and before the new issue of "readers digest" was shelved on the toilet tank in my parent's bathroom.

for some people there is a "little house" nostalgia, and they'll chuckle about that drunk mr. edwards and that stud almonzo wilder. these people, i'm assuming, are the target market for the "little house" theme song as a ring tones i found online today.

yesterday chuck and i were sacked out on the couch and he did a quick zip through the channels and paused at "little house" on one of those channels were most of the shows are about real live angels walking the streets and saving people from meth addictions and abuse.

ma is leaning over a large wooden crate. she has just pried it open to find her christmas present: A NEW STOVE! she drapes herself across the top of it, her bun loosening, her cheeks flushed as she considers bread rising and bloody game hens. she looks to charles, eyes moist and --

it's not from pa.

and i'm getting into this a little bit.
"it's from laura," chuck says.

ma looks at laura, buck toothed and braided. pa looks at laura.

first my nose starts to tingle. then i realize my eyes are flooding and i have gobs of snot forming making a run for the exit. "ooohhhhh! turn it! turn it!" i beg. chuck doesn't even touch the remote.

"but, how?" ma asks the rest of the ingalls, just as the oleson's are pulling up. laura has traded her horse bunny to nellie oleson for the stove.

"but she loves that horse!" ma cries. bread deflates. game hens are recessitated.

as for me: it's like i'm watching "the notebook," while listening to "goodbye my lover," chopping onions and stabbing myself in the palm with a knife that has a serrated blade. i'm sobbing.

stupid show.

incidentally, this will be the first of two times that i break down sobbing on sunday. i'd told chuck that i was going to make butternut squash ravioli for dinner, then waited until he was wilted and emaciated before i even considered beginning the process. i cooked the squash. mixed the ingredients. filled wonton wrappers with something that smelled pretty frigging good. a few of the raviolis stuck together. that just made me swear. when i dropped them in the boiling water, more than half of them opened or tore and soon i had a boiling pot of squash innards and a gloppy mess of sticky wontons. i stood over the cauldron weeping about the mess. then we ordered pizza.


Beret said...

Awwww...I love Little House. In your defense, that was the most tear-jearking scene in the whole series (even more than when Mary's kid got burned to death in the blind school fire).

You forgot to add this part:

Ma: Oh Charles! She loves that horse so!

Pa: (taking Ma by the shoulders) I think she loves you more.


Then Carrie had to ruin it all with her cutsey "Happy Birfday Baby Jesus!"

I just started reading the first Little House book to my daughter and her grandmonther wants to get her the series on DVD, except the season where Albert gets hooked on morphine and where theres a mime rapist.

Domestically Disabled Girl said...

okay, i have to admit i watched a lot of little house on the prairie back in the day. but in my defense, my parents made me do it! (well, at first, anyway) and yeah it's hokey, but, c'mon! she bought her mom a STOVE! who does that????? ***sob***

fannie said...

the ravioli still would have tasted fine! :) you can't omit the part where you seal them tightly with egg and water, fyi. ;)

Maurey Pierce said...

Oh, I had the books. The whole set, in a yellow cardboard case. I'm sure my mother still does, as she never throws anything away. I re-read the first one probably 40 times.

Never much watched the show, even though Yang had a "thing" for Michael Landon.

Good for you for letting it out.

-R- said...

Sorry for the butternut squash disaster. I probably would have tried to convince my husband that it is supposed to look like that and made him eat it.

christina said...

beret -- i agree that carrie ruined that moment. i stopped weeping immediately: i think my eyes dried up because i was rolling them so hard.

fanster -- i think i did the sealing part too well. some of it must have escaped and made them stick together.

Beverly said...

Little House memories:
1. The mime rapist was the girl's own father! When Albert was accused of getting her pregnant, he yelled, "I swear to God I never laid with her!" Or something like that.
2. Albert was sick and Pa found a quote in the Bible to build a temple to the Lord. He did, and lightning struck them both and healed Albert.
3. Nellie had twins with her Jewish husband, and they were going to raise the girl Protestant and the boy Jewish. I'm sure that worked out fine.
4. The fat lady who came with the traveling circus was Mr. Olson's sister.
5. Mary went crazy when her baby died in the fire.
6. Ma thinks she's pregnant, but it turns out to be menopause. She wails something like, "How can Charles love me if I can't bear him any children?"
7. The episode when Laura keeps breaking the picture window, and they keep buying a replacement. It's four or five she breaks, and they just keep buying new ones.
Terrible, terrible, terrible.
Plus, the first book refers to black people as "darkies." You'd never know that unless you're reading it with your kids.

ceecee said...

Television Without Pity has an outstanding recap of the episode when Ma almost has to cut off her OWN LEG because of infection.

I remember the mime rapist, too, but I'm wondering why my parents thought that was a good idea for me to be watching. I had to have been about nine and had to look up "rape" in the dictionary because I had no idea what they were talking about. All I knew is that the mime rapist (her own FATHER!!) was some scary shit.

Laurie said...

There's tons of murder, rape and mayhem in Little House on the Prarie! Amelia getting raped by the scary mask guy was pretty awful-and she dies which made it worse. And the Halloween episode where it looks like Mrs/ Olson's severed head is in the apple barrel...the crazy mom of the dead girl who locks Shannon Dougherty in the basement, the guy who thinks Laura and her baby are his dead wife and baby, the wild dog episode and the raccoon rabies episode! ...the list goes on and on. I am so going to put it on my Netflix.

christina said...

ah, beverly. thanks for reminding me. i also remember the menopause episode. also one of my faves. i believe it happens when one of the girls finds out she's pregnant ...?

also, i forgot to note that i once ate a bacon cheeseburger in walnut grove. i did not pause for a souvenir.