We listened to On the Banks of Plum Creek as we traveled through the long stretches of pasture and prairie in Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, and Minnesota.
Stopped often, as we do, ate a lot of car snacks, and our first night found our way to a waterpark hotel because sleeping in storms is hard enough for some with a solid roof overhead.
We explored re-created old farms and towns, watched broom makers, worried as pigs escaped their pens, slept in a quiet campsite, near a lake too polluted for swimming.
We visited places that do exist, a museum packed with tv show artifacts, peeked in dugouts, saw Pa's bell, where homes and schools once lived and ate burgers at Nellie's Cafe.
We wandered along Plum Creek, pictured Laura and Mary, running up and down the table lands, maybe with plums in hand (they were thick). I thought a lot about Ma, how much I love to sit in the nostalgia of a life I've never known and to be honest, am not sure I'd choose.
Sweet is a word that comes to mind. Sweet that my husband, who never read the books and certainly takes issue with those homesteaders and their "free land," happily followed along, and the boy, who I worried would think all was lame, also dove in, found joy in making a story come to life.
That was the hope- that we could share in a story- another family's and our own.