- Ross Lockridge, Jr.; Raintree County
Yesterday we closed on the farm in New Castle, so it's official. We're Hoosiers! Next Saturday we'll start moving in, not that we have much to move!! Mostly photos and memorabilia! For furniture we'll be visiting various rummage sales, auctions, and the local Salvation Army (or Salvation "Armani" as my sister calls it!!)
After the closing we meandered around Henry County to get a taste of the local flavor and see what the area has to offer. I think I would describe the local flavor as "corn." It seems that the outlying areas consist mostly of farm fields and the towns and villages seem to consist of liquor stores and tobacco shops.
The folks around here seem to have a healthy sense of humor! I don't think we were in Henry Co., but on our way to the closing, we drove past a liquor store that had a HUGE pink elephant statue wearing shades guarding the entrance!! I'm going to try to get a picture and post it later.
I just finished reading a novel that is supposed to be based on Henry Co. It's called Raintree County by Ross Lockridge, Jr. It takes place on a 4th of July in 1892, but most of it is flashbacks from the narrators life. It's a big, thick book full of political and religious postulating and surrealistic dream sequences. Even though I got a little bogged down in the dream sequences, I enjoyed the story, especially the historical perspective it gives about the attitude of the characters towards slavery and the Civil War.
When we were in Asheville, I read Thomas Wolfe's novel, Look Homeward Angel. I think it was written about 20 years prior to Raintree County. Wolfe's novel, while fiction, is actually based on the people and places of his youth. He changed the names, but left them obviously similar to the areas and people that they represented. Apparently his family and friends weren't appreciative of the way in which they were depicted.
Raintree County is written in a similar fashion. The main character is based on Lockridge's grand-father and the area where he lived as a boy. In comparison to the Wolfe novel, I have to admit I enjoyed Raintree County more. (I wasn't even able to finish reading Look Homeward, Angel. I just lost interest.) I think Lockridge's characters were more fully developed and even though he acknowledged and illustrated their faults, he seemed to possess a certain level of respect for them, even if he didn't agree with their beliefs or actions.
I know I'm not the only person who has drawn similarities between the two novels, but the most ironic similarity is that both authors only published one major work during their lifetime, and both died tragically at a young age after the work was published. Wolfe contracted tuberculosis of the brain and died 9 years after the publication of his novel; Lockridge committed suicide by carbon monoxide poisoning just a few short months after his novel was published. Apparently he suffered from depression and possibly a chemical imbalance. It seems especially tragic because he left a wife and 4 young children. My next read is his biography, written by one of his sons called, The Shade of the Raintree.
I've enjoyed looking at the area where will be living and trying to imagine what it was like during the Civil War and how things have changed.
In other news, we have acquired a new member to our K-9 family! Our neighbors here at the KOA in Greenfield, IN bought an Australian Blue Heeler puppy a couple of weeks ago. Unfortunately, she was a bit too much for them to handle. Heelers are very energetic, intelligent dogs. This couple is quite young, the husband works 90 hours a week on a gas pipeline (which is why they live in a 5th wheel.) The wife stays home with their 16 month old daughter and a puppy just didn't fit into that scenario well.
Since we're familiar with the breed and getting ready to move to a farm, they asked us if we would be interested in adopting her. I kinda had a feeling when they brought her home that we might "inherit" her, so it wasn't a complete surprise.
She's actually a very sweet dog and I think she'll be a great farm dog!! Twiggy and Shelby are learning to tolerate her and she seems to be adjusting to her new life quite well.
I'll include a couple of photos. She's quite photogenic!
Her name's Ellie Maye and she's about 10 weeks old.
Here are the Three Amigos with their bones.....
So, this will probably be my last post as a "Nomad of the North." I think I'm going to start a blog about life on the farm as a wannabe potter. I'm trying to come up with a name for it. I was thinking about "Hoosier Mama."The other possibility that came to mind was, "Some Assembly Required." Something tells me that will be an ongoing theme for us in the future! Life continues to be interesting and fun!