When times are tough and particularly now that we are going through a recession, I always think back of that one TV programme, that makes me feel like I have everything. For those of you old enough to remember ‘Little House On The Prairie’, you’ll know what I’m talking about. The old saying of, ‘there’s always someone worse off than you’, has never been more true, when you think of the Ingalls. They endured more hardship and heartache than any other family in the history of families.
The opening credits were accompanied by a fairly upbeat theme tune, young Laura ran, smiling through grassy fields and through corn. Corn probably owned by Travallion or some other ruthless landlord. Charles and Caroline tried to lead a simple life. They were church going people and attended Rev. Robert Aldens sermons without fail. This though was not enough to save them from being the unluckiest family ever. If one of the kids wasn’t being blinded, they were in their beds, wrapped in borrowed blankets, at deaths door, sweating like a pig in a sauna. Caroline was always at hand though with a basin of cold water and a sponge. Charles would check in on them when he came home from a back breaking day at the saw mills. He always looked concerned, when everything was good he looked concerned. He knew that disaster was always just around the corner. Dr. Baker must have had a path worn to the Ingalls house, he was forever calling with his little leather satchel and always left, telling the bad news of how death was probably the most likely outcome.
Charles spent his days lugging and cutting timber up at the saw mills with his good friend Issaih. There were worked to the bone and hardly ate a morsel of food from one end of the day till the other. The two of them would build houses and churches, helped only by a donkey. They had to keep building these houses and churches because they kept burning down. There always seemed to be an episode where the whole family formed a conveyor belt for water buckets, with Charles at the end, throwing the water onto the ever growing flames. The scene always ended with the family, black from the soot, standing in the charred remains.
As with all stories, when you have, ‘the have nots’, you also had to have the ‘haves’. The Olsens were the local grocers and in comparison to the Ingalls, they had money to burn. Little Nellie spent her days teasing and taunting the Ingall kids with her array of lollipops and bars of candy. Her little brother Willie was always close at hand, with his new school books and shiny shoes. Harriet, their mother was the towns busy body and knew everyone’s business, her husband Nels, with all his money, looked like a man scorned.
So if you’re feeling down, feeling sorry for yourself or you just think that the whole world is against you. Sit back and think of the poor Ingalls. The theme tune is still enough to bring tears to my eyes, that and the ‘Champ’ will do it for me every time, but that’s another story. Be thankful for what you have cause there’s always someone, worse off.