a breakfast serial

One bite-sized story every morning to uplift, motivate, or provoke thought.

The Big Woods

< by Mark, Jill‘s dad >

Almost every night before bedtime, after teeth were brushed and pajamas donned, we assembled to read a couple of chapters from one of the Little House on the Prairie books by Laura Ingalls Wilder.

We read the entire series over the course of time. We traveled page by page from Wisconsin to Minnesota and then to South Dakota ending in Missouri following the adventures of Laura and her family.

One weekend, we adventured to Pepin, Wisconsin — the site of Laura’s time in the Big Woods. The timing of this adventure was random but the day turned out to be like something pre-ordained.

Arriving in Pepin, we discovered it was Laura Ingalls Wilder Days. With the fanfare only a one-block long town can muster, we were first immersed in a parade that circled that block over and over until all the candy on the handful of “floats” had been tossed to the 15 or 20 spectators along the route. Ann and Jill had all the candy they could carry.

Next was the outdoor craft exhibit showcasing the period dress, lifestyle, and food of the early Wisconsin pioneers. Then we went to Laura’s house, a re-creation of the “Little House.” Our wagon for this trip was a teal blue Chevy Cavalier but on this day it felt like Pa’s wagon.

Back in Pepin we completed our day with many of the costumed participants of the

event at a square dance. We carelessly abandoned our city-ness and twirled and whirled to the sounds of the fiddle and the caller. We ate popcorn, sipped lemonade, and rested on hay bales.

Sometimes many of us try hard to find that special family vacation adventure without much success. Other times we have to go out without a plan and be ready for that amazing day to find us.


  Jorie wrote @

What a sweet story. I love that your visit was happenstance but perfectly suited to the family. I think I’d enjoy that festival!

  Larry Who wrote @

Jill had a great mentor in you.

  amphomma wrote @

My parents shared those stories with me, and now my nearly 8-year old son has started to read them too. He has read Farmer Boy multiple times. Your visit to Pepin sounded wonderful–I love surprises like that, when a “random” outing becomes very special and memorable.

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