We travelled an hour or so to Mansfield, to visit the Laura Ingalls Wilder Museum there.
I know I've told most of you this story, but I will record it here for posterity.
You may recall me mentioning that at the MOMYS retreat, more and more families were leaving by the end of the retreat, with vomiting and diarrhea. This gave me sort of an icky what-will-happen-next feeling, but we continued with our trip.
On the way from Mt Vernon MO to Mansfield MO, Jr Spragus fell asleep in the car. Just a few miles from Mansfield, he woke up with a start and VOMITED EVERYWHERE. We pulled into Marshfield, MO to try an emergency cleanup.
Unfortunately, Marshfield, MO is the world's smallest town, and in spite of parking near a park and community center (read: shed and playground) we could not find running water or anything else. I was really afraid this was the beginning of the end of our vacation, and was doing as best I could not to spread the "germs" around. A big dog came sniffing around, adding to the confusion, and there were wipes and dirty clothes and naked kids, and our black van parked alongside the road.
Pretty soon, in the midst of the mess, we heard the clip-clopping of horses hooves, and looked up to see a couple of young Amish gentlemen passing, driving a couple of horses and a flat cart. They slowed wayyyyyyy down and stared at us as they passed by.
You know you are off the beaten track when the Amish slow down to stare at you.
Anyway, as it turned out, the shed we were parked in front of belonged to the fire dept. (2 guys). Who had showed up just at that moment to clean it out. So we begged water from them -- they had a stock of bottled water as well as running water in the shed....and cleaned everyone up as best as possible, with much gratitude, and continued on our way.
I think it was around this time that we were seeing these odd little bodies lying alongside the road. They looked sort of possum-ish, and yet sort of reptile-ish.
They couldn't be....but they were....armadillos! Zillions of them lining the roads, dead. I mean, like every couple of meters there would be another one, flat on its back with little paws sticking straight up. Cute and tragic and unexpected.
We arrived in Mansfield, a slightly larger town than Marshfield, and found a little store where we purchased more puke buckets, sanitizing spray, and a large stock of paper towels. Asked a little old lady in a storefront museum where the Laura Ingalls house was; and she directed us correctly to the place.We were not allowed to take pictures of the inside of the house or the attached museum, unfortunately. The house itself was very charming -- Laura designed some of it and Almanzo built all of it -- starting with two rooms and adding on until it was the size of a largish, although compact, house.
The kitchen was remarkable -- Laura only being 4'11", and the cabinets were about knee-height on me.
Almanzo had piped the stream water through their cast iron stove, from the hillside, so not only did Laura have running water, she even had cold and hot.
Jr was still worrying me a bit and was making the most of the phrase , "I fink I need to frow up," so I spent some time outside with him.
This is the back of Laura's house, with a nice screened porch.
The gully out behind her house, with a large hill on the other side from where they piped their spring water.
I lifted this pic from some site somewhere. Anyway, it's her writing desk. :-)
I really loved Missouri. I could totally live there. It seemed like home to me. I could see how Laura loved it there so much! This museum is very much worth visiting -- unfortunately the pictures don't do it justice -- so many of the things she owned and collected (oddly the same sorts of things that I own and collect) are in the attached museum, as well as articles and stories. Pa's violin is in there too, and many of the clothes they wore, and history of the towns they lived in.
This was a good place to visit.