My mom gave me the book to read a few years ago when I asked her about some of the genealogy research she had done. She had said that members of our family had come to Texas through Tennessee and that I should read this book to get a sense for what it was like back then.
The sense I got was that a scrawny, educated, vegetarian like me would have no business being on the frontier. The main character, Orion Outlaw, is basically my opposite — he is burly, illiterate and kills lots of stuff to eat. Some examples of how much unlike Orion I am:
After killing a bear, he says that: “I always did like the toes. Brown ’em right and you got a tasty tid-bit.”
The closest I’ll ever get to this is eating tofu buffalo wings.
When talking about clearing fields around his house, he says: “If a man kept his axe handy he could fall a lot of trees in a lifetime. And as he told them every one down was one out of the way.”
If I lived somewhere that had any land attached to it, I’d plant as many trees as I could.
One of the times he had to put up with his brother-in-law, the school master, he thinks: “what would become of Frank if you turned him out in the woods by himself. Most likely he would starve to death and somebody some day would find a few buttons or those books he carried in his pack scattered at the foot of a tree.”
I don’t think I’d last too long in the woods either…
Up next, Touch The Earth.