Living On The Frontier (But Not For Very Long)

I just finished reading Green Centuries, a book set in the late 1700s about a family that settles in what will become Tennessee and gets caught up in the beginning of the Chickamauga Wars.

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.

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