I always wanted to be a member of the Ingalls family. When I watched reruns of “Little House on the Prairie” as a kid, I would imagine myself right alongside Laura and Mary, wearing a bonnet and plain dress just like theirs.
When they went to the creek to get a pail of water, I would tag along. On the long walk to school, I was right beside them and Jack (for the non-fans, Jack was their dog.) I was on their team when they played ball at recess.
Sure they had troubles — it as pioneer times for crying out loud — and life wasn’t always easy. In fact, life was hard. But it all seemed so fun to my young imagination.
As an adult, I’ll admit I will stop on a rerun if I happen upon one while channel surfing. They still play them on the Hallmark Channel, in case you’re interested.
And now that I’m older, I find myself still yearning to join the Ingalls. But now it’s for different reasons than when I was a child. The world was smaller back then. Everyone was neighbors, and not just in a geographical sense. There really was an effort to pull together for the greater good. The value of community was alive and well in Walnut Grove.
Like any team, there was bound to be weak links, and Walnut Grove was no different. Just look at the Olesons. Well, except Mr. Oleson. He was that family’s only saving grace. But that was one family. The number of good people far outweighed the number of bad. It seems today we have way more Olesons than we do Ingalls. What would this crazy world be like today if it were the other way around?
And what if this world got a dose of Charles Ingalls’ optimism? No matter what they faced, Pa showed the family how to find the good in every situation.
What if this world got a dose of Caroline Ingalls’ faith? A dose of Laura Ingalls’ trusting nature? A dose of Manly’s work ethic?
It would likely change the world.
It makes me wonder, though. What if the Ingalls’ world got a dose of life today? What if they were met with today’s negativity? How would they respond to the untrusting masses who seek only the bad? Would they succumb to it or rise above it?
I’d like to think the Ingalls would remain shining examples in today’s world.
In fact, I think they would teach us a thing or two about life and how to live it.
If nothing else, it would make for good TV.
Misty Knisely is managing editor of the Pharos-Tribune. She can be reached at 574-732-5155 or at firstname.lastname@example.org