Post 27:
“Founder’s Day”

Post 27: “Founder’s Day”

From 13-Year-Old Anne’s Journal —

December 6, 1982 – GOOD

“Walnut Grove had a Founder’s Day celebration. Mary competes in a jump rope contest and loses to Willie. Ma & Mrs. Oleson both lose the pie baking contest. Laura loses the hoop rolling contest to Nellie. Ma & Laura win the three-legged race. Mr. Oleson wins tug-of-war. Pa lets this old man beat him in the log.(sic)”

21 - 12:6


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From Anne —

Whoa, that sounds rough: Pa letting an old man “beat him in the log.” Despite the sado-masochistic phrasing in my journal there, this episode has a nice innocence to it. And on the heels of our own presidential inauguration that drew almost a million people to D.C. this week, it’s sweet to see Walnut Grove’s citizens gathering in the public square for tug-of-war and hoop rolling contests — their own little Olympics.

Ma and Mrs. Oleson handle losing the pie baking contest with dignity. Last year I went to the Marion County Fair here in Indianapolis. There was a pie baking contest but only about 4 people had entered. We’ve got to revive these hometown culinary showdowns. I make a mean chocolate sweet potato pie…

It’s hard not to comment on the shirtless massage scenes (the one with Ma and Pa, and the logger and his wife). Are you excited, Tracy? They must have been going after some extra ratings. That must explain the casting of Forrest Tucker, whom I guess was a pretty busy actor in 1950s-70s TV.

Lastly — you can see the genuine laughter during the tug-of-war scene in which Pa and Nels get doused in what looks like a very silky mud. (Wonder whose job it was to prep the mud hole and actually make the mud?)

This is what we need in civic life today — more mud and more pie.

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From Tracy —

Yes! Bless the bare chested Charles and all that adorable bunting! And while I too find this episode terribly sweet, I must also admit I do not remember it at all. I probably blocked it out because I absolutely sucked at all athletics in school and so I dreaded PE and “field days” with a passion. I even hated recess because I usually ended up getting hurt or humiliated in some form or another.

Which brings me to a complete tangent I must go off on. Bear with me because I need to tell you about one teacher who I would be a good sport for. His name is Rick Crosslin and he is still teaching and has a science education show for kids on PBS.

I’m sad to hear his slight British accent has gone and so probably has his green TR7 . But his boyish good looks and enthusiasm remain. Mr. Crosslin was as exotic as a zebra in white bread Chapel Glen Elementary in the late 70s and I was so fortunate to be his student right at the beginning of his career. He kept tarantulas and other exotic pets in our third grade classroom. He “made” us play soccer/football in the gym during the day. In other words, he was an absolute blast and made learning fun.

So I tried my hardest to play soccer because I had an enormous crush on him. One day the ball came right at me and because I was not paying attention it hit me hard in the forehead and almost went into the goal. I was so dazed and worried about my new glasses that I didn’t even know what happened. Rick dashed over and almost picked me up. I thought he was going to comfort me. “That was a perfect shot!!” he said. It was the first praise I had ever received for a sports activity.

Anyway I am thankful to this day that he didn’t get the teacher’s spot on the Space Shuttle Challenger. He was one of the finalists.

Now back to Little House . . . Anne’s right. Everyone is having a lot of fun in this episode. (“Wow! An episode where no one dies! And no locusts! What a treat!”) What’s also obvious is how few stunt doubles they used. That’s Landon chopping logs and looking incredibly competent doing it. (A skill learned on the set of “Bonanza” no doubt.) And then there’s all that jump roping! There was no room for weaklings on the prairie or on Prairie set.

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