Two weeks ago, I went on the road trip of my dreams with Amber. If you’d asked me, before that day, whether a sunny drive (fuelled by hemp milk coffee and soulsister conversation) with the sole aim of a magnificent chocolate factory tour would be enough for me, I would’ve said yes. Yes, absolutely, that is enough to make me happy.
But I was luckier than that. My road trip wasn’t about mere happiness; it was about dream-achieving exhilaration.
First, though, it was about more coffee. Who knew gas station coffee could be quite acceptable? Fancy that.
After Amber and I toured the Askinosie Factory in Springfield, we hopped back in the car with our sights firmly set on Mansfield. In this town, we would find the homes where one of my most cherished authors, Laura Ingalls Wilder, lived out the majority of her life (and wrote her books).
As we drew into Mansfield, signs and shops emblazoned with Laura’s name started to appear, and I began to embody a strange (and probably perturbing, to Amber) combination of breathless silence and random shrieks.
I grew up reading and rereading every Laura Ingalls Wilder novel/memoir, and my love for her stories has carried through my blog. It seems I’ve mentioned Laura here and here and here and here and here and here…
So when I say that visiting her home was emotionally overwhelming? I mean it.
And I can prove it.
Then we found Laura’s house. FEELINGS. We got to walk around inside this home that she and Almanzo built themselves, room by room, despite the fact that Laura was only 4ft 9in and Almanzo had a cane and a crippled leg. I saw the dishes that Laura cooked with, the stove she cooked on, the beds where they slept, the desk at which she wrote her books, the embroidery they both worked on, the staircase their daughter Rose climbed to go to bed, the wallpaper they chose, the flooring that has lasted all these years, the overflowing library, and so much more.
So. Many. Feelings.
I needed a bit of a lie down. Dizzy.
Amber, bless ‘er heart, noticed that I was getting quite teary during the house tour, and didn’t even chastise me when I spent all of our time in the museum exclaiming things like “Oh! This is the invitation for the party Laura went to in Little Town on the Prairie where she experienced an electric shock and got a whole orange! a whole orange!” or “Pa’s fiddle! Oh Amber, it’s really Pa’s actual fiddle!”.
As a certain someone was making fun of me for recently, it turns out I really can be as ridiculously sensitive as a dewdrop on a soufflé sometimes.
A little drive from Laura and Almanzo’s main house is the Rock House, in which they also briefly lived. Before visiting this gorgeous place, Amber and I stopped by the gift store for something that has been missing from my life and soul for a long time.
Yes. That’s right.
I now own my very own prairie pioneer bonnet.
If I had my way, I’d never take it off. After all, it gives me Prairie Sass.
Alas, all good things must come to an end, and so Amber and I waved farewell to Laura and began the drive home to Kansas City (Missouri!), this time energized by our myriad sample bags of delicious, delicious Askinosie chocolate and Amber’s spectacular taste in music. (If you think you see whole pieces of vanilla pod embedded in that dark chocolate, you’re right. Review to come.)
Thank you, Amber, for helping create this shining day.
So. Many. Feelings.