'Don't cook. Don't clean...

by tosca on Monday, June 28, 2010

...No man will ever make love to a woman because she waxed the linoleum - "My God, the floor's immaculate. Lie down, you hot bitch."
~ Joan Rivers

I detest house cleaning - it may make others feel virtuous but I find that it gets in the way of whatever it is that I want to do at any time: lying around, reading, watching tv, playing on the interwebs, picking my nose, ANYTHING. Sometimes, though, it's a necessity. Especially when you're preparing to move house. And the highlights of it all are when you come across unexpected little treasures. Like I did tonight. It's Monday so this is my 'on the shelf' or 'what I'm reading' post and, believe it or not, the house cleaning bit ties in to my latest read.

Jubal Sackett by Louis L'Amour, image courtesy of FantasticFiction Title: Jubal Sackett
Author: Louis L'Amour
Year: 1985
Series: Sackett series, book 4
Synopsis: Wilderness explorer Jubal Sackett was the son of Barnabas Sackett, the first of that name to come to the New World. Jubal feared no man, nor backed away from any challenge. His fierce determination to blaze new trails took him across the vast, savage North American continent where no white man had been before. Living and fighting among the Indian tribes, Jubal Sackett forged a legend as a powerful medicine man they called "Ni'Kwana, master of mysteries." And with Itchakomi, the proud Natchez princess, he walked the path of courage that future Sacketts would follow.

My dad is an historical fiction freak. Well, he's an historical book reader fullstop whether it's nonfiction or fiction. I have memories of him reading Louis L'Amour's books when I was about 7 or 8 and I didn't think much of it. Until we moved to Auckland and I had read my way through the school library (which was appallingly tiny and would never have been able to keep me happy, anyway), my own books at home and decided to read my way through mum and dad's books, too. In my 9 year old mind I had decided that if dad and mum devoured them there must be something to them, even if they were mostly cowboy and Indian books (which, up till then, I hadn't read at all). Discovering a somewhat obsessive need for reading in order (these days I'm not so bad) I started with Sackett's Land (which was published in 1974 so hell it was older than me) and worked my way through the entire Sackett series. I laughed, got mad at the bad guys, cried, rejoiced with the good guys, learnt parts of American Indian history I'd never heard about in school, fell in love with the wild west and developed a yearning to visit the States and see the land the way L'Amour did. I believe that this series gave me an idea of how important my own indigenous history was, up until then I'd kind of taken it for granted. I distinctly remember bawling my eyes out when William Tell Sackett's wife, Angie, was assaulted and murdered and he spent a good portion of the book tracking down the men who did it and 'reading to them from the good book.' That used to be a running joke in our house, my mum would say to dad, 'Did you read to them from the good book?' and dad would reply, 'Nope, I just showed 'em the pictures.' Seriously, my parents were odd. L'Amour's Sackett books also put me on to Dee Brown's 'Bury my heart at Wounded Knee' and I remember that it was one of the few nonfiction books that broke my heart. I re-read the Sacket novels on and off right up until my late teens and then, for some reason, forgot all about them. Until tonight.

We're in the middle of packing up the the rooms in preparation to move - we plan to be gone from this house by the end of July. I've only started the first room tonight and I've come across the strangest things that evoke the strongest memories. A photo of my favourite uncle (my dad's youngest brother) - our theme song was 'Nina, pretty ballerina,' a family photo (sans moi, bien sur) back when Miss Knocked Up was cute and eager to please instead of terribly hormonal and ready to rip heads off, a dvd of my favourite cousin's funeral service (I miss her still and it's been 2 years), Miss 6's kohanga certificates, Mr. 6's first dracula cape (serving merely to highlight how strange that kid truly is) and a myriad of other treasures. The best find - or maybe the best 'sentimental but not in an I'm-gonna-start-crying way' find - is dad's Sackett books. I grabbed one at random and was suddenly 9 years old all over again, experiencing that rush of excitement and adventure and sense of romance (omg I was thinking about the romance of a book back then and didn't even know it geez) and so I sat down, cleaning forgotten, to read the first chapter...which inspired me to write this post. The plan now is to finish cleaning that particular room tonight in order to claim my reward - renewing an old acquaintance with Monsieur L'Amour.

One comment

Great post! Love the evocative memories! You really are quite inspirational!

by Corin on June 28, 2010 at 7:48 PM. #

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