The Archer Public Library was used by two hundred and eighty-seven patrons during the week of August 12th – August 16th. One hundred and twelve books and sixty-three videos were checked out during the week.
Loneliness pervaded the lives of pioneers on the American plains, including the empty expanses of West Texas. Most settlers lived in isolation broken only by occasional community gatherings such as funerals and religious revivals. In The Lonesome Plains, Louis Fairchild mines the letters and journals of West Texas settlers, as well as contemporary fiction and poetry, to record the emotions attending solitude and the ways people sought relief.
Hungering for neighborliness, people came together in times of misfortune—sickness, accident, and death—and at annual religious services. In fascinating detail, Fairchild describes the practices that grew up around these two focal points of social life. He recounts the building of coffins and preparation of a body for burial, the conflicting emotions of the pain of death and the hope of heaven, the funeral rite itself, the lost and lonely graves. And he tells the story of yearly outdoor revivals: the choice of the meeting site and construction of the arbor or other shelter, the provision of food, the music and emotionally-charged services, and tangential courting and mischief.
Loneliness is most recognized as a feature of life in the time of the early West Texas cattle industry, a period of sprawling cattle ranches and legendary cattle drives, roughly from 1867 to 1885. But Fairchild shows that it also characterized the lives of settlers who lived in West Texas from the beginning of permanent settlement of the Texas Panhandle (around 1876) through the population shift that occurred around the turn of the century, as farmers and their families supplanted ranchers and their cattle.
Fairchild draws on primary materials of the early residents to give voice to the settlers themselves and skillfully weaves a moving picture of life in the open spaces of West Texas during the frontier-rural period of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.
Check out “The Lonesome Plains: Death and Revival on an American Frontier” by Louis Fairchild at the Archer Public Library
A senior partner at a prestigious New York law firm, Kate Morgan couldn’t be prouder of her three grown children. Tamara, Anthony, and Claire all went to great schools, chose wonderful career paths, and would have made their father proud. A single mother for years after the death of her husband, Kate keeps a tight rein on her family, her career, and even her own emotions, never once asking herself if she truly knows her children . . . or if her hopes for them are the right ones, and what they want. She is about to find out.
During one hectic summer in Manhattan, Kate’s world turns upside down. One child has been keeping an astonishing secret while another confesses to an equally shocking truth. A wonderful match and picture-book wedding are traded for a relationship that shakes Kate to her core. A totally inappropriate love affair and an out-of-wedlock baby complete the chaos. Challenged as a mother and as a successful independent woman herself, Kate struggles to keep up with a dizzying and escalating chain of events and begins to realize that she has a part to play in the chaos. Because Kate too has kept secrets from her children.
Sometimes the surprising choices our children make are the right ones . . . better than what we wanted for them. More often than not, parenting is about letting go of our dreams and embracing theirs
Check out “Child’s Play” by Danielle Steel at the Archer Public Library