Simpler Times

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“Be careful what you own.

Your possessions just might own you.”

This is a quote from my father that I’ve remembered throughout my life. In this spring season of garage sales and Craig’s listings, I look around my house and see that the blessing of living into today’s consumer world is also a responsibility. It is time that I ‘lighten’ my life. Can you relate?

A scribe using quill and Black Oak ink.
A scribe using quill and Black Oak ink.

In this process of trying to simplify and organize my life, sometimes it seems overwhelming and I begin to wonder if it is really possible. There are books on this topic—even a best-selling one. (The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing by  Marie Kondo.  Hint: I really need this book!)

This is probably why I enjoy reading and writing stories. First off, stories are a neat little package with a beginning, a middle and an end. Stories are ORGANIZED. Also, things get ACCOMPLISHED in a story. The hero gets the girl, the villain gets his or her just desserts, the underdog saves the day. (This sense of accomplishment does not happen when I clean!)

Macktown Rendezvous
A man much like Stephen Mack

Second, since I read and write historicals, besides learning history along the way, it fascinates me to see how people lived in a “simpler” time. Even before the cowboys and cattle drives of the “west”, there were fur traders and mountain men and native Americans. These men and women knew how to get along with very little of the ‘extras’ in life that I would be lost without. Flint and a striking stone for fire. A horse. A basket to carry water. (No computer? No electricity? Are you serious?)

I recently attended a re-enactment of this ‘simpler’ life held right here in my hometown. Rockton has a history that dates back to the early 1800s when the French traders would come to trade with the native Americans that lived here. The re-enactment happens annually at the end of April and is called the “Rendezvous.”

Whitman Trading Post
Whitman Trading Post – 1846

Stephen Mack, Jr. is the first known white settler here in the Rock River valley. He came west in the early 1820’s as a fur trader for the American Fur Company of Detroit. In 1835, after the Black Hawk War, he settled down here with his Potowatami wife, Hononegah, and established a settlement which eventually came to be known as Macktown. In 1839 he built a ferry across the Rock River and later built a bridge. His home, a large frame house that he built in 1839, still stands, along with the Whitman Trading Post which he built from the local limestone in 1846. After Stephen Mack’s death in 1850, Macktown slowly faded away while at the same time across the river, Rockton grew.

I took Western Spring Weddingsthese pictures at the Rendezvous. I hope you enjoy them.

 

Do you have any tips for simplifying life?

Pass one along in the comment section for a chance to win a copy of my newest release ~ Western Spring Weddings!