Pioneer Woman


It had been a couple of months since the PANDAs last get together. Traveled to the home of our newest member in the “new frontier of Mars Hill.” Only one PANDA was unable to attend to discuss “Follow the River,” by James Alexander Thom.

We all agreed that the book was well researched and written. In fact, it was pointed out that the author was able to keep the reader’s interest despite the constant, repetitive scenario involving the heroine, Mary Ingle. My research indicates she is not related to the market tycoon.

Here’s a short synopsis. The female superwoman, Mary Ingles, is captured by Shawnee Indians. She lives with them for several months before she escapes. The book details her extraordinary story as she attempts to return to her people.

What stunned us was the resilience and drive of this female and her ability to survive the freezing conditions she endured while in her near-naked condition. For someone whose only credential was “pioneer woman,” she did amazingly well for being inexperienced. And, yes, this story was based on actual events.

One criticism of the scenario was the reunion of mother and son after many years of captivity. It seemed more of a “Hollywood” scripted ending. Perhaps that was suggested by the publisher in order to tie up loose ends?

The group acknowledged that not all Indian tribes were as vicious and savage as those indicated in the book. The Indian nations were being pushed out of their habitat further west and it is understandable why they would travel great distances to raid and murder at random.

Side note: The author is married to a member of the tribe described in his book.

After thrashing out the book, we gathered in the dining area. We were treated to a mini feast of rosemary/olive bread, sliced roast beef from Boar’s Head, cheese, lettuce, dazzling mustard, and horseradish—all perfect ingredients for a decadent sandwich. Some of us indulged and had two! Iced tea topped off the meal along with some soft drinks. This spread will be hard to beat. Thanks go out to our PANDA hosts.

We’re all looking forward to the next book—“The Wright Brothers,” by David McCullough. Stay tuned!

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