Monday, August 27, 2012

Mahoning River, 500 Miles to the Ozarks

I finished The Re-Creation of Brian Kent, by Harold Bell Wright. Turbulent twists (but then the book is a river metaphor for life) in the plot that brings the hero and the maiden together, with one that is so similar to many where the estranged spouse is lost to this world, to clear the path for the lovers. Like in Jane Eyre, the hidden wife has to go, but how?
The simple style of a hundred years ago composed a sweet story. A person can be born again. I read the biography of the author at the end of the book. Smaller print over several pages telling of the English and French in New York bringing the family to being. His mother died when he was ten, the alcoholic father abandoned the children, causing ten year old Harold to depend on love from distant family and fending for himself.
Mr. Wright attended college in our nearby Hiram, OH. James Garfield presided as president before his term as US president. Mr. Wright also painted (hmm, like the shepherd's son in The Shepherd of the Hills),as decorating and exterior house to make money. Being outside so much, he fell ill to pneumonia. The Ozarks promised improvement to his health, so he traveled the Mahoning River five hundred miles to the hills of Missouri. Laura Ingalls Wilder's husband also needed to migrate to this area for his health.
This morning I recited the way to Missouri by river- Mahoning into Pennsylvania to the Beaver into the Ohio (we've boated there, I canoed on the Beaver), then I guess to the Mississippi. Katie just stared at me, as I tried to imagine the trip. I examined the atlas map of Missiouri. I had a hard time finding Branson. I could see Table Rock Lake and River. Finally, I saw the town. Then as my eyes glided over the map, they stopped at Hermitage, the county seat of Hickory County. I think I want to tool around Missouri. Plenty of Mark Twain National Forest, too, would fill my eyes with beauty.
Mr. Wright spent years there with his talent of preaching in Kansas and Missouri. People convinced him, his writing could touch more people than just just a talking to a congregation once a week. He settled in Redlands, CA and the Imperial Valley, but also did much writing in Arizona. The desert, a quiet peaceful place to write, cabins there were lent to him.
I think I will attempt one more book of his that is to be the most like his thoughts, Their Yesterdays. He published forty years. Many critics spoke poorly of him, but he was the first author in America to write five best sellers. I find the style in his story of Brian Kent flowery, but without the television or radio, books were often read aloud as entertainment. As we sit here now with our devices and ear buds in the same room, but not in the same sounds, I wonder... maybe we need a little more morality books to which all can listen.

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