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Location: Stevens Point, Wisconsin, United States

Monday, June 08, 2009

Biking Buffalo

We spent the weekend biking in western Wisconsin, climbing from the shore of the Mississippi up to the ridgetops of Buffalo County, getting in about a 100 miles of riding despite being rained out most of Saturday. Our Sunday ride took us north to Maiden Rock in a large loop. On the way back, about seven miles east of Pepin, we stopped at the Ingalls House, setting for Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Little House in the Big Woods. It is indeed a little house, about twenty by fifteen feet, divided by a log partition into a room with the fireplace, a bedroom, a smaller space, and a sleeping loft above. The marker described Wilder as a writer “beloved above all for her philosophy,” which was summarized to the effect that the principles your parents teach you are “forever true.” What a crock. I thought immediately of Philip Larkin’s This Be the Verse, which provides a bracing antidote to such treacle. It begins...

They fuck you up, your mom and dad.

They may not mean to, but they do.

They fill you with the faults they had,

And add some extra, just for you.


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