In this delightful memoir, O'Meara recounts a ten-year-old boy's year in the northern Minnesota sawmill town of Cloquet at the turn of the twentieth century. A talented historian/novelist, he vividly evokes the sights and sounds, joys and sorrows of family life set against the background of the lumbering industry when white pine was still king.
Season by season, O'Meara evokes the sights and sounds of family life and work in an era when the crisp days of autumn meant "digging in," and when it was up to the boy in the family to stack firewood for the kitchen range and dig enough potatoes "to last until the return of spring." The author's words recreate the bone-chilling cold of a Minnesota winter when a boy snared rabbits to help supply the family table, when "your ears could freeze to a dead, marble-like whiteness after only a few minutes of exposure," and when a boy's father was gone "up in the woods" to work in one of the forty-odd logging camps near Cloquet. The arrival of spring was marked by his father's return from the camps while summer meant bare feet, the "noisy frontier exuberance" of the Fourth of July, and summer visitors--gypsies, traveling circuses, and chimney sweeps.
A talented historian/novelist, O'Meara vividly evokes the sights and sounds, joys and sorrows of family life set against the background of the lumbering industry when white pine was still king.