River Readers Book Club Begins “Letitia, She’s Iron, Stone and Beautiful Flower!

Happy Camp Author, Barbara Ann Black’s book about her mother, Letitia!!

BY Judy Bushy
The Book that the River Readers will be reading January eighth is the new book, Letitia; She’s Iron, Stone, and Beautiful Flower. This wonderful story of Colorado Homesteading 1916 to 1950 is by Barbara Ann Black (Brown) by Naturegraph in Happy Camp. The cover is a painting by Navajo artist, Chester Kahn, as well as illustrations. He drew pictures while tending sheep as a boy. Barbara also herded sheep as a child; it seems particularly fitting!

We are certainly grateful for many who inspired Barbara to write about her mother’s life and persistently kept after her, with persuasion and encouragement! It was a great eye opener to hear so many aspects of ranch life in Colorado when Barbara was a child.

Homestead cabins didn’t have running water or bathrooms, and electricity wasn’t brought there for many years. She writes of the independence of her mother and sisters, and even in today’s modern feminism climate, it is hard to imagine three sisters setting out to homestead vast acres as a ranch. Heading for California to make their stake and returning to the homestead in the Great Depression are challenges they met. There was time they had to start over from scratch and flat broke.

Today’s children would feel definitely deprived if they had to do chores, feed or water animals, collect eggs, etc, saddle the horse and rider ten miles to school! Barbara did that daily for some years and felt bad if she was tardy! They didn’t have television, iphones many of the things we take for granted today either. There were many things about sheep raising, and then they went to cattle, branding calves, finding the cattle that strayed off, chickens, turkeys and other ranch life. One doesn’t think of Prairie Dogs as a threat, although the grasshopper army was and then came dust bowl years. It isn’t all rattlesnakes, storms and hail. You’ll meet horses Barbara has ridden and trained at a very early age, and natural phenomena of the Colorado ranch. Vignettes of her Dad and mother and then the appendix of sayings, recipes and neighbors to their ranch in Colorado conclude the story.

It is a heartwarming story of ranch life that you will enjoy and feel grateful for conveniences that they never dreamed of! You will see why May 17th is an annual time to celebrate with chocolate cake for Letitia. WE read the Prologue when we begin the book, with more reading as well as discussion through the days.. I’m grateful that Barbara shared the book, and her heartfelt memories of her mother with us. My copy has already been borrowed by a couple of others interested in the story. Everyone is welcome to the River Reader’s on Tuesday at 11 at the Marble Mountain Gift Co.

Marble Mountain Gift Co had sold out of the book at the book signing for Barbara Ann Black’s 90th birthday but she has more no for $14.00.

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