Sunday, March 27, 2005

Little House by the Shores of Lake Erie

As I reported yesterday, we did in fact watch the first installment of the new Little House on the Prairie miniseries, and we liked it quite a bit. It wasn't at all like the original NBC series, as we expected, but it would have helped get the old show out of our heads if the folks making the new show hadn't cast as Laura a girl who looks about as close to Melissa Gilbert as you can get. I also couldn't help but notice that Erin Cottrell, the woman playing Caroline Ingalls, is absolutely beautiful. I very much doubt that the real Caroline Ingalls underwent the journey from Wisconsin to Kansas to build a new home with her gorgeous, lucious sand-colored hair flying free in the breeze, but you know what? I'm fine with it. Anyway, the new show's about as good as your basic decent family made-for-TV movie -- it's not Battlestar Galactica good, but we found it enjoyable.

Anyway, I was surprised that today's Buffalo News didn't take advantage of the airing of the new Little House to point out the Western New York connection to the books: Charles Ingalls ("Pa", for you laggards who aren't up on your Ingalls-Wilder) was born in Cuba, NY. This is a very small town in Allegany County, about seventy-five miles southeast of Buffalo. While it is no longer known just where Charles Ingalls lived during the six years or so that he lived with his family in Cuba, there are still descendents of his family living in the area. That's pretty cool.

Cuba, NY is now known not for being Charles Ingalls's birthplace but for cheese. And it's damned good cheese, too.

(BTW, Laura Ingalls Wilder isn't Western New York's only connection to Americana literature. Mark Twain lived here for a time, too.)

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