In recent years, the ones of most interest to me are, of course, those in which Laura is pursued by the rugged Almanzo Wilder and then *spoiler* becomes his wife.
Back in those covered wagon, one-room school house kind of days, there doesn't seem to have been the same affinity for mystery in the realm of love that permeates our modern culture.
I suppose 'playing hard to get' sinks down the priority list a bit when you're busy churning your own butter or preparing for the one bath you get to take per month.
You see Almanzo didn't have to facebook friend or ask for the digits of Miss Laura before letting his intentions be known. Essentially, he just rode his buggy up to her one day and asked if she wanted a ride.
He was so entirely taken by her sweet pigtail braids and brown eyes big enough to take in the whole countryside at once that he knew she was the gal for him and that was that.
Things don't exactly seem to work that way these days.
Dating has become such an elaborate dance of uncertainty that even those of us unable to imagine a life without love give up from time to time.
If there's one thing that's true about 2010 it's that if you need information you're going to be able to get it.
Google. Youtube. Texting. You name a question and I'll find a way to get the answer.
But obviously when the thoughts of another person get involved, things get tricky.
I can't Google to find out what a certain gentleman is thinking about me. And I can't youtube a video of his facial expression when his phone lights up with my text.
We constantly search for ways to get around this information clog, building networks of friends who can keep their fingers on the pulse of a situation, or becoming so great at facebook stalking that you know exactly who your crush was with at 3:45 p.m. on March 23, 2007.
But I think all that leaves us with is a brain that is so busy processing secondhand knowledge that we just get fed-up with the whole thing. We become love burn-outs. Stop the roller coaster because if there's one more drop we're going to toss our nachos.
And that's where I found myself at the beginning of this week.
Entirely frustrated by the process of being 'in like.'
So I went on self-induced love-probation. It wasn't that I was checking into a convent for the week- it was that I was going to stop the 24/7 headache of information gathering.
If he liked me, it was his job to show it, not my job to hunt it out from the 165 clues I gathered daily.
It's pathetic really. We let ourselves get so caught-up in avoiding vulnerability that we miss out on what this whole dating thing is supposed to be about: two people getting to know each other openly and honestly.
And once you've started the process, you've got to believe that at some point you'll be confident enough to throw caution to the wind and just say how you feel right?
In my case lately? Not so much.
Confidence level aside, I fell into the common trap of trusting blogging, facebook statuses and winky faces to allude to what I was far too worried to just voice aloud.
Namely that, "I like you a lot."
And so there I was, in love-probation.
Don't you worry, I still had plenty of poetry to fill up the romance-center of my brain, and I also had an incredibly refreshing amount of time to just pleasantly exist beyond the stress of chasing after a young man's affections.
Now that I've come to the end of my punishment, I'm finding it hard to figure out how I could ever have found that frenzied version of myself from the last three weeks acceptable to release into the campus community.
I guess what I've realized is that no matter how grandiose I still find the whole idea of love, there's no reason it should be so complicated. There's no reason that I should make it so hard.
Absolve yourself to the ways of fate and the universe and things will work out as they were intended.
Take a deep breath. Give your thumbs a break from the texting. Log off facebook in favor of a good book. Follow what feels natural instead of grasping for what is socially acceptable in light of your age, his past relationships, your zodiac compatibility and your friend's advice.
Reconnect with the simplicity of Laura Ingalls Wilder.
Dare I suggest taking a turn at the butter churn?
And maybe, just maybe, when all those wild thoughts have stopped buzzing around your head, you'll find the courage to unclog that information flow and just say what's on your mind without hiding it behind two hundred veils of secrecy.
Now was that so hard?
Today's thought of the day from the beautiful Desiderata, a poem by Max Ehrmann:
"Beyond a wholesome discipline,