For one reason and another, I've been thinking a lot about "pioneer women" lately. First it was seeing the movie True Grit. Then it was reading Half Broke Horses. And, now that I'm trying to dredge up memories of my days as a newlywed in Indonesia, it's all sorta swirling around together in my head. Mostly I've been thinking

about the kind of wife most men think they want, and about what happens when they actually get what they asked for.

For as long as I can remember, I have adored books about adventurous women. Not just American pioneer women, but all kinds and nationalities. Years ago I saw a great series on PBS called The Flame Trees of Thika, starring Hayley Mills, and later I read the book, which was by Elspeth Huxley. It was about one of those British "younger sons" who had no hope of inheriting anything, so he packs up his little family and takes off for Africa, thinking it will be a piece of cake to amass a fortune of his own down there. Fortunately for him and his children, his wife had a bit of grit, some common sense, and they managed to build a pretty good life there -- despite the many hardships, and the fact that they had no clue what they were getting into. Other men, who had chosen women of a more...ornamental nature, shall we say? Well, they didn't fare quite so well.

I've always known John and I were both pretty darn smart. First of all, I was smart enough to send him off on his first big adventure with my good graces, and no commitments. Then he was smart enough to realize, within a few short months, that the adventure would be even better if he had someone special there beside him. What made him absolutely brilliant was the little test he devised for me, after watching a good friend's life fall apart when he tried to bring one of those ornamental wives over, to see if I had what it takes -- to see if I had true grit.

P.S. Many thanks to sabob.com for the Flame Trees image, and to digitaltrends.com for the image from True Grit.
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Reviewed by juragan asem
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Rating : 4.5