The Sound Of Gravel
"Weeks earlier, Sally and Cynthia had told me that they'd
discovered that Lane had abused another of their sisters. Rumors of
his abuse--of several of us--had slowly spread throughout the colony.
I didn't know how that had happened, as Mom had been determined to
keep our problems within the family, and I was never approached or
questioned by a soul. Then again, given that Lane had molested at
least four of us, it was a wonder that the news hadn't spread sooner."
When Ruth Wariner, author of The Sound of Gravel, was born, she
was her mother's fourth and her father's thirty-ninth child. Her dad
was the prophet of a separatist colony in Mexico. That great Babylon
to the North, the United States, was considered to be in a terminal
state of moral decay. Believers had to abandon their practices to not
go under. In this polygamist sect the role of men was to be fruitful
and multiply, seeding wives with numerous children. Women could
attain salvation by obeying their husbands and bearing and raising the
children. (Ruth's mom gave birth ten times before her untimely and
tragically preventable death.)
Of course there is a big difference in seeding the multitude and
feeding the multitude--a difference the church did not take into
account. There impoverished children were no cause for concern. Of
course doing the Lord's will would involve suffering and deprivation.
As she gets older, Ruth learns that extreme poverty,
disorganization, and squalor are not the worst parts of the life she
was born into. Not by a long shot.
The Sound of Gravel is not for the faint of heart. The
narrative is all the more sinister for being told from a child's point
of view. It's a vivid reminder that when extreme sects isolate
themselves from the rest of the world sometimes the most innocent
members pay the highest price.
On a personal note, Saturday afternoon we had a big old thunderstorm
that just tore through much of Penobscot County. After it departed
the puddles left behind were the only sign of inclement weather.
Later I learned that a bunch of people lost power. Eugene really
surprised me by taking me to Family Dog for supper. It's one of my
absolute favorite restaurants.
A great big shout out goes out to Eugene.
Sent from my iPod