My girls didn't think they were going to like Little Britches: Father and I Were Ranchers, by Ralph Moody. Well, they were wrong. I am begged for a couple of chapters out of this book almost every day. Here is an excerpt:
He said it wasn't so much that I took the chocolate, as it was the way I took it, and because I tried to hide it when he spoke to me. But it was the next thing he said that hurt me worse than the spanking.
He said, "Son, I realize a lot better than you think I do that you have been helping to earn the living for the family. We might say the chocolate was yours in the first place. If you had asked Mother or me for it, you could have had it without a quesiton, but I won't have you being sneaky about things. (...) He said he didn't want a sneaky partner, but if I could be open and aboveboard he didn't know a man he'd rather be in business with.
I couldn't help crying some more when he told me that; not because my bottom was still burning, but because I loved him. I told him I'd never be sneaky again, and I'd always ask him before I did things. We walked to the house together. At the bunkhouse door he shook hands with me, and said, "Good night, partner." When I went to sleep, my hand was still hurting -- good-- from where he squeezed it when we shook hands.
And here's another one. Ralph accidentally traps and kills a pheasant. He tries to hide it, but finally tells his Father about it:
Wisdom here! The book has some swear words in it, which I skip over while reading, and which will be whited out when we get our own copy. This is a great read-aloud!
I asked him if he thought they'd put me in the hoosegow, as Fred said, if the sheriff found out.
Father didn't say a word for a minute or two. Then he said, "It isn't a case of 'if the sheriff finds out about it.' It's a case of your breaking the law without intending to. If you tried to cover it up, you'd be running away from the law. Our prisons are full of men whose first real crime was running away because they didn't have courage enough to face punishment for a small offense. Tomorrow you must go to see the sheriff."
(...) [The next] night when we were milking, he told me it had been a day I should remember. He said it would be good for me, as I grew older, to know that a man always made his troubles less by going to meet them instead of waiting for them to catch up with him, or trying to run away from them.