To Be the Provider, the Giver


Collin, this morning, after a solo turkey hunt

Sometimes my reading life and my living life perfectly coincide.  At lunch I was browsing through Neil Gunn’s novel, Morning Tide.  I’m quite sure you have heard neither of Neil Gunn nor this title.  However, if you lived in Scotland, Gunn would be a familiar author.  In this-coming-of age tale, twelve-year old Hugh MacBeth is reckoning how he can help the family while his father is away fishing and his mother is ill.  I can say with certainty that my sons have all experienced a moment like this.  

But if he got this fish now and Bill and himself set rabbit-snares tonight, it might be something. A great desire came upon him to provide for the house.  To hunt and kill, to bring food home, and fire.  His eyes glistened, but in their light there was also something of awe.  Life could hold nothing more supreme than that.  To be the provider, the giver.  The importance of it made him quiver.  He saw in a flash deep into man’s estate.  The glory, the power, and the self-restraint that smiles thanks shyly away.  To be able to do that…and then for his father to come home, to learn about it, and–to look at him for a moment with his quiet man’s look.  Nothing on earth could beat that.


8 thoughts on “To Be the Provider, the Giver

  1. I just checked, Brenda.  They have one book, Butcher’s Broom, and it is available.  He lived 1891-1973.  The Scotsman wrote: “Modern Scottish fiction reaches its highest peak in the novels of Neil M. Gunn.”

  2. Carol, this is related to a previous comment about Wallace Stegner. The book I’ve read (and enjoyed) last year was Crossing to Safety. I’m currently finishing Angle of Repose and it is inferior (imho) and twice longer.

  3. @Alfonso – I have both on my shelf, waiting to be read.  I’m interested in the fact that you (greatly) prefer Crossing to Angle.  One of my friends thinks Angle of Repose is the best novel in the world.  So now I will have to bump these books to the front of my reading line and make my own opinion.  “Inferior and twice longer”: I am intrigued.I read a play Monday night (I Never Sang for My Father) and, since I don’t read plays very often, it reminded me of reading the WWI play you recommended. 

  4. @magistramater – I don’t mean that a long book is a problem (it can be a gift). The point was that if you were going just to give Stegner a try, I was suggesting to begin with Crossing to Safety.I can’t go to Theatres frequently (by chance I went yesterday to see The Trap of Agatha Christie, in Madrid), but I like drama and I read and prepare plays with my students. I am preparing now a short Spanish play with kids of thirteen. We are going to play it for the first time in a Hospital for children on May, 2 (it’s going to be a great experience, I’m sure). I will do a little bit of research about that play you say.I am trying to go to USA next year in a program for Visiting Students. Lets see if I get the opportunity. Prayers welcome. 

  5. @alfonso – I finished Crossing to Safety with my heart in my throat…It was an excellent read.  Thank you giving me the “push” to read it.  I’m wondering how your play went today.  I hope well!That would be great if you were able to visit America. 

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