Neighbor Rosicky by Willa Cather
I’m continuing with the five short stories/novellas in Cather’s #125 Five Stories. I skipped Tom Outland’s Story as it came from The Professor’s House (a story within a novel) that I read fairly recently. Neighbor Rosicky focuses upon a doctor and his patient, farmer Rosicky. Rosicky has been told by his friend and respected doctor that he needs to take it easy because he has heart disease. Being a farmer, this is easier said than done. But neighbor Rosicky and his wife has a bunch of teenage boys (and one grown son) who can carry out the heavy work. Rosicky isn’t the wealthiest farmer in town, but he is the happiest. He and his wife are well-matched, their children are lovely, and they know how to treat a friend.
The doctor thinks about this when he attends the birth (after too many other births in the family) of the wife of a wealthy farmer whose home is a hovel. He hurries away in the morning without breakfast, which was a major faux pas on the behalf of the family who secured his services, but the doctor would not want to eat there even if they offered – the place is disgusting and the people unhappy. Instead he drives eight miles to Rosicky’s house where everyone is just sitting down to a delicious meal to which he is always welcome. Really, this is the type of family that anyone would want to be part of. Of course, Cather is idealizing, but lovely, happy families do exist and this is one. I won’t give away the rest, but will note that I enjoyed this story very much – the Rosicky’s and the doctor are charming characters and Cather is reminding us, poignantly, of what is important in life.
Happy Reading! Ruby