I have had it hanging around for about a year, and finally getting around to read it. Patrick Smith's, "A Land Remembered." This book is required reading at some state parks, like Lake Kissimmee where they have the Cracker Cattle Camp.
I read two others of Smith combined in a double book, "Forever Island" and "Allapahta." (Hope I have the spelling right.)
In all three book, they start out with people who live in modern times, but they are reminiscing of the past. They want to live the old traditional ways they grew up with, but those times are long gone, or about to be gone forever. The books show Florida as it once was, contrasted by modern development and changes.
Another thing about Smith, is that he captures the psyche of the Seminole very well. He expresses their thoughts and feelings. The reality and world of the Seminole is very different from the modern white American world, and this comes through very clearly.
Smith does a wonderful job of describing everyday activities and objects around the settler's cabin or Seminole chickee. What the people are doing, what is being cooked, what food they are having, and what daily activities they must endure to earn a living. I think Smith does this the best in "A Land Remembered." This helps the reader visualize a world that is very different from themselves, of daily chores they won't ever have to do unless they want to, like butchering a hog and using every part.
"Forever Island" is about a Seminole elder who lives in a Chickee near Copeland off of Highway 29. A new development is about to be put in, and he must move to the reservation and into a modern house, where he has never had to live. He has lived a long life and is seeing the Everglades change, and not for the better. He longs to find an island hidden way to the south where his parents are buried, where there are huge cypress trees, and the old ways are the only ways still practiced there. The island is representative of the old ways that are off in the distance, hard to reach, but still longing to go there.
"Allapahta" is about a young Miccosukee man who is trying to support his family, but just keeps running into one setback after another. He visits Monroe Station, where the husband and wife who run the restaurant and store do what they can to help. The young Tiger feels his life being pressured from all sides, sees the old life being forced away, and fights to retain them.
"A Land Remembered" is about a Florida Cracker family trying to survive history, and of their success and failure. You can find plenty about this book in your local bookstore, where it is probably sitting on the shelf at this very moment. I won't say more because you can find plenty of information about it on the web or in your bookstore. Just buy a copy and read it.
Or buy all three of them.
allapatah is the proper spelling i think...
i saw a dvd done on the writer and how he came up with the idea to write about these things and the stuff he went through to do it. the dvd is a great documantary on this writer's life and the lives and cultures he wrote about. what he went through to learn about the seminole enough to properly write about them, and the time and effort he went to to gain their trust make a compelling and moving story of their own. here is a writer who, while a bit impressed with himself (with good reason i think), has integrity, an honesty about him that is sadly lacking in much of modern literature. his earthy wisdom and pragmatic attitudes shine a bit of perspective on things today. i have not read the books yet, but after the dvd, i will definitely be doing so!
Thanks; it was too late at night and I didn't want to get up and look for the spelling of Allapatah. I have a swollen ankle and am not moving around right now.
I donated the book of Forever Island / Allapatah to the park library, because the locations where the books take place are right down here. It is really neat when he places them in areas that I am familiar with.