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WOSTER: SDSU, football and cruising the Missouri River

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Random thoughts at the end of summer:

  • As Nancy and I cruised the Missouri River on Saturday, it struck me that our decision in 1969 to leave Sioux Falls for a job with The Associated Press in Pierre might have been the best one we ever made together. (Yeah, we decided to get married in 1967 -- actually the decision was made in 1966 -- and that was the major step in our story together. But that’s a decision that is many factors of 10s higher than any other.)
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We intended to be here a couple of years and move on. I’ve written before how our Sioux Falls acquaintances were offering condolences on our move to Pierre. “Here be dragons,’’ or something. The laugh was on them. We found friends and a sense of place. We stayed. I’ve thought about future retirement and maybe finding a place somewhere else for those golden years, but I can’t imagine leaving the river.

Besides, I can’t imagine any other community where I’d have found three guys who would let me join their dance band with my weak voice and mediocre guitar skills.

  • It’s possible that Saturday was our final boating excursion of 2014. Not definite, but the weather, the schedule and the unknowns in the approaching fall season limit future opportunities. If it was the last one, it was a relaxing one. We stopped at a canal-side place to pick up a couple of friends, lazied our way up and down the channel, returned to their place to watch the last of the South Dakota State University-Missouri football game and then headed upstream for the marina and home.

“What did you accomplish on a fine Saturday?’’ you might ask.

“Absolutely nothing,’’ I’d reply. “It was superb.’’

  • Speaking of televised football, no one in my class of 1966 would have dreamed one day the Jacks would be playing football in Missouri on a Saturday in August in a game on ESPN-Something. Or that the University of South Dakota would be traveling to play Oregon the same day. One of my first photos for press photography class showed students digging post holes for a sign that read, “South Dakota State University.’’ We were thinking SDSU instead of SDSC (ollege) in my day. Division One was a ways down the road.
  • Of course, no one in my class of 1966 would have imagined a sports channel, movie channel, weather channel or music channel. We had networks. Who needed a remote channel changer? There were precious few choices. Once a family decided which network news program was best (or, in my father-in-law’s case, which channel offered the greatest number of western series back-to-back-to-back), the TV tuner pretty much stayed at that channel all day. At our house, we must have switched once. I remember Dave Garroway and NBC’s Today in the morning and Walter Cronkite and the CBS Evening News in the evening.
  • Before I left Creighton for South Dakota State after one year, we used to listen to Nebraska football games over the radio on Saturdays. Even in that day, Cornhusker football was treated a little like something that descended from Mount Olympus. When I arrived on campus at Brookings, the football guys were pretty much students. I sat behind a tight end in German class and next to one of the offensive guards in Intro to Psych. They were pretty good guys, pretty serious students, at least in the opinion of a journalism major who wasn’t all that serious a student.
  • Sometimes I’ve thought that one of the drawbacks to living in Pierre was the distance from Brookings. That’s where our kids went to school (two finished there, one transferred to finish) and where our oldest three granddaughters went to school. My kid sister spent much of her teaching career there, and my daughter did, too. We’ve traveled Highway 14 a bazillion times to attend Hobo Day, birthdays, graduations and what not.

I once told our daughter I thought I could live in Brookings. She seemed to think three hours away was just about right for parent and adult child.

And, besides, the Big Sioux is OK, but it isn’t the Missouri.

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