My big brother, Jim, knows cattle markets, and my little brother, Kevin, knows the outdoors. Me? I know what I know. I like to think of myself as pretty rational in most ways. I spent most of my life as a newspaper reporter covering state government, the state court system and the Legislature, and I developed a deep respect for facts. If I wanted to know how much was being spent on a program, I looked at the budget. If I wanted to know a Supreme Court decision, I read the published opinion. If I wanted to know who voted for a bill in the House or Senate, I read the journals.
Wow. Another Sturgis Motorcycle Rally is coming to an end, and again this year I failed to sneak out and get the tattoo I've been promising myself for ages. The rally officially started last Monday. The official end is tomorrow, Sunday, but if it's like most of the rallies I covered in my years as a newspaper reporter, the crowd has been easing since maybe sometime Wednesday or Thursday.
Driving along Sioux Avenue in Pierre the other evening on my way to fill the pickup with gasoline, I paused at a red light, looked to my left and realized the old city auditorium is gone. Don't go and alert the media. It's not a news flash. The old building has been gone for a while now, I think. I remember when city leaders talked about demolishing the place. I vaguely remember a story in the local paper about the start of the removal work. I've driven past the spot dozens of times, I'm sure, since the entire site has been nothing but a level square of dirt.
Long, long ago in what sometimes seems like another galaxy far away, people would go out camping for a weekend without television, cell phones and electricity. The moms and dads hurried home from work on Friday afternoon, moved the cold stuff from the refrigerator to ice chests, tossed the chests and a few other last-minute items into an already packed camper, hitched up the boat and headed for the river.
Watching the Fort Pierre Fire Department's fireworks display from a boat on the Missouri River is a marvelous way to end a Fourth of July. The light show more than offsets the tricky and sometimes dangerous business of getting back to the dock in the dark. This year the trip back was more intense than usual. First, I must say that the consensus in our boat -- adults, teens and kids -- was that the fireworks display was the best in all the years we've anchored off-shore near the rodeo grounds and watched starbursts light the sky almost directly over our heads.
So, I've been a little busy at work for a while, and it was only the other evening that I read through the sports pages of several recent papers and noticed that there's a World Cup soccer thing happening overseas somewhere. I don't always read much of the sports, but I like to read sports columns, and this guy Mike Wise from the Washington Post had a piece in The Daily Republic earlier this week. The headline caught my eye (and, yes, that's what a headline is supposed to so, so it worked nicely, and good job to the headline writer).
Growing up, it never occurred to me to wonder if my dad ever struggled to be a good father. It never crossed my mind that the big old farmer with the massive forearms and faded, striped overalls ever might have had his doubts about the way he was raising the three boys and two girls he and his bride brought into the world.
I struggle sometimes to locate the latch that pops the hood on my pickup, but there was a time when I was a bit of a mechanic. That time was decades ago, and mechanical things were more, well, mechanical. If something went wrong, you'd pop the hood, listen to the motor (or if the vehicle wouldn't start, you'd listen to the way the engine tried to turn over) and diagnose the most likely problems.
Sage has been dancing at powwows for a few years already, young as she is. Her dancing sometimes floats along somewhere above the surface of the drum beat and the songs of the singers. Sometimes it appears as if she and the music are part of the same spirit.
You know I don't obsess about age, but like almost anyone else, I like the idea of living a while longer. Every passing year make it less likely that I'll live "longer,'' but every passing year also means I have lived longer, so there's a balance somewhere. I work with mostly younger people. I suppose anyone who is 70 years old and still working a steady job works mostly with younger people. That's fine by me.