- Member for
- 1 year 8 months
I don't remember exactly when my dad gave up cigarettes, but I clearly recall how he needed one or two in the evening when he was still smoking. I don't think I ever saw my dad smoke during the work day on the farm. That made sense. Too many fields and pastures and tinder-dry sheds and barns could be lost in short order -- shoot, if it were really a dry year, a roaring prairie fire could ignite if a burning cigarette were tossed away or an ember fell in the wrong place.
I haven’t been to Wessington Springs since the tornado hit the town on June 18, but I grew up knowing the place and I’m terribly saddened at the suffering and...
As Father's Day wound toward evening on Sunday and the house quieted with the company gone, it occurred to me that people don't very often talk about one of the biggest reasons a lot of us manage to be the kind of fathers who praise our kids. We were clueless a lot. We didn't know until years later what those really good, really well-behaved kids were sometimes doing that, had we known, would have either killed us with worry or driven us nuts with rage. Sometimes if you're a father, you need to know the less, um, positive things your kids do.
I spent some time this past weekend considering what I might do if and when I retire. What? No, I'm not necessarily there yet. At 70, though, I'm getting closer. I saw a clip on television awhile back that said successful retirement means starting the planning process several years ahead. I thought at first the clip referred to financial planning (way too late for me on that one) but they were talking more about, you know, planning ahead to be emotionally prepared to retire. Well, I figured I needed some expert advice, so I went to the modern oracle.
Last weekend as Nancy and I walked on a bike trail that meanders along the Missouri River shore here in Pierre, I idly noted the gray-white markings on the trunks of trees in the parks where we strolled. The markings, of course, are left from the great flood of 2011. Hard to imagine it has been three years since the water stood two, three and four feet high on the trunks of the cottonwood trees. Hard to imagine the path where we walked was covered by flood waters.
This Friday, it will be 70 years since D-Day. Well, of course. I'm 70, and I was born just a few months before D-Day. D-Day, as every American must know, refers to the Allied military invasion across the Channel and up the beaches of France to carry the fight to the German army. It marked the start of the deciding battles and military campaigns that ended World War II in the European Theater. Most of the military personnel who were involved in the Normandy landing are gone. Only a handful of the longest-lived among them remain alive.
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.
The Grateful Dead were singing about truckin' when they did the line, "Together, more or less in line,'' but they could have been talking about the way six old friends kayak the Missouri River. When I say six old friends, I'm talking about Nancy and me and two couples who are some of the people we've known longest and best in our 45 years in Pierre. When I say old, yeah, I guess I mean in terms of age, but I mean much more than that. The six of us are pretty old by most standards. Nancy is the youngest of us. She was born just a bit before World War II ended. Virge is the oldest of us.
My granddaughter Lara has been in chorus all through high school, but never, not once, has she tried to be front and center on stage at any concert Nancy and I have attended. The other evening we made the road trip for the last vocal concert of this granddaughter's high-school career. Tomorrow, she will be among the Brookings High School Class of 2014. Not so long after that, she'll be college bound. So, this recent pop concert was another in a string of those "lasts'' for this senior, for her classmates and for all of their parents, grandparents, other relatives and friends.
When Nancy and I were first married, we had little extra spending money, and we purchased several household items with S&H Green Stamps. I read a bit of S&H history that says the 1960s were the hey-day of the company's success. Nancy and I weren't the sole reason, but we contributed as often as we could. My all-time favorite Green Stamp purchase was a Kennedy-style rocking chair. It was black with a colorful design running along the back rest.