This time each year, when I walked from my newspaper bureau to the Post Office in Pierre, I'd encounter a pair of smiling women who would ask if I wished to buy a Buddy Poppy. Well, sure. Of course I would.
Here's a thought for Mother's Day: Moms can be terribly tenacious in caring for their young. Yeah, breaking news. I'll alert the media, right? OK, but for the past couple of weeks I've been fighting with a mother who wants a home for her children. Until I realized Mother's Day was upon us, I was thinking I might win. But you don't defeat a mom trying to take care of her kids. Here's the deal: Late one evening two or three weeks ago, we came home from a road trip. Once we'd gotten our luggage into the house and stowed away, I went to the front door to collect the mail.
Rocky Marciano retired from boxing when I was 12 years old. At 31, he said he wanted to spend more time with his family. Marciano retired undefeated in 49 heavyweight boxing matches. He won 43 of his matches by knockout.
Seriously, if Vern Gagne has gone to the Big Ring in the sky, the golden age of televised professional wrestling, or should I write "wrassling,'' is finally over. Well, it's been over for decades, I suppose. There is a thing called "WWE Raw'' that runs on Monday evenings in what used to be called prime time. I sometimes watch an old television rerun that airs ahead of "WWE Raw,'' so I see some promo clips for "RAW.
It has been more than 50 years since I ran the quarter-mile competitively, yet my pulse quickened when I read The Daily Republic's recent headline, "Schmidt has eyes set on 400 state record.'' I'm guessing my old nemesis from Kernel Country, Doug Metcalf, also felt a quickened pulse when he saw the headline and read the story of Freeman's senior sprinter, Brennan Schmidt, and his quest for a state record in the quarter-mile race. Doug and I ran the quarter-mile (440 yards back then, not 400 meters.
I have a friend who moved to South Dakota from another state, and he confessed to me recently that he spent most of his time here believing the shelterbelts were natural parts of the prairie. He did wonder sometimes, he said, how they could be in such straight lines and filled with different species of trees, but it didn't occur to him they weren't placed along the windward side of farm places by nature. He'd see significant stretches of empty prairie, nothing but wild grass or tilled cropland, and then he'd see a shelterbelt. That's just South Dakota, he figured.
Although I spent 40 years covering the South Dakota Legislature, I have only a handful of photographs that document the time. There weren't many cameras around during most of the legislative sessions I covered. I wouldn't be surprised to learn that every legislator today has a smartphone with camera capabilities. A legislator with a camera in the old days would have been a rarity. Lawmakers had to leave the chamber just to find a phone booth, for heaven's sake. A reporter with a camera was kind of a rarity then. Reporters reported. Photographers made pictures.
We didn't tune in the Super Bowl until the very end Sunday, but in just a few minutes of viewing, we saw the play that decided the thing. Nancy and I were reading, watching some re-runs, catching the news on other channels, generally oblivious to the fact that the most-watched program in television history was taking place. It took place for about nine or so hours, if you count in the five hours of scheduled pre-game stuff. I have no idea what they talked about in the pre-game for that long; maybe the air pressure in the footballs? Eventually, I flipped channels to see if the game was over.
When you think of good snow skiing, central South Dakota isn't the first place that pops into your head. The area isn't flat, not exactly. It's pretty rolling country, in fact, with dips and swells and gentle slopes and lakebeds and what we used to think of as hills when I was growing up out in the middle of that.
Most people, even some Minnesota Vikings fans, probably don't remember Carlester Crumpler. I didn't (in my defense, I've always been a Bears fan), not until our godson Tom sort of named one of his dance bands after the guy. Tom didn't use the actual name, instead choosing to call his group the Carluster Crumplebee Orchestra. He admits the name is a variation on Carlester Crumpler, who played tight end for the Vikings in 1999 and who had played for the Seattle Seahawks for four or five years before joining the Vikings. This isn't a piece about football, however.