It was about this time of year back in 1967 when my best friend, Mike, used my newspaper camera to take a picture of me, Nancy and our new baby girl. It's a simple black-and-white snapshot; a sleeping infant wrapped in a blanket and nestled in the arms of a terribly young-looking guy who is grinning as happily as is the long-haired, dark-eyed young woman sitting close on the sofa. It's a favorite among the oodles of family pictures in albums and boxes in our closets and garage shelves.
I'm one of those people who thinks of a good answer about an hour after a question is asked. I answer when asked, of course. It wouldn't be polite to do otherwise, and I'm nothing if not a people pleaser. Then I spend the rest of the day or week or month thinking of other, better answers, ones I should have given. Yes, I'm one of those people. You must have one or two among your friends.
Heroes walked the land when I was growing up, and John Glenn moved onto my heroes' list in the winter of 1962 when he orbited the earth in an American space capsule. My list of heroes changed from time to time, but it usually included the Olympic decathlon winner, a couple of Boston Celtics and Audie Murphy and Jimmy Doolittle, both for their courage and fearlessness in World War II. Astronauts joined the list after the Soviet-American space race heated up in the late 1950s. Glenn rocketed to the top spot on the list when he made his successful flight around the earth.
When South Dakota dedicated its memorial to the men and women who served in the military during World War II, the nation had just been attacked by terrorists.
On this date, the anniversary of my dad's birthday, I always remember the one time he almost spanked me. He'd driven 8 miles from the farm to Reliance to pick us up from school, me, my big brother and sister and three or four other farm kids whose homes were along the way toward our farm. The rule was: When school ends, be at the front steps. This day I went with a classmate to play in the lumber yard. First-graders do that.
I grew up reading the newspaper, usually the Daily Republic. When we lived on the farm, we received the mail edition a day late at the beat-up tin mailbox a mile up the road from the house. I was maybe 10 years old when I first started looking through the newspaper, mostly for a few baseball or basketball scores and the cartoons. We didn't have a television yet, so the news came from WNAX radio, gossip around the Co-op or the newspaper.
When I worked for The Associated Press years ago, I once bought a freelance photographer's print of a bunch of western hats hanging on hooks outside a Capitol committee room.
Until last week, I was unaware that a well-known turkey producer operates a 24-7 texting help line for people trying to cook a turkey. I tumbled to that information as I cruised around the Internet looking for non-political stories. As with any cruise (as if I've been on a cruise) I paused briefly at several information islands to meet the locals and sample the wares. That's when I hit this bit: "After years of offering help and advice through their Turkey Talk-Line, this year Butterball is making Thanksgiving support available through text."
This time of year when I'm not thinking ahead to Thanksgiving, I sometimes think back to the fall of 1969 when we left Sioux Falls and made our home in Pierre. Even though we planned to stay only year or two before we returned to a big city somewhere else in the Midwest, we ended up finding a pretty decent community and a marvelous lifestyle out here in the middle. Some say the middle of nowhere. I prefer to say the middle of everywhere.
Just when I thought political campaign news coverage and commentary would never end, the nation voted, we chose a new president and attention locally turned to the weather. For those of you new to South Dakota and unfamiliar with how things around here, the weather forecast says colder in the next couple of days, maybe rain, maybe snow. Oh, and the changing weather system will be accompanied by high winds. November in South Dakota and cold, rain, snow, wind? I did not see that coming.