When I came down with a bad case of croup as a kid, my mom built a tent in the living room and made me lie inside on a blanket next to a gurgling, bubbling steamer for hours and hours. I thought of that home remedy as I contemplated the approach of Mother's Day. I did a search for "croup,'' because it occurred to me that I had never questioned whether that was a real ailment or the term my mom invented. I was pleasantly surprised to discover, through a Mayo Clinic site, that croup is a real thing, an infection of the upper airways, usually in children.
When my dad died in the Chamberlain hospital in the summer of 1968, the only person in the room with him was Nancy. My mom and some of my siblings had been there but had stepped away. I was outside in the hallway, trying to work up the courage to return to the overheated room where the shell of the strongest man I'd ever known lay dying of cancer. Nancy, my spouse of just one year, was with Henry Woster in his last moments.
I've had a long, rewarding career as a newspaper reporter, but there was a time I considered going into the management, even ownership, side of the business. That was back in college, when 20-year-olds are free to dream big and aren't afraid to share their dreams with good friends. My friend was a Lake Preston kid named Curt. We took journalism courses together at South Dakota State.
There was a time, back in my younger days as I learned some of the finer points of farm labor, when I thought a section line was just one more place where I could get a pickup or grain truck stuck in mud up to its axles. This time of year on the farm, if spring rains come, at least, a guy starts remembering the mud holes and mishaps. I could get a vehicle stuck in fields, pastures and barnyards anytime there was standing water. Section lines were just another tool in my toolbox, you might say.
When I heard the other day that Amazon wants to deliver packages to the trunks of cars, I figured it was some sort of joke from one of those satire sites that have sprung up on the internet. Turns out, it's true. A person shouldn't laugh at wild ideas these days, especially not if some sort of technology is involved. I used to hear cautious people say, "Just because we can do it doesn't mean we should do it.'' When it comes to using technology in new ways, the saying apparently is, "If it's possible to do it, you bet we're going to do it.''
It isn't a big deal when compared to world problems, but when you're playing a dance job and your drummer looks lost in a fog when he's supposed to be getting ready to chime in with some harmony, it can make you just a little uneasy.
If you ever see an elderly man standing on a porch waving a Barbie doll around, here's a tip: It's almost certain that a granddaughter is involved somewhere.
A quarter of a century later, I can hear the sizzle of hamburger in the skillet on the stove and smell the seasoning I'd added to the browning meat I planned to mix with a box of macaroni Hamburger Helper
South of Thedford on U. S. Highway 83 in Nebraska, the road tops a rise and runs down a long hill and across the Dismal River. Years ago, the first time we traveled from Pierre to Denver on Highway 83, I laughed at the name. I thought of a line from Linus in the holiday TV classic "A Charlie Brown Christmas.'' When Charlie Brown chooses a small, scraggly tree and gets laughed out of the auditorium by the rest of the gang, Linus looks at the tree and says, "I never thought it was such a bad little tree. It's not bad at all, really.''
For all of my years as a newspaper reporter, I believed almost every record, memo, phone log and scribble on a piece of note paper in any government office should be open to the public.