When Nancy and I had our first child, dads weren't allowed in the delivery room where all the action was taking place. That's hard to imagine these days. It looks to me like it's assumed that the dad will be right there through it all, sometimes with a camcorder and a really sensitive microphone to capture the cries of the laboring mother and the coo of the newborn baby. I generally haven't been all that excited about the opportunity to view the recording of someone's delivery-room excitement, but I can understand why the participants get so fired up about it.
My first visit to the South Dakota Capitol building in Pierre is memorable for a chance meeting with Gov. Sigurd Anderson. In truth, I have only a vague memory of the incident. I was 7 or 8 at the time and in the capital city because my cousin Leo invited me along when his folks made the trip to take in a summer rodeo in Fort Pierre. We had a picnic in the park -- Griffin Park, I assume -- and we visited the Capitol building briefly before heading to the rodeo arena across the river. As we walked up the front steps, a man in a suit came walking down.
Reading history in any form is a positive exercise, if for no other reason than to remind us of how far we've come in a relatively short period of time. I thought that as I read a summary of events from South Dakota history. It was a brief and incomplete history, consisting of just a few things each year that apparently grabbed the attention of the writer. I have no idea who prepared the summary. Perhaps he or she completely lacked formal training in the discipline.
Let me tell you about young people. They are different from you and me. They are, that is, if -- like me -- you are old enough to receive the "AARP Bulletin." And, yes, I paraphrased the opening sentences from F. Scott Fitzgerald's rather more famous, "Let me tell you about the very rich. They are different from you and me." The rich are indeed different, from me, at least.
Flags of the United States of America waved in a light breeze from rows of poles that stretched from the Kennebec cemetery entrance down a gentle slope toward a creek bottom. It was mid-morning on Memorial Day. A color guard marched crisply across the cemetery to halt before a huge wreath. The grass of the cemetery and of the land that reached beyond it toward Interstate 90 was the color of emeralds, so rich under a partly cloudy sky that it hurt the eyes, and I squinted across the prairie.
It's no secret that my initial reaction to virtually any new bit of technology is negative. If you asked some members of my family, they'd say that's my initial reaction to anything new, period. I'm not sure that's true. I simply have a healthy skepticism about the value of certain new and improved gadgets and gismos. If a couple of tin cans and a string were good enough in the old neighborhood, why try something new? I can be dragged into the 21st century, but only if I'm shown the value (What's in it for me?) of whatever change is being made in the way we always did things.
It seems like forever ago when I stood at the curb on Sioux Avenue in Pierre in a crowd of people who were applauding National Guard men and women riding past on flatbed trailers. A local unit of Guard members had just returned from a tour of duty in Iraq, and the whole town turned out to welcome them home. The soldiers in that homecoming unit were the first from around Pierre to be called to duty overseas.
Neither of my parents had any formal training as weather spotters, but each could read an approaching storm through smell, sounds and a feeling in the bones. Back on the farm, being a self-taught meteorologist was as critically important as knowing how to pull a calf or can a crop of beans. Where we lived, WNAX in Yankton provided most of the weather reports. They did a fine job, an essential job, since they were the one source we could reach most days.
When last we left the granddaughter, she was crying softly into my shoulder after the last volleyball match of her high school career had ended in a loss. I was telling her how proud I am to be her grandpa, unable to think of anything more profound or comforting than that to offer a 17-year-old who had just finished the last point in the last match of a sport she loved. I imagine the scene was repeated in gymnasiums and on athletic fields all across South Dakota last autumn after the fall sports seasons came to an end -- young women and men being hugged by their parents and grandparents as t
Well, I just did my annual health assessment and found out I am overweight. I kind of figured I would be when I filled in the height and weight numbers on the computer screen. Even so, it was a bit of a shock to finish the assessment, click the button and get back an instant response telling me to lose eight or 10 pounds.