I have to tell you, I sometimes do a double-take when I see the name Joe Quintal in a Daily Republic headline. I have seen the name quite a bit in headlines over the past year or so as the community discussed improving the old facility. I know a bit about the current events issue, but when I see the name in the paper, the first thing I think of is, well, Joe Quintal. A.A. Joe Quintal was around long before there was a Joe Quintal Field. Wait, that's not quite right. The field was there, too, I guess.
After the grand march to open the Chamberlain High School prom last Saturday evening, a school official made an announcement that drew a round of applause. Every student who took part in the grand march, he said, had signed up for the post-prom party. The applause was for the students, but it also could have been for a group of parents. It takes a lot of parental involvement to put together a party that teenagers don't mind attending.
My wife, Nancy, has a birthday today. If things go as planned (and I'm writing this a couple of days in advance, so the whole world could change between now and when this shows up in The Daily Republic), we'll be in Chamberlain, celebrating a milestone birthday for Nancy and taking in some of the preliminary festivities for the high-school prom. Granddaughter Jordan is a senior, so that's a pretty big deal. The birthday is a pretty big deal, too.
I spent last Saturday in Brookings again, watching a granddaughter in oral interpretation competition. No, this isn't about the granddaughter, although Lara did really well in the humor division and although her Grandma Widman sent a message that I didn't give the child enough praise when I wrote about her reading an original story at the Great Plains Writers Conference last month. I'm in awe of the kids who compete in oral interp, I'll say that.
We moved to Pierre in 1969, and I've never thought seriously about living anyplace else since. Every now and then, though, I think it would be nice to be just a little closer to some of the events and programs offered in other communities in South Dakota. I had that thought a couple of weeks ago when Nancy and I traveled to Brookings to take in part of the Great Plains Writers' Conference on the campus at South Dakota State University. We also spent time with our daughter and son-in-law, our younger son, our college sophomore granddaughter and our middle-school granddaughter.
I don't know how the Easter egg hunt went at your place on Sunday, but around the Woster household, one 2-year-old girl set out looking for six dozen eggs. If that seems like unfair odds, well, don't feel too sorry for the eggs. She didn't mess them up too much. Actually, we had 76 eggs. Only 70 of them were real, live hard-boiled hen eggs, dyed and tricked out to look like a bunch of stained glass bulbs. We started with six dozen, but two were broken in the process of boiling and coloring.
I learned every word of Latin I know in the basement of a modest house on the banks of the Missouri River next to the Highway 16 bridge. That's where the Rev. T.J. McPhillips used to gather grade-school guys and turn them into altar boys. In those days, girls didn't have a chance to be altar boys, which is what everyone called us back in the 1950s. Father Mac sometimes called us servers, which has a sort of neutral ring to it, I suppose. Everyone else, including me and my classmates, used the term altar boys. In those days before Vatican II, the Catholic Mass was said in Latin.
Electronic storage has eliminated much of the need for clip files, but in my early days with The Associated Press, a couple of beat-up, battleship gray cabinets held decades of South Dakota's history as written by wire service reporters in Pierre and Sioux Falls. Each drawer of each cabinet was packed with manila file folders. Each folder was stuffed with yellowed newspaper clippings and faded-to-brown pages of teletype copy, each with some identifying date or name scrawled in one corner.
When I think of life on the farm, I tend almost as a reflex to think of a dry country. I recall years when the wheat was incredible and the corn stayed green well into the end of summer.
Health care is much in the news these days, and if you think I'm touching that one, you don't understand the Lyman County will to survive. However, this week marks 15 years since a guy named Lawrence Strawbridge cut me open and sliced out a cancerous prostate gland. The procedure was barbaric. It took several hours, I lost some blood (although not as much as some guys do when they have the same procedure) and the recovery process took weeks. I didn't have any other treatment, and I've had no other treatment or procedure in the 15 years since.