It has been seven months since the medical professionals at Sanford diagnosed my youngest granddaughter, Sage, with Type One Diabetes. Dreadful as it is, the disease hasn't slowed her a bit. She turns 2 on Monday, and if ever a child was the epitome of what the advice-to-parents books say about 2-year-olds, Sage is that child. She talks faster than Usain Bolt runs, and he's a world record holder. She laughs at herself and everyone around her.
One of the first people I met when I transferred from Creighton University to South Dakota State College in the fall of 1963 was a Hermosa kid named John Meiners. John had just transferred, also. He'd spent two years at the School of Mines and Technology before he decided he had no interest in becoming an engineer. We were thrown together on the fourth floor in Brown Hall, and we became fast friends. After college, John joined the Army, became a Ranger and did a tour in Vietnam before making a career for himself in sales and investments in Idaho.
One thing I miss about not being a newspaper reporter at the Legislature is the hoopla that surrounds Valentine's Day. For as long as I can remember, when I'd report for duty on Valentine's Day during a legislative session, one of the first people I'd see would be that big, old Cupid of a lobbyist, George Valentine. It became a tradition for him to roam the Capitol building on the morning of Valentine's Day (or the day before if, as is true this year, the actual date came on a weekend) carrying sheets of stick-um red hearts.
I'll admit that when the light-colored Ford sedan blew past me last Saturday evening halfway between Reliance and Kennebec on Interstate 90, I was tempted to kick the accelerator down a notch or two and follow the taillights through the fog. I was driving my pickup, heading home from a Chamberlain-Winner basketball doubleheader in which the granddaughters played the nightcap. I went to the armory with my son Scott about 3:30 that afternoon to watch a ninth-grade game.
Sometime in the mid-1970s, Captain 11 made a personal appearance at Burke Real Estate here in Pierre, and I took Jennifer and Scott down to see him in the lot across the street from the old junior high school. We can prove we did it, because somewhere in the albums in the basement, we have a photo of the Captain, the two kids and me, standing there mugging for the camera. Just before the shutter snapped, Captain 11 took his blue-and-yellow cap and placed it on my head. The kids thought that was pretty funny, and so did the Captain.
This is the anniversary of the day in 1959 when Buddy Holly died. He was 22, and had been a rock and roll superstar for a couple of years when the airplane carrying him and two other rock musicians from Clear Lake, Iowa, to Moorhead, Minn., crashed in a cornfield. Ritchie Valens was 17, while the singer they called the Big Bopper was 28. I was a couple of weeks past my 15th birthday, a freshman in high school, when the crash happened.
Back in the early days of television, when folks in Lyman County were proud to have a television tower right there on Medicine Butte, one of the most popular series was a show called "The Millionaire." It was pretty tame stuff compared to the reality shows, sports, talk shows and fishing channels, but in the 1950s, it was an enormously successful series that focused on human nature and invited viewers to consider for themselves how they would react if a stranger knocked on their door and gave them $1 million. "My name is Michael Anthony," is a line I'll remember as long as I live.
How a person arranges words is important, regardless of how informal the world of communications is becoming. I know I harp on this point, but: I was reading a story the other day about a study that concluded people who sit a lot, whether at work, at home or somewhere else, have greater chance of health risks that would lead them to an untimely death. What the headline in at least one publication said, though, was, "People who sit a lot have a greater chance of dying." Well, I thought, no they don't.
Art Jones was a Marshall County farmer whose last year in the South Dakota Senate coincided with my first year as a legislative reporter. Art was a Democrat and a staunch supporter of the rural electric cooperatives. I met him during that 1970 session, but I didn't have regular contact with him. My boss with The Associated Press, Jim Wilson, covered the Senate most days. That left me with the House of Representatives.
The whole social media thing has me pretty much baffled. I understand texting, I guess, although I tend to write too long and don't find the abbreviations that are in vogue to be particularly helpful. I work better on a full-sized, normal keyboard with normal functions and operations, but I can adapt -- if at a snail's pace -- to the three-and four-letter keys on my cell phone and the quirks of my Blackberry.