This is the day our first child was born, a daughter, back when we lived in Sioux Falls in the shadow of McKennan Hospital. I used to write columns about our daughter's birthday, not every year, but sometimes on milestone years, you know? I suppose if I were being brutally honest, I'd have to admit I mentioned it often enough that she and her friends developed a fear that I might still be writing about her birthday when she was 40, or 60 or 80. Come on. That would be silly. To be clear, this isn't an essay on my child's birthday.
Many years ago, I sometimes swapped stories with another editor in the quiet, early-morning newsroom while we ran wire-service copy through a machine that turned a string of yellow perforated tape into news columns that could be pasted onto a page. It was repetitive work, and we had time to talk over the world's problems. A recurring conversation I recall well involved what the other editor saw as a growing disrespect for elected officials.
Every so often, it hits me that I'm growing older. You're shocked, I know. Me, too. Much of the time, I'm neither young nor old. Now and then, though, I do the math, and, goodness gracious, I've been around a long time. I guess I should blame Howard Elrod back in Chamberlain High School. He made sure I learned math, and advanced math and algebra and geometry. I never forgot that stuff. I've thought a bit more often about aging lately because I can look back half a century, 50 years, to the end of high school and the beginning of college.
Most of the family gathered in Denver for the Thanksgiving holiday, and I came away from the experience with many impressions -- some new, some reinforced versions of impressions I formed on previous trips. The family gathering was incomplete without the Brookings trio. They spent their Thanksgiving in Mitchell.
If you're reading this, it's Wednesday morning and the world didn't come to an end last night. You probably weren't even considering that possibility, perhaps waiting until the December date when the Mayans (or at least a movie about their calendar) said the world would end. Me, I was a little jittery all Tuesday evening. It was well into the night before I stopped tossing and drifted off to sleep. (Really? No, not really. I'm writing this late on Tuesday.
Time was I wrote sports for a living. That was decades ago, in the age of manual typewriters, three-carbon copy books, hot lead and proofreading correction lines upside-down and backwards in the back shop just before the final Sunday sports page went over for good. Even so, I was pretty good at it, and I'm diving back into sports writing just long enough to join the thousands of folks who are commenting on the resumption of the State-U football series. South Dakota State University, for those of you who only landed here last week from Mars, hosts the University of South Dakota i
I took in the latest 007 ("Bond. James Bond.") flick at a Saturday matinee in Pierre during the weekend, and when we walked out of the theater, we stepped into winter. I'll get to winter in a moment, but a person can't mention 007 without fleshing out that topic just a bit. Our Brookings granddaughter and her parents were in town for part of the Veterans Day weekend. The granddaughter is beginning to like some Bond stories and movies, and it's always a treat to be able to enjoy a live movie with her.
I was rummaging through a magazine rack in the living room the other day when I happened upon a most amazing book, one I'd forgotten I possessed. The book is an over-sized soft-cover publication titled "South Dakotans in Vietnam.'' The one I have contained oral histories of that war by some of the Pierre-area men and women who served their tours in Southeast Asia.
Many years ago when I had younger friends, Nancy and I would join them on weekends like this one to search for firewood in the Missouri River breaks above Oahe Dam. We were three couples, each with a fireplace and a chainsaw. The fall firewood hunt had its practical side because of the fireplaces. You need wood to keep one going, and every member of our three-couple group was way too cheap to consider buying wood. Wait. Cheap may be too harsh a word. Perhaps we were simply frugal. We were children of the 1940s and 1950s, you know.
Mother Nature can be so cruel. Not that long ago, we had winds that howled like our old Labrador when he picked up a snoutful of porcupine quills. Not that long ago, we had a few nights of terribly unseasonably chilly weather. So, what's the forecast for Halloween? Well, out here where I live, The Weather Channel says the daytime high is supposed to be 66 degrees and the evening low might be high 30s. The wind is forecast at the moment at about 18 mph, so that's promising. The temperature, though, offers no relief at all. Relief from what, you ask?