I'd heard of Russell Means, of course, before the spring of 1972 when I first saw him speak at a public meeting in Billy Mills Hall in Pine Ridge. By that time, the American public was becoming aware of Means, Dennis Banks, the Bellecourt brothers -- Vernon and Clyde -- and the American Indian Movement.
Finally out raking leaves, twigs and small branches from last week's major-league wind storm on Sunday afternoon, I had more time to think about former Sen.
Booker T and the MGs had a hit in October of 1962, a song called "Green Onions." It received huge air play on KOIL Radio in Omaha that fall, sharing the air with "Sherry" by the Four Seasons, "Do You Love Me" by the Contours and "Surfin' Safari" by the Beach Boys. A popular DJ -- Sandy Jackson, I think was the guy's name -- drew listeners from across the Missouri Valley region. If a song was on his show, it was all over Omaha, Council Bluffs and the heartland of the country.
Back in high school, I took a series of tests that resulted in the guidance counselor telling me I'd make a good doctor. Well, as anyone who knows me can confirm, that was never in the cards. I grow weak at the sight of blood, and even the most casual of medical doctors likely sees blood at some point. In college, I took a series of tests at Creighton University that seemed to be intended to measure my emotional well-being.
Three things I remember most about my year at Creighton University: the library, the observatory and the administration building. Well, sure, also crawling out of bed at 4:10 a.m., pulling on an overcoat and stumbling across the street from Wareham Hall to St. John's Chapel for 4:15 Mass on Sunday mornings. Hard to forget something like that. Father Renard often said the 4:15 Mass, and it took him about 20 minutes, opening prayer to final blessing, all in Latin in those days before Vatican II.
Carv Thompson only served four years in the South Dakota House of Representatives, but it seems much, much longer than that to me. Perhaps that's because we were both relatively young then. All the world was new and anything was possible. He was in his first term, a druggist from Faith with curly dark hair and an unlined face, when I showed up in Pierre to cover the Legislature. He probably would have been re-elected many times to the House had he not chosen to run for governor in 1972. He was popular back home.
I suppose it might seem somewhat out of the comfort zone for an old, retired newspaper guy, but there I was at the South Dakota Festival of Books, sitting in the audience listening to a presentation called "You Go, Girl! Writing Strong Female Characters." The festival gives attendees eight or 10 choices every hour on the hour, all day long. If there's a criticism, it's the one my friend Jill Callison voiced on Twitter or somewhere last Friday or Saturday. Jill writes features and columns and all sorts of other stories and essays for the Argus Leader.
Back at the end of spring in 1993, our older son Scott finished his graduate work at North Dakota State University, turned in his thesis, hopped in a GMC Jimmy with something more than 140,000 miles on the odometer and headed to California for a Grateful Dead concert. He followed the Dead more or less ("together, more or less in line," as the song says) across the southern border of the United States from California to Florida and up the Atlantic Coast to New Jersey, then across to the Midwest with a final concert somewhere in Indiana.
I read in one of these online news services recently that more than 5 million copies of the new iPhone 5 by Apple sold in three days, and sales might have been even higher except that the product violated a basic principle of warfare -- never outrun your supply line. That's the principle I learned in ROTC back on campus, anyway. The instructor was a grizzled Army noncom. It never occurred to me to think that he was stating anything but the truth. I didn't have quite the same confidence in the online news service where I read the story about the iPhone 5.
I talked somewhere recently about stopping at a roadside cider stand in some small town between Sioux City and Omaha on my first trip to Creighton University as a freshman. My dad was driving me and my big sister to college. There are many things I've forgotten about that trip, but I still remember the smell of the cherry cider and the coolness of the glass of the gallon jug.