Way back when, my father-in-law's family bought him a snow blower. It was one of the first I'd ever seen, and Paul was more than a little pleased with the new-fangled piece of winter maintenance machinery. I can still picture him in a winter coat and porkpie hat, grinning like crazy as he putt-putted across the L-shaped sidewalk of his big corner lot. Snow sprayed in every direction, including all over his face and glasses, as he learned the tricks of directing the blowing snow harmlessly onto lawns and boulevards.
The other day, a co-worker asked a question about whether one project or another we had going would turn out to be a happy success. For no particular reason, I asked, "Can a girl from a small mining town in the West find happiness as the wife of a wealthy and titled Englishman?" The co-worker looked at me and edged toward the door. "What?" I asked. "You never listened to 'Our Gal Sunday' on the radio when you were a kid? You didn't wonder about the future of the orphan girl from Silver Creek, Colorado, who married Lord Henry Brinthrope?
The sign-in sheet at the back door, blue tiles tucked here and there and George Mickelson. Those are some of the things that caught the attention of the Brookings girls who visited the state Capitol building during the holiday weekend. Nancy and I took advantage of the long weekend to invite our teenage granddaughter to visit.
We traveled to Presho from Pierre the other evening for the hotly contested Chamberlain Cubs vs. Lyman Raiders girls' basketball game. The temperature outside was, well, frightful, and Highway 83 had a few small drifts decorating its shoulders.
From my earliest writing classes, I was told never to start a story with a question, but do you know how hard it is to find a good pair of saddle shoes these days? This may be the first time I've broken that no-question rule, but the issue demands special treatment. I'm talking saddle shoes here. I've been wearing saddle shoes for a long while. My birthday is today. I'm not going to say how old I am, but if I tell you I was born six months before Eisenhower directed the D-Day invasion, you can do the math.
If Elvis Presley were alive, he'd be 76 years old today. Instead, they say he died in 1977, barely into his 40s and missing a lot of years to play reunion tours and second-tier nightclubs and casinos. Now, not everyone accepts the death certificate. There are those who continue to believe the King is living today, lumberjacking in the woods of Wisconsin, catfish-farming along the river in Mississippi or skydiving over Las Vegas. I was one of the biggest Elvis fans you'll ever meet. What am I saying? I mean, I am one of the biggest Elvis fans you'll ever meet.
Being a political operative and being a fan of the Chicago Bears are a lot alike, when you think about it. In each case, one of the keys is making sure expectations are low enough to cause people to be astounded when you achieve a bit of success. Political operatives know if they rent a giant hall for a public meeting, with a tiled flood the size of the deck of an aircraft carrier, the rally will look like a flop if 80 people in folding chairs are scattered around the room.
Several years ago, another newspaper reporter remarked that then-Gov. George Mickelson liked to pound stakes into the ground to measure progress. The former governor didn't really pound stakes into the ground, but when he was looking ahead and gauging how far he had to go, he did like to look back now and then to see how far he had come. It occurred to me the other day that I sometimes do that with photographs. While making New Year's resolutions might help me see how far I need to travel to make my life better, the photographs are like stakes in the ground.
The Wounded Knee massacre happened 120 years ago today, a fact of South Dakota history that, for the life of me, I can't recall learning in school. I was pretty good with dates and places, but Dec. 29, 1890, had no significance for me until I was a grown man and five years into a career as a news reporter. I'm not saying the events of Wounded Knee went untaught. I'm just saying I can't remember learning them. I visited Wounded Knee in 1972 when I was sent to the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation because of protests over the death of a man named Raymond Yellow Thunder.
There was a time when my son, Andy, and I could recite most of the significant lines of dialogue from the George C. Scott version of the television special "A Christmas Carol." One exchange that made us chuckle, although sadly, was when Ebenezer Scrooge, leaving his office on Christmas Eve, encounters Tiny Tim, who tells Scrooge, "I'm waiting for my father." "Well, then, you'll have a very long wait, won't you?" Scrooge mutters. Many, many actors have played Scrooge in one production or another, including at least one Muppet. I suppose it's a matter of personal preference, but George C.