I began paying a small measure of attention to presidential politics in the summer of 1956, occasionally reading Daily Republic stories about the nominating conventions and the campaigns of incumbent Republican President Dwight Eisenhower and Democrat Adlai Stevenson.
I've heard folks say the math they studied in school has no relevance in real life. I'd probably say that about bookkeeping, even though I enjoyed the course.
When I began covering the South Dakota Legislature, each session ended with a short message from the governor. The Legislature would inform the governor they were ready to leave, and the governor would make an appearance in each chamber to tell them they'd done a good job — or not, sometimes.
You read a lot these days about mindfulness and meditation to calm the spirit, but an old-fashioned, home-made grandfather clock works, too. Nancy and I acquired just such a stress reliever last summer from her mother. It looks pretty good in the corner of our dining room. When the outside world grows quiet in the evening, the tick-tock of the old clock is a reassuring, soothing sound, and the steady back-and-forth swing of the pendulum is mesmerizing.
As the South Dakota Legislature ends and our attention turns to baseball's spring training, it should be noted that last Monday was the 44th anniversary of the day Henry Aaron signed a contract that made him the highest-paid player in Major League Baseball at $200,000 a year. Fans of one of the best natural hitters ever born will remark at the 44th anniversary. Aaron wore that number on his uniform with the Milwaukee (later Atlanta) Braves. The number also symbolized one of his nicknames — "Mr. Four-For-Four," a recognition of ability to hit a baseball consistently.
Every citizen has the constitutional right to petition government for redress of grievances, but not every citizen exercises that right the same way. I thought about that recently after supporters of a teacher-pay bill left the Capitol disappointed and angry when the House delayed the measure. Some days later, the bill passed and is in the Senate now.
As we talked with a granddaughter in Ireland last weekend, I thought of my old friend Pat McKeever and a light-hearted joke he used to tell. The granddaughter is a sophomore in college, currently studying in Ireland. She left in mid-January and will be back sometime in May. She uses some kind of computer program to talk with her parents each week. Last Saturday they were visiting here when they had the long-distance chat. Nancy and I sat in, staring at the screen of a smartphone and wishing we were a whole lot closer.
Now and then I try to be a social-media type of guru and offer my opinions on topics about which I know very little. Today: The Supreme Court of the United States and its current vacancy.
I have a granddaughter who turns 8 on Monday and a mother-in-law who turned 98 back in December. The granddaughter, Sage, is pumped about her birthday. She has had, or will have had by Monday, three or four separate parties to mark the occasion. She celebrated with a couple of her sisters and other relatives last weekend in Brookings. She has an event or two planned this weekend, and Monday we'll be driving out to Chamberlain for the actual day. (Yes, we were in Brookings, too. Grandma Nancy doesn't like to miss much. Truth to tell, I don't either when it comes to grandkids.)
Moving to Division One in athletics changed many things at South Dakota State, but the quality of the northwest wind that hammers the campus in winter is the same as ever. I learned that again during a family gathering back at the old school last weekend. No matter how many buildings are constructed, no matter how high or broad they stand, the winter wind finds a way to blast across campus. I doubt a wall of Donald Trump/Mexican border proportions would block that wind, unchanged since my Division Two undergraduate days half a century ago.