On this date, the anniversary of my dad's birthday, I always remember the one time he almost spanked me. He'd driven 8 miles from the farm to Reliance to pick us up from school, me, my big brother and sister and three or four other farm kids whose homes were along the way toward our farm. The rule was: When school ends, be at the front steps. This day I went with a classmate to play in the lumber yard. First-graders do that.
I grew up reading the newspaper, usually the Daily Republic. When we lived on the farm, we received the mail edition a day late at the beat-up tin mailbox a mile up the road from the house. I was maybe 10 years old when I first started looking through the newspaper, mostly for a few baseball or basketball scores and the cartoons. We didn't have a television yet, so the news came from WNAX radio, gossip around the Co-op or the newspaper.
When I worked for The Associated Press years ago, I once bought a freelance photographer's print of a bunch of western hats hanging on hooks outside a Capitol committee room.
Until last week, I was unaware that a well-known turkey producer operates a 24-7 texting help line for people trying to cook a turkey. I tumbled to that information as I cruised around the Internet looking for non-political stories. As with any cruise (as if I've been on a cruise) I paused briefly at several information islands to meet the locals and sample the wares. That's when I hit this bit: "After years of offering help and advice through their Turkey Talk-Line, this year Butterball is making Thanksgiving support available through text."
This time of year when I'm not thinking ahead to Thanksgiving, I sometimes think back to the fall of 1969 when we left Sioux Falls and made our home in Pierre. Even though we planned to stay only year or two before we returned to a big city somewhere else in the Midwest, we ended up finding a pretty decent community and a marvelous lifestyle out here in the middle. Some say the middle of nowhere. I prefer to say the middle of everywhere.
Just when I thought political campaign news coverage and commentary would never end, the nation voted, we chose a new president and attention locally turned to the weather. For those of you new to South Dakota and unfamiliar with how things around here, the weather forecast says colder in the next couple of days, maybe rain, maybe snow. Oh, and the changing weather system will be accompanied by high winds. November in South Dakota and cold, rain, snow, wind? I did not see that coming.
If you leave Interstate 90 at the Pukwana exit and travel south on Highway 50 about seven miles, you'll see off to your left and a mile down a section line a small country church. St. Procopius Church, I think it's called. It's an old-style church — long and narrow, with a steeple rising above the front door. It rest on a modest rise in the farmland. The old siding of the church has been replaced and the roof is metal, but the church carries a sense of dignity and timelessness, as if this place has always been right here and always will be right here.
Earlier this fall, a young man named Colin Kaepernick, a quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers professional football team, made news when he refused to stand for the National Anthem before his team's games.
We've reached the weekend before the nation's general election, but I expect the campaigning and shouting and social media cacophony and crush of TV political spots to remain in high gear right on into Tuesday.
The best part of Halloween this year came an hour or so after the last costumed kid rang our doorbell. That last kid was one of seven visitors we had the entire night. Big change from the days when we lived across from the governor's residence and entertained anywhere from 600 to more than 700 boys and girls every single Halloween, snow, wind, cold, rain or whatever else. We moved to a place in the north part of Fort Pierre a year ago, you know. While the mail carrier and the UPS and FedEx trucks still find us with commendable regularity, the