Dean Byrnes, the last original member of the all-Lakota rock and roll band, "The Byrnes Boys,'' died recently at age 76. He and his two big brothers, who formed the band in the mid-1950s, were inducted into the South Dakota Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2009. They were in the Hall's first class of inductees, along with Bobby Vee, Myron Lee and the Caddies and Sherwin Linton. Dean, who had just finished eighth grade when he started playing drums in the band, was the only one of the three brothers still alive to receive the honor nine years ago.
I didn't mind when Walter Cronkite choked up on the air on Nov. 22, 1963, as he announced that President Kennedy had died in Dallas. It surprised me, because Cronkite never showed emotion. News anchors simply didn't. But the Kennedy assassination wasn't just any story. Across America, people were showing raw, honest emotion that day and in the dark days after. The nation's Uncle Walter could be forgiven for letting his emotions show, too, for a few moments.
I didn't hear anyone at the Grammy awards mention Buddy Holly, but I thought about the Texas singer and songwriter during a segment of the show that honored two other pioneers of rock and roll.
As the final buzzer sounded during one regular season basketball game my senior year at Chamberlain High, a teammate lobbed the ball high into the air to celebrate the victory. I'm pretty sure forward Roger Miller was the teammate. We'd just beaten Burke in their gym and he was happy. That celebratory lob of the basketball was remarkable for a couple of reasons.
When the latest winter storm on Monday closed down the university campus in Vermillion, it reminded me that I enjoyed just one snow day during my entire higher-education career in Brookings.
I'm a Chicago Bears fan, and I have to tell you, I feel lonely these days. Newspapers, TV and social media sites are full of stories about the upstart Minnesota Vikings. Seems like everyone I meet is a Vikings fan. I call them upstarts because they weren't in the league when I started rooting for the Bears back in Chamberlain in the 1950s. The Vikings didn't start playing professional football until 1961.
One of the more bizarre images from the weekend's false alarm about a missile attack on Hawaii was the news clip of a guy popping a manhole cover to find shelter in the sewer. After it became clear the alert was a mistake, I was struck by how many island residents flat-out hadn't had a clue what to do. I saw the clip of a guy lowering a kid into a manhole. Other people ran madly down the streets as if the bulls were behind them in the annual running at Pamplona. Well, what do you do for 40 minutes before an all-clear message?
Anyone who knows me at all well will tell you I'm not a picky eater. If it's food, I'll eat. You won't hear me saying things like, "Ooh, that has onions.'' "Oh, no, I don't eat mushrooms.'' "I hate peas.'' "Wait. Is that iceberg lettuce?" That isn't me, especially not if someone else has prepared the food. Go to the trouble of making a meal so I don't go hungry, and I'll eat what's on my plate. That's how I was raised.
Time was, South Dakota asked its citizens to wander through their homes and garages once a year and make a list of their personal property.
For Christmas, we received a little saucer-shaped robot that vacuums the floors all by itself, and I find I'm having adjustment issues. We, Nancy and I, aren't people who surround ourselves with "smart'' devices. The vacuum cleaner is an unusual addition to the home in that regard. I know some folks load up on smart devices. A year ago, I wrote a package of stories about the future of smart homes for the rural electric associations, and I was amazed at how many devices can be controlled over the internet, remotely, from a phone.