So we celebrate Independence Day on Tuesday, even though history says the initial resolution to separate the colonies from Great Britain passed on July 2, 1776, the anniversary of which is Sunday. That's when the Continental Congress passed Richard Henry Lee's offering, "Resolved: That these united colonies are, and of right ought to be, free and independent states, that they are absolved from all allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the state of Great Britain is, and ought to be, totally dissolved."
One Friday night in the summer of 1963, I got to leave the field early enough to clean up, drive to Chamberlain, pick up Nancy and another couple and hurry to Gregory to dance to the music of Myron Lee and the Caddies. I've written about that a time or two. Myron remembers it because it was a Friday gig that allowed his band to earn some money on their way to a Saturday night show with the Everly Brothers in Spearfish. The Caddies were on the road a lot in those days.
A couple of years before my newspaper career ended, I spent three weeks typing into a laptop computer basic information from thousands of applications for concealed pistol permits on file in the South Dakota secretary of state's office. June of 2006, I think it was. The previous Legislature had passed a bill prohibiting access to applications for permits to carry concealed pistols. Up until then, the applications were open records. That July 1 when the law took effect, they would be closed to the public.
You're pretty old if you remember Johnny Weissmuller, but for a time I wanted to be just like him. He played Tarzan in several movies back in the 1930s or 1940s. He was the first actor I saw in a Tarzan film, so he'd have made an impression no matter what else he did. He was a rugged, muscled guy with good looks and dark hair, a little on the wild side like a guy who might have been raised by a family of apes. And you can trust me when I tell you Weissmuller had the best Tarzan yell of any actor who ever played the role.
I've been a father most of 50 years, but I've never thought I was that great at being a dad. I wonder if most fathers feel that way, at least some of the time. Maybe the world is divided into two kinds of fathers — those that are unsure if they're doing it right and those that believe they're killing it. On Father's Day weekend, it's something I wonder.
Years ago, in the Dark Ages of the internet, I became one of the last people I knew to have an email account. As a working newspaper reporter, I suppose I should have been more cutting edge. My thing with new technology was, if what I was familiar with worked, what was the point of changing it just to be new(er)?
None of the Associated Press reporters knew what we were driving and flying into on the humid, cloudy June 10 morning after the Rapid City flood 45 years ago. I drove the family station wagon through intermittent, pre-dawn rain from Chamberlain, where we'd been planning to spend a quiet weekend and where the AP overnight editor in Minneapolis tracked me down by phone. As I drove I-90 west toward the Black Hills, I pictured deep, standing flood waters. That's what I thought floods looked like on television.
When the speaker asked how many young people in the gymnasium at St. Joseph's Indian School knew someone who had used marijuana, a whole lot of kids raised their hands. As many or more responded the same way when he asked about alcohol use. The moment came during the school's annual sobriety day.
We didn't have a clue what we were doing, Nancy and I, that warm, windy June 3 morning in 1967 when we stood at the altar of the church in Chamberlain and exchanged marriage vows. We should have had at least some sort of clue. We were both through college, after all. We were 23 and 22 years old. We were relatively intelligent and responsible young adults. We were pretty sure we knew each other. We'd been dating for more than six years, ever since high school, just like the couples in the popular ballads of the time.
On Memorial Day weekend, newspaper columnists have this much in common with presidents and governors: They'd like to find something to say that justly honors those who died in service to their country. It's a terribly important annual event. Holiday is too trivial a word for an observance dedicated to men and women who fought and died in the armed forces. The Memorial Day Foundation says the observance, first called Decoration Day, originated after the Civil War 150 years ago at the order of former Union Army Maj. Gen. John A. Logan.