As summer heats up and things start drying out west of the Missouri River, I recall how hard my dad used to try to grow trees back on the farm. He used to dig up small cottonwood trees that grew down by the stock pond, carry them up to the farm yard and plant them in places where, in 20 years or so, they'd provide cooling shade to the south and west sides of the house. Most of them didn't make it 20 years, in spite of the fact that he'd haul water, bucket after bucket, from the tank down by the barn.
When I first heard about drone-grabbing eagles, I got excited, before I realized I wasn't thinking about the welfare of the eagles. A bird has feelings, too, and I forgot that at first when I heard about the police force in the Netherlands that uses eagles to swoop out of the sky and capture drones. No, I was thinking, "What a great idea. Grab those things, throw them to earth and watch them crash and burn.''
The first time I heard the following joke, I laughed, but not because it's the least bit funny. Question: How many Vietnam vets does it take to change a light bulb? Answer: I don't know. I wasn't there. I repeat the joke at the beginning of this Memorial Day weekend with deepest respect for the men and women who were there and who do know. Vietnam was my generation's war. I wasn't there, though, so I don't know.
Five years ago on this date, Gov. Dennis Daugaard activated the state Emergency Operations Center in response to what became a summer of record flows on the Missouri River. May 25 fell on a Wednesday in 2011, as it does this year. I worked in public information for the Department of Public Safety at the time, a job I'd taken after I left the newspaper. With a dozen different agencies in DPS, the work was varied and interesting.
We spent most of a week in the Denver area recently, and I didn't catch a glimpse of a single mountain, majestic or otherwise. I don't travel much, at least not beyond the borders of South Dakota. The rare trips to places like Minneapolis or Denver, then, are opportunities for me to remember why I don't travel much to the bigger cities. The traffic is seriously wacky.
Malia Obama, the elder daughter of the president, has been accepted at Harvard University and plans to take a “gap year” before enrolling for college. Cool, I guess. I’d never...
I rarely offer baseball advice, but several friends are fans of the Minnesota Twins, and they seem unhappy with their chosen team's performance early in this season. I analyzed the Twins' play to date, and I believe I've hit on a key factor underlying the current — let's be honest, less than stellar — record. I'll probably send the findings to Manager Paul Molitor. He's a former superstar for the Milwaukee Brewers. That's my team, so I'm pretty sure I'll have some credibility.
National Nurses Week ends tomorrow, so I'm almost too late to say something that will be too little. That's appropriate, I suppose. Nurses rarely get the recognition they receive at the moment they're doing their best life-saving work. I should have written this last Friday, which was the actual National Nurses Day. I'm getting in just under the wire. Nurses Week ends Thursday, so it's almost too late.
My mom awoke from a nap back on the farm many years ago, looked around for her youngest child and then ran outside and yelled down toward the barnyard, "California.'' Well, the kid's name was Kevin, so the sound of the first letter is the same, though the letters are not. Hooked on phonics? I'm not sure where the little guy was at the time. I'm guessing if he was within hearing distance, he wondered what in the world had gotten into his mother to be hollering the name of a West Coast state on a warm summer afternoon in the middle of the South Dakota prairie.
Kathy Mattea did a touching song some years back about couples and aging. "Where've You Been'' is the story of Claire and Edwin and their lifetime together. Midway through the song, Mattea sings, "They'd never spent a night apart. For 60 years she heard him snore. Now they're in a hospital in separate beds on different floors.''