Archive for June 2010

The Fragrance Of The Fourth

Posted: Monday, June 28, 2010 at 12:49 pm
By: Doug Lund
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I see that the fireworks stands are open for business again. It’s a pretty short season for those guys to sell their inventories and make a few bucks and I hope they have a bang up year but I’m afraid I won’t be one of their customers. I’ve already seen too much of my money go up in smoke on the stock market.   

As a kid, though, I couldn’t wait for this day so I could blow any money I could scrape together on firecrackers.. often by whining to my mother and making promises I wouldn’t keep.

firecracker zebra

I’d peddle my bike up to the Skelly station right across Highway 14 which had laid in a  nifty supply of Roman candles, fountains, rockets, smoke bombs, black snakes, sparklers, lady fingers and fire crackers; LOTS of firecrackers. I can still see them now; piles of colorful packages with bright labels from exotic mysterious China. They came in various sizes and lots of different brand names: Thunder Bomb, Red Devil, Zebra, Wolf Pack and, of course, the more reliable but also more expensive, Black Cats.

I think what I remember most about those days leading up to and including the 4th were the smells.

After the guy at Skelly’s put my purchases, which also included one box each of sparklers and black snakes into a brown paper bag along with a couple free punks, I got my first whiff of black powder compressed into each little tube.

“Don’t you be setting those off anywhere near the building,” the Skelly’s guy said, “This is a gas station. The whole place could go up.”

Mom gave me pretty much the same warning when I got home but I headed straight for the gas stove, turned on a burner and held a punk in the flame until wisps of smoke arose and the aroma of burnt cork filled the kitchen. A couple of quick blows on the end to make sure it was properly lit, then I grabbed my paper bag filled with explosives and out the front door to make some noise.

“You be careful,” mom said, “remember what happened to Denny.”

My older brother had tried to blow his fingers off by holding a Silver Salute too long. It went off about six inches from his hand which caused poor mom to nearly faint when he came home and she saw it wrapped in a blood soaked rag. He sill bears the scars of his foolish bravado.

I sat on the steps opening the first of four firecracker packs; carefully unwinding the strand that weaves around the fuses holding the whole bunch together. I grab one, set it on the sidewalk then touch the punk’s glowing tip to the fuse. Oh, the excitement when it ignites with a hissing sound then eats it’s way back to the business end of the explosive and BANG it  goes off with a report loud enough to draw the attention of neighbor kids who come running over to watch the show.

As my audience grows, I become braver with each firecracker until I hardly run away at all. But then, as quickly as it began, it’s over. All that remain are a few duds so I lay each cylinder flat on the cement, snap them in half until a little powder falls out and light the middle. Sometimes they ignite and twirl around like a runaway water hose and if you slam the heel of your shoe on them just right they still give off a little pop. Most of the time, though, it’s just a fizzle.

I once took one of those duds apart and was amazed to discover that the insides of firecrackers were made from shreds of Chinese newspapers. What an odd thing to see ..printing in a language that uses drawings instead of letters.

fireworks snakeI tried to keep the neighborhood kids interested by setting off a few black snakes that start out looking like a rabbit pellet but when extreme heat is applied will erupt into snaky coils of  carbon that emit a pungent burning tar-like odor. They also leave big black circles on the sidewalk which riled my mother too.

But after dark, I do remember her sitting on the front step watching with delight as my brothers and I lit sparkers that burned so brightly they left a trail of light when we’d swing them around making big circles or writing our names.

Funny, as I think about it now, she worried about firecrackers but didn’t bat an eye at our holding on to welding rods throwing a shower of red hot sparks inches from our noses.

Slowly But Surely Headin’ Home

Posted: Saturday, June 26, 2010 at 6:05 am
By: Doug Lund
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Shortcuts are sometimes too long.

I came as close as I have losing it on Friday all because of my own bone head decision to save some miles by taking a highway that angles from North Carolina to Dayton, Ohio instead of driving the interstate. The road turned out to be loaded with towns and stop lights..plus, in the few open spaces there were, the maximum speed limit was 55 miles an hour which I thought went out with Jimmy Carter. It was just agonizingly slow. West Virginia my be known for it’s coal mines and poverty but it’s some of the most beautiful country we’ve seen.

So, as I write this, we’re only in Richmond, Indiana with Sioux Falls still a distant point on the map.

I wrote in the comments of my last blog that the NASCAR Hall of Fame in Charlotte is really a neat place with interesting things to see and do even if you’re not a race fan. The whole exhibit is about speed..but getting your tickets for entrance into the hall, which just opened a few weeks ago, is anything but fast. Only one clerk behind the window while people stood waiting in the hot sun. The guy in front of me wanted 13 tickets but was informed that his credit card hadn’t cleared. So he fumbled around for cash as everybody sweating in line behind him was ready to pounce and kill.

I did drive one of the simulated race cars which was great fun and somehow managed to avoid a major crash while everyone around me was spinning out and slamming into the wall. I was pretty proud of my performance until I saw my lap speed was about a hundred miles an hour slower than the record.

We’re about to head for Chicagoland today and hope Big Red continues to run fine.

Oh, we ate last night at a place called “Pizza King”..same name as my favorite place in Brookings. It was fantastic! Saved some for a snack today as we motor toward home.

Charleston And Myrtle Beach

Posted: Thursday, June 24, 2010 at 5:22 am
By: Doug Lund
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Okay, when someone more knowledgeable than you about the South says, “June, July and August are not most ideal months to be visiting Dixie,” they speak the truth.

It was already 85 degrees at 8:30 Wednesday morning when we left the motel for our city tour of Charleston, South Carolina. I wised-up this time, though; booking our ride with Grey Line whose busses are air conditioned. 

charleston battery

 We had another very informed driver/narrator but she, like all native Charlestonians, still have a hard time accepting the fact that the South lost the Civil War. In fact, they insist on calling that conflict “The war between the states” or..in some extreme cases, “The war of Northern aggression.” Our lady driver bristled a bit when I asked her about it. “The term Civil War is a misnomer,” she explained. The South did not instigate a rebellion. Thirteen southern states in 1860-61 simply chose to secede from the Union and go their own way, like the thirteen colonies did when they seceded from Britain.” “Uhhh, okay..I didn’t mean to p**s you off,” I said.  “Oh, no..I enjoy setting the record straight,’ she replied. You can take the Rebel out of the fight but you can’t take the fight out of the Rebel.

After our hour and a half ride around town (which we all agreed wasn’t as impressive as Savannah) we climbed aboard a big boat for a tour of the Charleston Harbor that included close encounters with the beautiful new Cooper River bridge

Savannah also has a diamond design bridge like this. Very attractive!

Savannah also has a diamond design bridge like this. Very attractive!

 and, of course, the place where the Civil wa…ooops, war between the states, began: Fort Sumter.

charleston sumter

We had hoped to visit more of historic Charleston like the old market and a few churches but it was just too hot to be out walkin’ around so we departed for Myrtle Beach and the Atlantic Ocean. It’s only about a hundred miles but heavy traffic and lots of lights kept our pace slow which gave us plenty of time to find a hotel through our discount room rate coupon books which we picked up at the welcome center . Something with an ocean view would be nice. But each place we called was either full..too expensive or wouldn’t honor our coupons.

As we got closer to Myrtle Beach we began to realize that we should have done a lot more research. This is not the quaint community of 30 thousand people with lots of golf courses we had pictured.  Well, it is..but it’s also one big amusement park with giant water parks, roller coasters and go-cart tracks that attract waves of sun and fun seeking tourists in big SUV’s packed with kids.

If you like big crowds and billions of people, Myrtle Beach is the place for you!

If you like big crowds and billions of people, Myrtle Beach is the place for you!

The traffic might be compared to Manhattan during rush hour. We finally found a place to stay off the beaten path and, after a delicious dinner at a fantastic seafood restaurant last night, we decided to leave this congested corner of the Carolinas and head for Charlotte early to check out the new NASCAR museum and then point Big Red toward home.

I forgot to get Linda a card for our 26th anniversary..so I’m guessing it’s going to be cool enough in the car that I might not need to run the air conditioning.

Happy Anniversary, honey!

Savannah

Posted: Tuesday, June 22, 2010 at 5:58 am
By: Doug Lund
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Hey, Y’all from sunny Savannah, Georgia.

We arrived here after an uneventful five hour drive through canyons of South Carolina trees that tend to make wide-open-spaces-Midwesterners like us feel a little claustrophobic and pining for an occasional clearing to clear our heads and get our bearings.

It was sad to leave Lake Keowee and the home of my brother Tom and his wife Ilene; our most accommodating and generous hosts for the past four days. Memorable boat rides, marvelous meals and glorious golf in which I managed to actually tie Tom on his home course because he had an off day and I played out of my head until running out of gas from the heat on the back nine.

 

We’ve learned something from this trip that perhaps most of you travelers already knew:  stop at the welcome centers when you cross the border into another state. They not only give you a chance to stretch your legs and visit a rest room..but the staff is a wealth of information about what to see and do. But even more importantly, they have coupons for great deals on motels. So far, we’ve saved much more than whatever discounts we can claim through AARP, Priceline or my lame attempts at negotiating a cheaper room rate from stubborn motel desk clerks.

 

While in Savannah, I had hoped to dine at the restaurant of Food Network superstar, Paula Deen; a place called “Lady and Sons.”  They don’t take reservations, though, and none of us felt like joining the long line of sweaty people waiting to get in. 

Didn't see Paula or either of her "Sons."

Didn't see Paula or either of her "Sons."

 I’m sure the food is good and the experience would have been memorable but that’s too big a price to pay on a 95 degree evening. Instead, we tried a nearby Italian restaurant called (get this) “Corleone’s.” The food was good and the amounts were ample but I half expected a revenge minded  Michael Corleone to come in blasting away with a special untraceable  pistol prepared by Don Vito Corleone’s cappo Peter Clemenza  and left for Michael behind the restaurant’s old fashioned toilet by cappo, Sal Tessio. Too many Godfather references? Sorry.

savannah cotton warehouses

Despite another stifling day in the forecast, we’re heading downtown this morning to climb aboard an open air trolley for a tour of all the sites tourists come to Savannah for; the historic river district with it’s many old cotton warehouses and the beautiful neighborhoods filled with mansions from another era in which a privileged few made fortunes off the backs of an oppressed many.

Oh, and for those of you wondering, Big Red has kept her cool and performed admirably though these hot muggy conditions.

Tomorrow, it’s off to Charleston and our first chance to walk along the shores of the Atlantic Ocean…then to Myrtle Beach for golf  and on to Charlotte to visit the brand new Nascar Museum. Yes, our necks are getting redder from both exposure to the sun and our surroundings but we’ve all commented on how there really IS such a thing as Southern Hospitality. It’s fun to be called “hon, or sweety or darlin’ by people who work in restaurants, hotels and convenience stores…even  the guys.

Our Hostess On Injured Reserve

Posted: Saturday, June 19, 2010 at 8:32 am
By: Doug Lund
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Well, hopefully, the saga of the overheating Lincoln is finally over. My brother lined me up with a radiator specialist here in Seneca, S.C. and by the time we’d finished our golf game, the car was done.  The guy told me the cooling system was really in need of a thorough flushing which he did and, after a good test run in 91 degree heat, in stop and go traffic with the air on full blast,  big red now seems to be running as cool as my date at the junior/senior prom.

“What’s the damage?” I asked..fearing the next words I was about to hear.

“64 dollars and 32 cents, sir.”

I don’t know if he noticed my jaw drop but I’m sure it did since so many mechanics, with the exception of Denny and Joanie’s son in law,  have stuck it too me with ridiculously outrageous repair bills on that car over the last few months.  This news was like a breath of fresh air on a stifling hot South Carolina day. His jaw dropped a bit too after I handed him a few extra dollars. He’s not used to getting tips I guess but then he has no idea how happy he’s made four people with a lot of hot weather driving to do before pointing big red North.

Speaking of hot..it was not weather conducive to heavy set old guys golfing. Denny and my brother, Tom, did just fine but after drinking a gallon or more of water and not needing to pee once, I was ready for the round to be over.

In fact, I even passed on the opportunity to drive the boat for water skiing when we got home; preferring instead to take a welcome break from the sun and heat staying in the air conditioned house watching U.S. Open golfers on TV shivering in the chill of Pebble Beach, California in the U.S. Open.

I must have dozed off on the couch because an hour or so later, I was awakened by the voices outside the patio door and saw a strange sight; Denny, Joanie, Linda and Tom were carrying my sister-in-law, Ilene, cradled in a tarp up the hill from the lake.

Although an experienced skier, Ilene was trying out a new pair of skis and not comfortable at all with them. While crossing a wake, her legs went flying and she went down with an injury most commonly associated with professional football players: a pulled hamstring..diagnosed by Joanie, the nurse on board.

After a couple of pain pills and some time in bed, Ilene is upright again and able to hobble about but will have to take it easy for a while.

With a house full of company..more coming next week and a planned cruise ship vacation with her mom coming up soon, Ilene is remarkably calm. Her ability to take things in stride and make the best of any situation is a characteristic Linda and I have always admired.

I’ve been talked into taking the Jet Ski (oops that’s a name brand..make that “personal watercraft”) out  for a spin this afternoon. We’ll see if he has life jackets in size 2X.

Golf again on Sunday. Praying for a cold front to come through by then.

 Onward and upward!

Hot But Here

Posted: Thursday, June 17, 2010 at 2:53 pm
By: Doug Lund
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Update on the Lund vacation…day four.

22 miles from our destination and big red, fed up with the heat, decides to boil over in downtown Pickens, South Carolina. It’s 95 degrees and stop lights every 100 yards or so which the car dislikes and manifests that displeasure by leaving us stranded on a street corner with steam billowing out from under the hood. We waited around for an hour to let her cool down then felt brave enough to unscrew the coolant cap (De ja vu all over again.) No Mt. Vesuvius this time just a little poof of hot air. While Linda and I sat on a bench in the shade, Denny and Joanie walked to a quaint little hardware store and asked the owner if he might be able to provide a bucket of water. The man was the persona of Southern hospitality and before long we had big red running and cool again..at least until we got to Tom and Ilene’s neighborhood and the car decided to boil over again .04 miles from their house.

I have an appointment with the radiator shop tomorrow morning and hopefully they can fix this annoying problem so we can continue our vacation through the South hassle free. Of course it wouldn’t be a problem if the temperature and humidity were not both pushing 100.

But let’s see. It’s all worth it with a golf game in the morning and a back porch view like this.

south carolina trip 024

Ooops, gotta go. We’re going for a happy hour boat ride around Lake Keowee with snacks and cocktails.

In spite of the curves it throws our way…life is good.

More later.

Raindrops Keep Fallin’ On Our Heads

Posted: Wednesday, June 16, 2010 at 6:09 am
By: Doug Lund
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Glub, blub….

It’s not just Keloland dealing with torrential rains. We’ve been seeing the same guy with the long white beard  gathering up animals two by two all through Iowa, Missouri, Illinois and Kentucky as we continue our trek to the east coast.

There was a  break in the storms long enough for us to stop in Springfield, Illinois and spend some time going through  the Abraham Lincoln home where he and Mary Todd lived for 17 years before they moved to that bigger house in Washington, D.C. never to return except in a box. Speaking of which, Lincoln’s tomb is equally impressive.

We’re off to Lew-ah ville today to see where the thoroughbred horses run for the roses and sometimes die in the process. Denny and I wanted to tour the Louisville Slugger factory where they make the famous baseball bats..but that brought a rather indifferent response from the back seat so I guess we’ll press on arriving at our destination Thursday.

All diets are off as the four of us load up on snacks at most every gas stop and snarf them down like we were in the last days.  Have any of you tried the caramel Bugles? Oh, my gosh..that’s the greatest combination man has ever come up with using God’s creations of sugar and corn.

Haven’t have an internet connection since this morning and now there isn’t time to post any pictures but will later.  I’m sure you’re all anxious to see Mary Todd Lincoln’s actual indoor toilet.

Until then, keep your powder dry.

On The Road Again

Posted: Monday, June 14, 2010 at 7:58 am
By: Doug Lund
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And, they’re off!

Linda and I, along with our friends, Denny and Joanie, will say a little prayer then all climb aboard the big red Lincoln and head for a two week journey to the deep South; Charleston, South Carolina to be exact..with a stop for a long weekend at my brother’s house by the lake near Seneca, South Carolina.

In researching this trip, I can see why people are always confusing South and North Dakota because I’ve been doing it constantly with the two Carolinas.   Okay,quick,off the top of your head, in which Carolina is Charlotte located? How about Raleigh? How about Mayberry?

The four of us have been planning this  for several years, but got together again on Sunday just to go over any last minute changes in the route we’re going to take and what attractions we plan to visit.

Instead, though, Denny and I wound up spending most of the afternoon trying to program the new Tom Tom GPS gadget that our Arizona and California kids sent me for Father’s Day. We’re going to keep the Atlas handy just in case.

The four of us have traveled together lots of times but this will the longest trip: two weeks and over four thousand miles in close confinement. We’ve been giving each other occasional pep talks about our determination to be as good a friends after the trip as we are prior to departure.

For inspiration, I think back to the many vacations by car my mom and dad took with their good friends, Lawrence and Ethel Borsvold. We have hours of home movies from those adventures but the one that stands out is their long trek that took them to Mexico, California and Washington state in one fell swoop. They were gone so long that my brothers and I each grew a couple inches before they got home.

The movies show them crossing the borders of Texas and Mexico in late June with temperatures well into the 90’s traveling in the Folk’s 1953 Mercury without air conditioning. Dad and Lawrence, riding together up front, of course, in their long sleeve shirts, Mom and Ethel in the back seat wearing nice Sunday dresses and nylons.

I don’t know how many miles they racked up and how many flea bag motels they stayed in but when they finally got home, they were still as close as ever (Dad and Lawrence called each other Senor for the rest of their lives) and anxious to get the films developed so they could relive the experience all over again and again.

So, off we go in air conditioned comfort hoping big red (my car) holds together, all the places we stay have comfortable beds, flat screen TVs and coffee in the room.  

I won’t be taking any home movies..but I do have a digital camera and a blog..so I’ll let you know where we are and how we’re doing from time to time…unless we’re having a spat over where to stop, what to eat, temperature in the car, music on the radio…..etc etc etc.

I wonder if Denny and I will be calling each other Bubba when it’s over.

Will Somebody Answer The %$#@ Phone?

Posted: Friday, June 11, 2010 at 9:11 am
By: Doug Lund
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Went into panic mode this week when, while doing my usual rigorous daily exercise routine (on the couch surfing favorite websites) a strange but very official looking window popped up on my laptop. It warned that my computer was vulnerable to several viruses and advised me to click to scan.  Ah..but I was wise to this attempt at cyber sabotage because of a nasty experience last summer in which I received a similar warning window and foolishly clicked everything in site to get rid of it. But in doing so, I just opened the flood gates for every virus those evil scumbags, whose only life is to sit in their underpants in their mother’s basement before a big bank of computers, could conjure up.  It required major surgery on the hard drive to make right. Fortunately for me, Keloland TV’s brilliant I.T. guy, Landon Ray, was able to fix my latest problem remotely..without even having to bring the laptop in. Amazing.

Here’s what to watch out for.

virus

For those of you like me, whose knowledge of computers is pretty limited, I thought I’d share a memo Landon sent out recently to KELO staff members but applies to anyone who uses the internet.

When you get infected with this particular spyware,stop what you are doing, do not try to close it or click on it at all  doing so actually downloads the full spyware/malware onto your workstation which in turn results in a much worse infection.  The particular spyware/malware will pop up and look like a full blown Anti-Virus software, it tends to hide under the names “Anti-Virus Pro 2009/2010” or just “AntiVirus Pro”.  It will state you are infected with a  lot of viruses and that you need to click on the program to run or download a full scan of your system.  By doing this you infect your workstation worse.

On another matter, I’ve hesitated sharing this with you for nearly a week because…well, you’ll find out.

Two of our granddaughters were staying at our house on Saturday and wanted to see the latest Shrek movie. Now, I’ve ranted here more than once about my aversion to movie theaters because I feel 25 dollars is way too much to pay for a couple bags of popcorn and some Coke.

I also hate it when people feel compelled to yak away during the entire film. Plus Carmike runs a half hour worth of commercials before the previews which last another twenty minutes. I don’t watch commercials at home..why should I pay big money to have them forced on me at the movies?  But worst of all are those who flagrantly ignore the pleas of the theater management to turn off their cell phones.

texting

A young lady in our row was texting through out the whole show and then someone’s cell started ringing. It was a muffled ring but everybody in the theater could hear it. To make matters worse, the idiot wasn’t answering or doing anything to shut it off.  After the third time in about a half hour, even the texting girl was sufficiently annoyed to turn around and try spot the ignoramus who just let it ring.

Well, in spite of the distractions, everyone agreed that the movie was real good and when we got home, the kids’ moms were at our house and anxious to hear all about it.

My daughter Patty had just returned from ball tournaments in Yankton and mentioned that she’d called several times trying to figure out where everybody was  but got no answer. “I heard my phone vibrating, mom,” said granddaughter, Allison, “but I couldn’t very well pick up while the movie was going on.”

That’s when I started to get a sinking feeling in the pit of my popcorn-filled stomach.

I did leave MY phone in the car like I intended right???

Just then, I heard a familiar soft chirping sound coming from my left front pocket. I reached in and pulled out my cell.“Hello?”  “Hey, Doug..it’s Denny. Are we on for tomorrow?” Uh, yeah..I’ll see ya.”

Then I checked my messages and, gulp, it showed that I had three missed calls.

I guess it’s not so bad being an idiot when, after fessing up, you can bring such joy and uncontrolled laughter to the whole family.

The South Dakota Bucket List

Posted: Monday, June 7, 2010 at 1:21 pm
By: Doug Lund
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I, like thousands of other subscribers, anxiously await the arrival of my South Dakota Magazine every other month. It’s been that way ever since the magazine first hit the stands 25 years ago.

On many occasions, I’ve stolen ideas from its pages for Lund at Large stories; a fact I have confessed to owner/publisher, Bernie Hunhoff, who actually told me he’s flattered not upset…so I’m at it again.

 sd magazine cover

In the May/June issue, S.D. Mag. is helping to celebrate its silver anniversary by publishing a “bucket list” of sorts featuring 25 things every South Dakotan should try to do while we’re still on the grassy side of the dirt.

This should be a snap, I thought. I’ve lived here all of my life and worked in a profession that involved reporting on people and events from all corners of the state.

But, according to the magazine’s criteria, I only score in the “novice” category because there are lots and lots of things left to experience.

For example: I have never danced at a Pow wow, or paddled a canoe on the Missouri River or been to the continental divide where water from Big Stone Lake drains South to the Mississippi River and eventually the Gulf of Mexico while water from Lake Traverse flows North into the Red River and eventually ends up in Hudson Bay. I have seen our state flower, the Pasque, growing in the wild and have caught up with Tom and Ruth Neuberger romping around the county in their “Goosemobile”..which is a meat market on wheels featuring home grown foods and free range fowl. Can’t say I’ve ever dined on any of their goose offerings, though.

I have never actually heard corn grow. Apparently it’s possible but the one time I tried to record the noise for a story, the typical South Dakota wind was howling making the test impossible. I may try it again in the next few weeks when there’s a calm day. Yeah, right!

I’ve seen them but have never built a “Stone Johnny” which amounts to piling rocks on top of each other for no apparent reason and leaving the stack to puzzle those who eventually stumble upon it.

I have crossed Garretson’s Devil’s Gulch Bridge which spans the Sioux Quartzite gorge over Split Rock Creek. The outlaw Jesse James supposedly coaxed his borrowed horse to jump across the 20 foot chasm to escape the pursuing posse following the Northfield Minnesota bank job.

It took me a long time but I finally rode the 1880 train from Hill City to Keystone and back. Did they ever build that railroad between Rapid City and Deadwood? That would be a fun ride.

I’ve never spotted any of the 66 bright blue tiles among the thousands that make up the mosaic floor of our state capitol building in Pierre. But then, I was never looking for them either. I will the next time I’m there.

When I was thirty years younger and a hundred pounds lighter, I wanted to climb to the top of Harney Peak. I think I was outvoted by my kids, though, when I explained that it was a half day trek and the reward would be a grand view of the Black Hills. They were more interested in the Flinstone’s Park at Custer.

I don’t remember howling like a coyote on a quiet summer night  in order to get one to howl back. Come to think of it, the only coyotes I’ve ever heard howling were in Arizona..where they’re called Ky-oat-tees.

I haven’t played poker in Deadwood. But I have lost a bundle there playing blackjack. Does that count?

I have donned October orange and hunted pheasants. That was back when my uncles had farm fields to walk and you could also road hunt. Now I don’t think I could afford the fees some charge for the privilege.

I have owned a boat in my lifetime. I have also been stranded after that boat broke down in the middle of Lake Madison, Lake Alvin, Lake Vermillion and West Lake Okoboji.. 

I’ve never tried to rope anything with a lasso. I roped Linda into marrying me but doesn’t count.

I have driven Needles Highway many times but on our last trip to the Hills, our friends said they’d never taken that route so we did and it is still as long as I remember but fun just the same.

I’ve never been part of a branding crew and really have no desire to.

Nor would I care to see or hunt South Dakota rattle snakes and tell stories about it. Seeing any kind of snake in the wild would be enough to induce lightning feet and a massive heart attack

I’ve never done any gold panning in the Black Hills. Plan to do some at one of those tourist mines in Alaska this summer, though.

I have caught Walleye..although not near as many as everybody else in the boat. I still don’t know how to clean fish though but love the catching part.

I’ve not stargazed in the Badlands on a crystal clear night but imagine it would be great fun because it’s one of the darkest places remaining in all of America; perfect for appreciating the heavenly bodies that have guided ancient mariners and inspired poets,  painters, song writers and lovers since the beginning of time..

I have walked 41st in Sioux Falls and have spied bald eagles on the wing along the Missouri River near Yankton.

I’ve also enjoyed a county fair and highly recommend the one in Turner County each August for that old fashioned fair going feeling.

Well, how’d I do?

Eleven out of 25.

Uffda. Time to hit the road.

Maybe I can tag along with Bernie on some of his future South Dakota adventures so I could experience these places first hand and not have to steal from his wonderful magazine.