Why Do We Live Here?

Posted: Monday, June 13, 2011 at 10:09 am
By: Doug Lund
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It’s usually around mid October when I first start complaining about the approach of another winter and all the problems and perils sub-zero cold and snowy weather presents.     I didn’t play golf last Tuesday because it was way too hot and windy for fat people to be out there risking heat stroke and possible death over a silly game. Instead, I stayed inside my air conditioned house and sulked about how we went from a cold, wet blustery spring right into stifling heat and humidity that felt more like a Louisiana Swamp than June on the Prairie.    Now the bugs are back trying to get into the house again and it won’t be long before outdoor conversations will turn into yelling matches because of the racket from a billion cicadas in the treetops banging on their tymbals to a deafening roar.

Geeze, Lund, if you hate it so much here why don’t you pack up and leave to someplace more to your liking and don’t let the door hit ya where the good lord split ya.

Well, hold on there a second, pally.  I’m not going anywhere..just exercising my God given rights as a bred and born native South Dakotan to pee and moan about my surroundings every now and again. In fact, I was reminded several times this past week about why I wouldn’t want to live anywhere else BUT here.

sandbagging wall

Record releases from Missouri River dams have been a hellish nightmare for homeowners who reside along the Big Muddy facing the very real possibility that those homes could be ruined by flood waters. But in this time of potential catastrophe, volunteers from all over my state and beyond have swarmed to the front lines lending a helping hand.  Among those offering up their muscle and sweat were members of my grandson, Michael’s baseball team; Sioux Falls East Legion, who, after playing two games on a hot day in Omaha, stopped on their way home outside of Sioux City and spent three hours filling sandbags destined for Dakota Dunes. Coaches and parents of the players pitched in too. That makes them winners both on and off the field in my book. 


sandbagging at pile

sandbagging group pix

Linda’s mom, Mary Trudeau, who still lives on her own in Alcester, hasn’t been feeling up to snuff lately so, in typical South Dakota fashion, friends and neighbors check in regularly to make sure she’s okay offering up hugs and hot dishes. The guys from the machine shop next door are right there once a week to mow her yard because..well, it’s Mary who is known to all of them for the plates of cookies and other hot- from- the- oven goodies she brings to them.

1,400 South Dakota World War II veterans have been able to see the national memorial dedicated to them and visit all the sights in Washington, D.C. free of charge thanks to organizers of the Honor Flight program which came to a conclusion last week. What began as a nice gesture two years ago has turned into a treasured memory for all the veterans and a life changing experience for those reporters who covered the dozen Honor Flights.

honor flight salute In the end, South Dakotans donated 1.4 million dollars toward this wonderful way of saying thanks to those who served.

Then, this past weekend, my cousin, Grouse, talked me into going home to Volga for “Old Timer’s Day.”  I’ve never been too keen on that name figuring I don’t need any additional reminders. But it was a gloriously beautiful day and turned out to be great fun.

More tractors and pick-ups than big floats but I caught several pieces of candy.

More tractors and pick-ups than big floats but I caught several pieces of candy.

After the parade everyone walked over to the city park for food, music and a game of guessing the names of people we hadn’t seen in decades. I was amazed at the number of those I got right. It all led to lengthy conversations filled with laughter and shared memories.  

Classmates Bev and Lynal with a plate of pies they refused to share

Classmates Bev and Lynnal with a plate of pies they refused to share

I guess I need these occasional “wake up and smell the coffee” reminders that there are other things besides a perfect climate which bring  real purpose and pleasure to life.

So, the next time you feel like grumbling about living in this state of extremes, just click your ruby slippers together three times and repeat after me, “There’s……………………


  1. J.P. Skelly says:

    Life without Lund?! Unthinkable!

  2. Cam Lind says:

    Doug, old fashioned work ethic, good people, good memories, plenty of food and more good times than bad. AKA living in South Dakota. CL

  3. Proud Parent says:

    I am also a proud mom of one of the Legion East ball players! You know I didn’t even hear him complain, but actually wondered how he could go back and help again. I guess living in the midwest is one of the best places to live. Thank you for taking a minute to reconize these young men just doing what is right!

  4. Larry Elverud says:

    Thanks for another great blog. I was at the parade and lunch with my Mom (Clarice) and sister (Cyndi). I’ve been to the Macy’s parade in New York and the Rose Bowl in Pasadena (to watch my daughters with the Lincoln band) and the Old Timers parade ranks right up there! As a farm boy who drove John Deere tractors I thought there were too many red Farmall tractors. The green machines must still be used and not ready for parade use. I thought it was interesting to watch the floats (hay flatbeds) from the the graduating classes that ended in “1”. Ten years sure does change a person! Remember next year it is the all school reunion. Did you have a pork sandwich or two from the First Lutheran youth group? It sure is fun to look at people and try to figure out who they are. People looked at me too but with the gray hair I have changed a little!

  5. Suzan says:

    I’m guessing that parade picture was taken very near Aunt Leila’s house. Looks like a beautiful day. There is a lot about the Midwest to love….and complain about…

  6. John Bjerke says:

    As you close your blog with There’s…….. I can identify with it. After teaching in Wisconsin and raising two daughters my wife and I are moving back to Sioux Falls having left in 1978. Will be nice to be back home. We will be back in South Dakota on July 1. I retired from teaching in 2006 and am retiring from Macy’s after 25 years . I’ll look you up when we get settled in.

  7. grouse says:

    You see, I told you Doug that the trip to Volga’s Old Timer’s Day is always an event rivaling the Oscars, the Kentucky Derby, the Indianapolis 500 and dare I say it, the Royal Wedding! I have to disagree with my old buddy Larry Elverude, but you can’t have too many International Harvesters in a parade! And when you look at the lovely Volga girls that we lusted after (in a nice polite Lutheran way). It doesn’t matter whether it’s 5 or 50 years, South Dakota girls retain their youthful, flower-like lovliness until the Lord calls them home. Of course, as I have told my bride daily, I picked the lovliest rose in a vast, abundant South Dakota garden.

  8. Lynnal Nelson says:

    what lovely Volga girls did you “lust” after Gouse??? It was a wonderful day in the neighborhood that day! Great fun to see everyone, even the “old”ones!!!

  9. Another Legion East Connection says:

    Doug, thanks so much for a great story. We really are blessed to live in state where we all seem to become family during times of need. South Dakotans have a work ethic and hearts of gold that can’t be matched anywhere!

  10. marilyn hesby says:

    Thanks Doug for the fine comments on our reunion at home. We really enjoyed our visit. Carry on and Blessings to you great home town buddies. Marilyn

  11. Paula says:

    Thanks for another great story! You are correct – this is a great place in which to live. The people in SD are priceless! We live along the Missouri River on the outskirts of Yankton and have experienced first hand the kindness of hundreds of volunteers who came to assist us, and our neighbors, with moving belongings from our basements, sandbagging our homes and our levee, and by bringing food to help us feed those who were working so very hard. We could not have done it without these unselfish people who gave up their Memorial Day weekend and the following weekend to help us. While it’s been stressful and heart wrenching, the people have made this one of the most heart-warming experiences as well.

  12. Michael says:

    Let’s not get too carried away with the “South Dakota work ethic.” I lived in Northern California for a time and had a chance to observe the locals. Let me tell you, from the farmers of California’s Central Valley to the engineers and software designers of San Francisco I’ve never seen people work so hard. 70 hour work weeks aren’t uncommon there. We work hard here, but so do Americans all over the country.

  13. MARK says:

    I’m taking the advice of others and getting the heck out of here. I’ve never seen such craziness in my life as what goes on here. Driving around Sioux Falls takes never-ending patience, the only lights that are timed for a flow of traffic to move without stopping for a red light are down town and they are timed for 10 mph over the speed limit. I believe that speaks volumes for the mentality of the entire area. As for the work ethic, these people might work hard but in my field I end up fixing a lot of their mistakes. Mix in terrible weather conditions and the whole mess becomes something easy to leave behind.

  14. Eric says:

    Mark- We probably won’t miss you. Don’t let the door hit you in the keister on your way out of town. And hopefully noone runs you over before then.

  15. Michael says:

    Eric–God forbid anyone would say anything the least bit critical about your home state, eh? South Dakota isn’t perfect. No place is. One of our worst qualities is our provincial attitude. Please travel to New York or San Francisco or London or Paris. See the world. Listen to viewpoints different from your own. Try to be a little more open-minded and cosmopolitan.

  16. Jana says:

    I ask myself that very same question everyday!!!!

  17. Notta says:

    The good ol’ Republican state of SD. Oh how I missed it when traveling with buisness in the dirty south. I’ve lived in many states and will forever call SD home. God bless SD

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