I love the warm, earthy colors of South Dakota's rural landscape in November before the first real snow of winter.
Where we live, near the west bank of the Missouri River, Canada geese on a fall day sometimes glide up the canal and waddle around on the grass near our patio. My dad would have loved the place.
Quite by chance, I surfed onto an online website on farm safety the other day and learned that I'd missed national Farm Safety Week, which was last month. It doesn't matter. Farm safety is a worthwhile topic any week, because the farm can be a dangerous place. Don't get me wrong. A farm can be a wonderful place to live and work, and for sure the best place in the whole world to grow up, especially in the states in this region. Our farm sure was. But it's in the nature of a farm that many of the chores and tasks and, yes, even games and recreations, can be dangerous.
After the occupation of Wounded Knee ended in May of 1973, the White House sent a delegation to Frank Fools Crow's place on the Pine Ridge Reservation to meet with supporters of the take-over. I covered that meeting for The Associated Press. A solid, experienced reporter named Jim Quinn from Omaha covered it for United Press International. A guy named Bradley Patterson led the White House delegation. He was Leonard Garment's top aide. Garment was special consultant to President Nixon.
When I was young and reading books as fast as I could grab them from the library shelves, I'd have thought my life complete had I sat with a Pulitzer Prize-winning author for breakfast.
I spent some time last weekend with several other old-timers from the South Dakota political world and came away feeling nostalgic for the good old days. Nostalgia isn't all bad. I found this definition of the term in an online version of the Cambridge English Dictionary: "A feeling of pleasure and sometimes slight sadness at the same time as you think about things that happened in the past.''
I was a young news reporter when Gov. Dick Kneip won re-election in 1972 and helped bring a bunch of other Democrats into state offices in South Dakota. I didn’t know yet how rare it was to see a Democrat win a statewide race in South Dakota, much less win re-election. I simply reported on the campaigns and results. After the election, I went about the business of meeting the new office holders. That’s when I met Lorna Herseth.
I've been a bit lonely on my bike rides the last few days, since I don't have my shadow. What's that? Oh, no, I have that one. The gray-black one that follows me everywhere I go unless it's cloudy? Yes, that one still hunkers down on the pavement next to me as I pedal or stretches way out into the cornfield across the highway. It runs off ahead of me or lags far behind, depending on which direction I'm riding, but it's there. I didn't pull a Peter Pan and lose the old thing in the Darlings' bedroom while I listened to bedtime stories. That only happens in the movies.
I bought a new pickup not long ago, and while it has satellite radio with something like 1,700 channels, I might as well have an AM receiver tuned to KOMA in Oklahoma City. I’m not knocking satellite radio. It’s great. It offers so many choices a person scarcely knows what to dial in next. If that weren’t enough, the vehicle came with onboard Wi-Fi. If I wished, I could stream a bunch of music from anywhere in the world, if I knew what streaming is.
It's World Series time, and once again my beloved Brewers are back home making plans for next year. That's OK. They had a good season (who am I trying to kid?) and the Series will be just fine without them. Again this year, I probably won't actually watch many games, but I will follow the scores in the morning newspaper. That's how it used to be, back when October and the Series began together. Sometimes I think the world would be a less crazy place if we could follow Marty McFly back to those times. Early October usually was mild. Teams played games in the afternoon.