Tag Archives: South Dakota

Photo Favorites: South Dakota

Although I have lived in South Dakota nearly all my life, before this summer I had only been out west to see our most famous attraction, and at that time I was so little that I didn’t even remember the trip.  So when the family went to Rapid City to visit our niece for her birthday, I made sure that the Lovely Wife, Little Guy, Baby Girl and I went to see The Shrine of Democracy at Mount Rushmore.

I don’t pretend that my picture is any greater than others taken, but seeing it in person makes the photo special for me.  Make sure to click on the full size version, so you can see the fissures and lines in the granite.

A visit is highly recommended as no two dimensional photo can really do it justice.  There are two things about the carving that I especially like.  Washington’s visage, stoic but determined, seems to me to capture what he must have been like as a general and president.  The other thing is Jefferson’s positioning.  Originally the faces were all supposed to be side by side, but the rock didn’t cooperate, which is why you see the staggered placement.  I think it adds something to Jefferson, though–looking out over Washington’s shoulder, seeing the possibility and potential future of the United States.

Worth the trip is also the Black Hills themselves, known to the Lakota as Paha Sapa.  It is easy to see how this would be considered sacred ground.

And of course, although not finished, be sure to visit the monument in progress depicting Tasunke Witko, better known as Crazy Horse (a better translation is His Horse is Spirited).  Crazy Horse Memorial is massive.  I am probably not the only one who wonders if it will ever be finished.

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The South Dakota Pronunciation Guide

So I noticed that recently I have been mentioning my great home state in a lot of my posts.  I decided that I should start occasionally posting about interesting things about the Rushmore State (interestingly enough, when I was a kid we went by the Sunshine State.   Who where they trying to kid?).

For the first post, I decided to included a handy-dandy, perhaps unintentionally humorous pronunciation guide.  In the great tradition of States on the upper great plains, we don’t pronounce things like they should be pronounced.  Nebraska has Beatrice (bee-AT-riss) and Norfolk (NOR-fork), while Iowa has Madrid (MAD-rid) and Nevada (nuh-VAY-duh).  It’s a strange phenomena, of which South Dakota is not immune.

The first is our state capitol, Pierre.  Raise your hand if you pronounce it (PEE-air).  You’re killing me, Smalls.  The correct pronunciation is (PEER).  Now go to your closest fourth grader and sheepishly admit that they were right.  Go ahead.  I’ll wait.  Oh, and if you did have it right, feel free to smugly gloat.  You are probably from around here.

English: I took this photo on July 12, 1999 at...

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Next is Belle Fourche.  This could go so many ways, couldn’t it?  But I bet that you weren’t expecting it to be (bell FOOSH).  Yeah, I don’t get it either.

How about Sinai?  In an odd manner of vowel juxtaposition, this is pronounced (SIGH-nee-eye).  It doesn’t have to make sense.  It’s South Dakota.

Lake Andes.  Sounds like a beautiful mountain vista in South America, no?  rearranging the syllabic emphasis, it is pronounced (lake an-DEES).  And it is located on the flat side of the state.

While we are on the subject of emphases, let’s talk about Aberdeen.  The truth is, a lot of South Dakotans get this one wrong.  A true Aberdonian would pronounce this (ABER-deen).

If you get thirsty, consider a trip to Beresford (BEERS-furd).

Hayti might make you stop to think that this is pronounced like the country, albeit with an alternate spelling.  Nope.  It’s (HAY-tie).

Last but not least is Jefferson.  It is in fact pronounced Jefferson.  But once upon a time it went by Adelescat.  You might find it interesting to know that it was named after a girls missing cat.  That’s right.  Adele’s cat.

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So Little Guy needed some new shoes

Like any three-year old, Little Guy seems to either outgrow or wear out shoes within a matter of weeks.  It’s getting to Christmastime, one of those times where the kids get a little spiffier, so he needed some “dress” shoes.  When we were at the mall shopping, we stopped at that essential store for parents with toddlers: Payless.  Lovely Wife was looking around and pulled down a pair of shiny black cowboy boots.  “What about these,” she asked, “they would work, wouldn’t they?”  I got a big grin on my face and nodded my affirmation.  She had Little Guy try them on, and of course he fell in love.  They were right up there with his sneakers that have Spiderman on them and light up.  It was here that I informed Lovely Wife that cowboy boots were one of the coolest things for a little boy to own.

I think she already knew this however, because there was already a little boy in the house who owned a pair of cowboy boots.  One that is 35 years old.

tiag1

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But it’s not just the boots.  Somewhere deep inside of me, I yearn to be a cowboy.  I know, it sounds silly, but hear me out.

Apparently this has been going on for a while.  I was at my mom and dad’s house a while back, and mom had packed up a box of stuff from when I was a tot.  Curious, I flipped open the flaps of the cardboard box, and there was a pair of shiny black cowboy boots.  I didn’t remember those, but I did remember the ones that I owned when I was about 7 or 8.  Gray at the feet with black shafts.  Man, did I love those boots.  I would put them on, along with my jeans and a flannel shirt and my black felt hat that had been misshapen and recreased about a thousand times.  I didn’t have a horse (real or otherwise) but I didn’t need one.  I remember owning two cap guns.  One looked like a typical clip style that you might use if you were a G-man on the trail of John Dillinger.  The other looked like a Colt Peacemaker.  You can guess which one got more use from me.  Back in the days of the early 80s, it looked real, too.  It wasn’t cast in crazy colored plastic.  It was metal.  It did have a plastic grip, but it was meant to look like ivory.  It certainly didn’t have a bright red tip at the end.

Wild Bill Hickok

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Maybe it was in my blood (pretty sure now that’s not the case).  Maybe it’s because I grew up in South Dakota.  After all, at one time or another Wild Bill Hickok, Calamity Jane, and the James brothers all passed through our great state.  Whatever it was, I wanted to be out there.

Of course as an adult reality has sunk in.   Not just the fact that the days of the Wild West were long over even before I was born.  As far as I can remember I’ve only fired two real guns in my life: my father-in-law’s shotgun (at some clay pigeons–which I was pretty good at hitting) and my brother-in-law’s brother’s AR-15 (which I shot several times at an empty bottle of Crown Royal without a successful hit.)  I have a Mustang, but she has wheels rather than hooves.  I couldn’t even be a modern-day cowboy.  Although I have ridden a horse before, just the thought of being in the saddle all day makes my ass sore.  The closest I have gotten to the cowboy experience is repeated watchings of my favorite movie: Tombstone.

Lovely Wife has helped me indulge my little fantasy since we’ve been married, though.  A few years ago for my birthday she bought me a baseball cap embroidered with “National Day of the American Cowboy July 26, 2008”.  Of course July 26 happens to be my birthday.  The real gift was still to come–later that week she escorted me to RCC Western Store where I got to pick out my own adult sized cowboy boots.  I have several belt buckles.  Never mind that some of them have things like the Batman logo on them.  This summer I purchased a cowboy hat from Cabelas.  A real fur felt job.  I’ll never be a cowboy, but I can put these items on, and strum my guitar while I sing Country music tunes.

I am sure not everyone understands.  Toby Keith does, at least according to his song.  I think Little Guy does too.

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Summer Dreams

Aberdeen, South Dakota

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It’s not even officially winter yet, but I have found all these great pictures that had been seemingly misplaced in the digital ether.  I am already ready for summer already.  If you are from South Dakota or the near vicinity, you understand the redundancy of that last sentence.  Winter hits hard around her.  There isn’t always a crazy amount of snow, but typically once it is here, it is here for the long haul.  A few years ago we had our first snow on October 1, and the last one on April 30.  But more than the snow, it is always fairly cold, and verywindy.  If it weren’t for my great love of South Dakota springs and falls, I would have been outta here years ago.

I took this photo at Arnolds Park Amusement Park, Arnolds Park, IA, on 09/06/2009 according to the info on the picture–must have been the last weekend of the park season.  Insects don’t bother me too much (at least not as much as spiders), but I have noticed that the closer you get to them, the more grotesque they seem to become.  Not so with this dragonfly.  I think that all of his (her?) intricacies, colors, and symmetries make it quite beautiful.

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Now is the winter of my disoncontent

OK, I’ll be honest.  I don’t truly know if the end of my bad feelings is near, however it does seem like I have been having a few more good days recently.  I still haven’t been able to string a bunch of good days together (with the exception of our weekend trip to visit my bio family), but the brighter days do seem to signal that things are on the right track.

Perhaps incongruously for someone with depression, I have always been–and perhaps remain–an optimist.  Which is partly why depression can be so frustrating.  It seems like despite my sunny outlook, reality has a way of rising up and smacking me in the face.

Coincidentally or not, last night and into this morning we had a bit of a snowstorm here.  A few days ago it was a beautiful day, a balmy 70 degrees or so.  But nature has a way of reminding me that I do live in South Dakota after all.  Usually we are done with the snow by the middle to the end of March.  At least we didn’t have it as bad as northern parts of the state that had 9 inches of the white stuff.  I should take a cue from others, however.  Rather than complain, there were pictures on the news of kids that had made snow Easter Bunnies. 

But in my metaphor filled consciousness, what I equate this last blast of snow to is the last bit of depression hanging on to my mind.  While I know that depression will likely stick around long after kids are out of school and we are playing in the back yard in our shirt sleeves, it gives this optimist something of a visualization.  So, as the snow melts today, I am heading out with Lovely Wife, Little Guy and Baby Girl to let spring feelings creep back into my psyche.  

And while I am optimistic that this is the final blast of winter, the realist part of my brain reminds me that it snowed on April 30 a few years ago.

SATURDAY FUN: Music favorites

Although my music tastes usually favor Country, Blues, and Folk, it is quite eclectic.  So on a day where I need a little pick me up, here is a classic by They Might Be Giants:

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