South Dakota trip

Gordon and I made a quick trip back to South Dakota last week. Gordon wanted to attend the Daktronics shareholders’ meeting and we wanted to get started on estate planning. We’re not going to live forever and, although I plan to burn through as much of our savings as possible–we earned it, dammit, we should get to enjoy it–we don’t want the state of California to get anything that’s left. We met with Rina Renolds at SoDakStateU to get some ideas and paperwork. She gave us a tour of the campus (it’s all new!) and butterbrickle ice cream cones at Dairy Bacti, now Dairy Microbacti. Then we got down to business. I told her I wanted any money we left to have strings on it. I promised to come back from the grave if any money I leave for expansion or scholarships gets hyjacked by Lefty groups and pooped away to buy themselves cars or to further their goofy policies (I’ve seen it happen). So Rina showed us the plans for two wings of the Performing Arts Center that would be shared by dance, music, and theater groups. Sounds good to me. Then we toured the Daktronics plant and Gordon attended the meeting. He got to see lots of old friends and I took a nap.

We got back to our room to find a message from Rina. She wanted to know if we were free for lunch the next day with Margaret Denton and Ray Peterson. Well, of course we were! We found out from Margaret (you know, I don’t think I’ve ever even had a conversation with her before) that Chris and Caroline Ward had just divorced and he had moved to Michigan to do something in the arts there. Missy has guested on several TV shows in LA and is working with some arts group to educate the kiddies in LAUSD. Margaret no longer lives in the Denton house (the one Amy Grant used in her TV show); she’s in a townhouse south of town, I think she said. Ray hasn’t changed a bit except for one thing; no glasses. He’s retired from SDSU but is active in the Miss SoDak and Miss America pageants. I’m surprised he had time for lunch; he’s very busy right now. It was fun catching up. Gordon appreciated meeting people he’d heard about over the years and Rina picked up the check. Boy, when they think they might get some money, institutions treat you well. Rina even gave us some coupons for more butterbrickle cones.

We went to the Brookings High School football game that night. Poor Bobcats lost to the Pierre Governors. The game was played on Coughlan Field which is in mid-process. New bleachers surround the field. The old stone bleachers (falling apart but that’s to be expected; they must be almost 100 years old) will be replaced as soon as the new bleachers are serviceable. It was a warm pleasant night so when we got bored with the game we went downtown for a beer at Skinners. Jim’s Tap was empty; I couldn’t figure out where all the college drinkers were. Gordon pointed out that it was Labor Day, they’d probably all gone home. I’m wondering if maybe the kids take college more seriously than I did. That wouldn’t be hard.

We took a Tombstone Tour to visit the relatives the next day. I was amazed at the lake heights. Areas that were sloughs forty years ago are now lakes–Lake Thompson, for example. I’ve never seen Poinsett so high. It’s tempting to build a cabin on a lake but I don’t know when we’d ever get there. Probably just a pipe dream–but a pleasant one.

We went to Huron the next day for the SoDak State Fair. Gordon had an old Flipper buddy playing in a band called Massive Brass Attack. They did two shows. The band was great but the little putz running the equipment couldn’t get his act together. He spent most of the first set running around importantly with his tablet trying to get the mics and monitors hooked up. I whispered to Gordon that in the bad old analog days we’d just plug everything into an outlet and HAVE A SHOW! The digital putz never did get things working. The band played two numbers–without two mics–and then their time was up. Gordon had a good talk with his friend so it wasn’t a total loss. Then we toured the animal barns. The LA County fair just has demonstration animals; “This is a horse”, “This is a Cow”, etc.–but at least you don’t have to watch where you walk. We watched the judging of the Western Pleasure Quarterhorse Riding class. Also saw Angus steer and sheep judging. There were no chickens this year due to bird flu but lots of bunnies were judged and for sale. I don’t know if they were being sold for pets or lunch but they were gorgeous. We ate a lot of crap including the best corn dog I’ve ever had and toured the 4-H buildings. We saw the second Massive Brass Attack show and Gordon was introduced to the crowd by the band; he had to stand up and take a bow. The Flippers name didn’t really connect but the people behind us were thrilled when they heard he’d been in The Ride. Long memories back there. We went to the Huey Lewis and the News show and left. Twelve hours at the fair was enough but we had to drive to Watertown for a hotel room. Huron was completely booked up, of course, so we chose Watertown because I hadn’t been there since high school and I was curious. Watertown is thriving but it’s changed so much I didn’t recognize anything. Some wonderful old stone buildings are being repurposed–the Goss Opera House, for example–but all the museums were closed. Our Watertown tour was brief because of the long day I’d had before and we left for Minneapolis. The last time I was in MSP my sister and brother-in-law had taken us to the Minnehaha Falls but I couldn’t really enjoy it because I’d just gotten off crutches and couldn’t walk well. Gordon and I took the stairs to the bottom and wandered around. It was absolutely lovely. We flew home early the next day.

The cats were happy to see us once they got over punishing us for leaving them. George glared at us for about five minutes before thawing; Marta didn’t show up for four hours then she glared and scolded a bit. Now they’re both velcro kitties; have to peel them off.

Lovely trip if hurried but I guess that’s the way we do things. I got some earrings and a Christmas tree ornament at McCrory Gardens, some china birds and jewelry at an antique shop, and some new Tshirts so we left some money at our old stomping grounds. Only unfortunate thing was the weather. It was 95 degrees and humid for most of the trip. And it followed us home. One interesting thing: we had to fly around some thunder storms coming intoIMAG0040 IMAG0044 Burbank and we saw some tanker planes taking off to fight fires someplace. Only in California. Now I have to find someplace to ride out the heat and humidity. Time to find a movie.


About Barbara Schnell

I've dedicated my life to full-time employment avoidance. I've been an actress, renovated a 1921 California Bungalow, set a cash-winning record on $25,000 Pyramid, and came in last on Jeopardy. I live in Los Angeles with my patient husband and two cats.
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