My family used to take camping trips as vacation. They weren’t too bad, except that I had no particular fondness for sleeping in my very own pup tent. I’m not very fond of the hard ground or the sounds I heard at night. I have quite the imagination and I know my brain has tried to kill me before.
Anyhoo…This story is not about my brain deciding it’d be better off without me… It’s about my favorite road trip. The trip to see my dad’s relatives in the Mid-West from Oregon through Idaho and Montana to North and South Dakota then on the way back, hitting Yellowstone. To learn the history of my relatives. They were and are farmers. Most of them have a deep affinity for the land they work. Respect farmers; they truly do work hard and people don’t give them enough credit.
My dad regaled me with tales of his favorite uncle who loved horses and rode them til the day he died. He said I reminded him of his uncle in that I love horses as much as his uncle did. He told me about his other uncle who died in Pearl Harbor and took me to his empty grave to tell me about him.
I don’t remember things in order…it’s been a long time and I neglected to jot things down. Forgive me if I ramble. Mount Rushmore was awesome. Deadwood (Yes, that Deadwood) was neat. I liked the Devil’s Tower and the Badlands were gorgeous. I got to see where Custer met his demise. Yellowstone rocked. Some things were boring and I choose not to remember them.
I got to ride horses quite a bit. Ok, twice. But still….I loved riding my loaned horse and seeing nothing but wide expanse of field while the wind stole my cowgirl hat. I felt a connection with the land and the simple folk–my folk–while I was there.
I love South Dakota.
All of my distant relatives had a hospitality and a politeness unknown in these parts. They were all really nice and pretty sharp in wit.
I think that’s where I started liking country (and) Southern people. A longing for the simple life that I got to experience for such a short time.
I’m feeling better. I think for the most part I was just hurt and it bothered me. Really bothered me.
Writing this story helped to keep my mind busy. I’m sitting here with a smile on my face as I remember bits of that journey. It was truly a memorable part of my childhood.