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America's pinkest city

I love when my hometown shows up in the news (at least when it's for beauty not some crazy dingbat move by a senator or state rep).

This article talks about Sioux quartzite, a very hard, reddish stone. My high school & many important downtown buildings, along with some of the fancy late 19th-century homes on Prairie & Duluth avenues, are made of Sioux quartzite, so it never seemed that special because so ubiquitous. Beautiful, for sure, but how was I to know it wasn't like this everywhere?  Read More 
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SoDak in the news

I have been obscurely proud of being from the state that not only has the smallest Jewish population but the only state without a Chabad (& they are counting the Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, & possibly Guam).

No more! The Orthodox are coming!

Gauging by the elastic Judaism in my day, it will be quite strange for everyone. Guam might be more familiar to everyone, come to think of it.  Read More 
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Buffalo for the Broken Heart

I first knew of Dan O'Brien from reading his excellent short stories. Then I discovered he owned a ranch in South Dakota & got more interested yet. He's a naturalist, environmentalist, & endangered-species biologist who almost 20 years ago switched from raising cattle to buffalo, acting on his belief that returning buffalo to the northern plains would help restore the land to "an American Serengeti, complete with migrating herds of many species of large herbivores, predators, birds, and scavengers," Read More 
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Yet another snow post

See the bike?
It's still dark so I don't know if it snowed last night. If it did, there's none on the windowsill so I don't have high hopes.

Here's a piece that was published many years ago in Organic Style:

It always snowed on Halloween. White trees leapt out like fists at shivering witches and ballerinas, who stumbled through the neighborhood trick-or-treating, faces up to lick flakes out of the sky. I grew up on the Great Plains  Read More 
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I do know that when you are talking about the capital of South Dakota it's pronounced "peer" not like the French name. I suppose I knew back when we studied the state's history in 5th grade how it got its name but I've looked it up again more recently.

Pierre Chouteau (1789–1865) was a fur trader (beaver, deer, buffalo) and son of one of the founders of St. Louis, some 800+ miles down the Missouri from Pierre. The fort named after him was built in 1832, a strategic spot for  Read More 
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State by State

Quilt of the states.
I've been dipping into a fun anthology called State by State: A panoramic portrait of America, edited by Matt Weiland & Sean Wilsey. Inspired by the Federal Writers' Project that employed some 6,000 people & produced guides to each of the states, their goal was to "put together a book that captures something essential, something fundamental and distinctive about each state... something broad-minded and good-hearted... a road trip in book form."

So far so good.  Read More 
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The Jews of South Dakota

Two recent articles pointed out that the Jews of South Dakota are hanging by a thread. One was on the fact that SoDak is the only state without a Chabad, and the other that there are only 390 Jews in the state, fewer than any other state, in fact statistically zero. Fifty years ago there  Read More 
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South Dakota Tyre & Auto

He was waiting to cross at Third Ave & 10th St.

"Hey! Where'd you get that shirt?" I demanded.

"In London." He was English, a student at NYU.

"I'm from there!"

He looked at his shirt, not sure what "there" I meant. "I just liked it." Was it from a rack full of "Tyre & Auto" t-shirts? Mongolia Tyre & Auto. Austin Tyre & Auto. Managua Tyre & Auto.

"Can I take your picture?"  Read More 
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OK, the snow is out in western South Dakota, but it means my favorite weather is on its way here too. They had 2' in Rapid City, almost 4' up in Lead, in the Black Hills.

And I'm happy to be still in touch with so many of my friends from high school (and junior high and grade school). There’s so much that feels rootless in my life, but one thing that can’t be taken away is my past.

Although that's not true if you've been lied to, according to an op-ed in the Times: "Insidiously, the new information disrupts their sense of their own past, undermining the veracity of their personal history. Like a computer file corrupted by a virus, their life narrative has been invaded. Memories are now suspect: what was really going on that day? Compulsively going over past events in light of their recently acquired (and unwelcome) knowledge, such patients struggle to integrate the new version of reality. For many people, this discrediting of their experience is hard to accept."

Hey wait, I'm simply happy to think about the beautiful snowfall: I remember sitting on the porch of the Franklin Hotel in Deadwood, watching a thick but not serious snow falling on the spruce hills across the way, so warm that sitting outdoors was a delight.

It is what it was. Read More 
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SoDak girl

Nils, who I went to high school with, gave me this flag (photo by June Hony)
I was born & raised in South Dakota, and am a big booster for the state to this day. Since there are so few people who live there (half as many as in Manhattan alone), I suppose I feel SoDak needs me on her side. Otherwise, people tend to assume it's still a Wild West: Did you have electricity growing up, I've been asked. My husband grew up in Manhattan and calls himself a "New York provincial," saying being a kid trumps being a kid in any particular place. Read More 
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