I’ve lived in college towns before. I’ve learned that unless you are a student or a faculty member, the campus is like another world, even if you are only a mile away. I never know what is happen on the campus. Sometimes I wish I did because then we might actually find something to do here in Brookings.
My husband is an administrative faculty person on this campus. I am sure he gets all sorts of notices across his desk about all sort of interesting things, he never pays attention to them, or shares the. My husband’s ability to filter out things he is not interested in is amazing. Me on the other hand, I have radar that won’t quit. It is always bleeping at me with all sorts of information. None of which I filter. Most of which, I remember.
For a very small campus town, Brookings has a pleasant looking downtown. It has signs of life. You do see people walking on the streets. I’ve been one or two of the eating establishments on Main. I’ve never been to their famous burger place though, Nick’s Hamburger Shop or George’s Pizza. Both are supposed to be city landmarks. A friend convinced me to poke around a couple of shops on Main. Neither did a whole lot for me; I haven’t been back.
Today I went downtown. As I left, I thought, I haven’t written about South Dakota much lately, maybe I’ll get some inspiration when I go downtown. I did.
I was to meet a friend at a restaurant I’d been to before, Sun Dried Tomatoes. Last time I was there I had a Panini. It was okay. I’ve had better. Compared to the Panini’s I made at Joyce’s Pegram Deli and Coffee Shop in lovely little Pegram TN, they were small, overpriced and not that good. Nonetheless, it was a nice place to visit with someone and the food certainly wasn’t bad. The pizza I had today was good.
As I got downtown, late as usual, I thought OMG, what don’t I know? There was little place to park. You don’t expect this in a small town like Brookings. Finally I found a place two blocks away across from a beautiful old building that says City Hall on it but isn’t anymore. City Hall is now found in a very ugly newer building several blocks away.
I still had no idea what was going on in Brookings. There was a buzz in the air. There was a sense of life and vitality that I don’t expect to find in South Dakota except in Sioux Falls or Rapid City. Certainly there couldn’t be anything that great in downtown Brookings on a Saturday in March. As I had walked to the restaurant, someone was standing on another street corner tapping on a make-shift drum while his friend played the accordion. I met my friend, a native South Dakotan. She wondered aloud about the busyness of downtown.
Then I found out what was going on. It was Pub Crawl. Now the name alone tells you this is a college binging activity. This is not part of why parents send their kids to college. There is even a mention of it in Wikipedia. It is also known as spring “Hobo Day.” The idea is that college student roam from bar (pub) to bar throughout the downtown. After drinking their way through the city, they eventually have to crawl from pub to pub.
As we left, I thought now this is a strange event to be having the day before we start Holy Week. Maybe it is some sort of South Dakota version of Mardi Gras. Here they were, at noon already filling the bars with their beads on.
I suppose it is a rite of passage. It is like spring break in Florida. None of this stuff is new or unique to South Dakota. Yet, it strikes me as ill timed. At a time when we are going into the most sacred week of the Christian calendar, crawling drunk through downtown isn’t exactly a good way to reflect on our Savior’s sacrifice.
How are you preparing for Holy Week?