In case you’ve missed me, I’ve been traveling a lot. During Holy Week, we hosted my husband’s brother and the daughter of another one of his brothers for a brief visit to South Dakota and then Tennessee. It was an interesting way to spend Holy Week.
On Monday last, my husband and I drove to Minneapolis to pick them up from the airport. For those of you who aren’t familiar with this area, that is a 3 ½-4 hour drive each way. We were late meeting them. Having a propensity for lateness in such activities, all was forgiven quickly. We took them for a short trip inside Mall of America. One cannot visit the cities without seeing this capitalist icon. Monday we logged 430 miles.
Tuesday we started late. We picked up a rental car to save the miles on my husband’s prize possession. Then a brief stop to show my relatives where I go to school. Next stop, was a visit with some friends at Fort Thompson SD. I’d love to digress into a long story about this visit. It was unusual to say the least. I did write about playing with Destiny after the visit. Like our never-ending travels, I will just keep going.
By nightfall, we were safely in Rapid City having supper at the 24-hour Perkins Restaurant having logged another 400 miles. A brief sleep and it was on to Mount Rushmore. I like going to Mount Rushmore. I remember the first time I went the excitement of the little girl who used to look longingly at the picture of Mount Rushmore in her Social Studies book returned. It was a childhood dream comes true. Having seen it about 5 times now, the excitement has waned but the awe has not. No trip to SD is complete without a stop at Wall Drug. After eating there, we journeyed through the surreal landscape known as the Badlands. By the time we reached Brookings that night at midnight, we had logged another 500 plus miles.
Having begged my husband to reconsider his plan of leaving at 6 a.m. on Thursday morning, we left at 2:00 p.m. for Tennessee. Opting for a saner two-day trip, we arrived in Columbia Missouri at midnight. Mileage log for that day was 550 miles. A quick breakfast with my son, a trip to the cemetery to see my mother’s date of death engraved on the stone, a whirlwind visit to our alma mater for the sake of the relatives, we finally arrived at our home in Kingston Springs TN at about 7:30 p.m. Passing the Arch in St. Louis, we completed that day having driven 475 miles.
It was delightful in Tennessee during Easter weekend. It was warm. The daffodils were finished in my front yard, but the peach tree and the pear tree were blossoming. The view from the front of the house was breathtakingly beautiful as white blossoms covered the trees and the vibrancy of the forsythia was striking this year.
Easter Sunday, I attended the church I had visited for Ash Wednesday. I remembered the pastor’s admonition to remember I was dust, even when dressed in my Easter best. The service filled me with hope for my daughter and her family. They had found a good place to worship. My granddaughter sang about having Jesus down in her heart. I took home the lily we had purchased in memory of my mother. It is now planted in the front of my home in Tennessee.
Sadly, by 3:00 p.m. on Easter Sunday we were on our way back to South Dakota. Leaving the relatives to visit with others in Tennessee, we traveled together. The further north we traveled, the more the temperature dropped and we saw no signs of spring. I was sad. It was so good to feel the heat on your face, to see trees in bloom, and smell spring. Over two days, we traveled another 1000 miles plus. Monday night after a supper visit to Taco John’s we returned to our quiet apartment in Brookings.
Yesterday I saw some daffodils in Sioux Falls. The surprise of seeing bright yellow caused my breath to stop. I don’t remember seeing daffodils last year. Perhaps I did. Probably I did. But this time I really saw them. I am seeing more beauty and purpose here in South Dakota. I will get to have two springs this year. One brief in Tennessee and perhaps one longer, here in South Dakota.
When I next return to Tennessee, it will be to start my doctoral program at Trevecca. It will be the middle of May. I will be glad to return. It will be the beginning of a new chapter in my life. As I’ve thought about writing a dissertation, something about South Dakota has taken root in my life. I have a passion for the original people, the first nations, of South Dakota. I am thinking to write my dissertation on some issues that might benefit these true South Dakotans. Maybe I’ve found my reason for being in South Dakota. It has taken a while, but there is hope. After all, I did see daffodils in South Dakota.