I know someone who likes to tease me that I should be employed by the Tourism Department of the state of South Dakota. She knows I have struggled a lot with living here. She knows that most of the time something negative will come out of my mouth. However, what she doesn’t realize is that I could be hired as an ambassador for the city of Sioux Falls.
I love Sioux Falls. Yes, you heard me right. I actually said there is something in South Dakota (besides my husband) to love. If I lived in Sioux Falls, I’d have no problem living in South Dakota. It is a very nice small city. It isn’t just that they have two Targets or a TJ Maxx and a decent mall. It isn’t just that they have some really good restaurant choices or that they have well stocked grocery stores. Although I don’t follow their politics, it seems to be a well-planned and administered city.
I found myself interested in their recent election. A 47 year old banker won in a run-off election to a 62 year old politicians who was known as the “no” guy. I understand the 47 year old ran a really energetic grass-roots campaign. I saw the 62 year old on the television with his grandson a lot. As I watched from a distance, I thought a lot about my own brushes with politics.
As it is in most places, news emanates out of the major city. In this case, it is of course, Sioux Falls. On my way to class I usually listen to talk radio. No, it isn’t because I am a flaming conservative. It is just that I like talk better than music when I am bored. Music can put me to sleep. Plus even though much of the chatter I disagree with, it is more entertaining. Sometimes views expressed make me mad and then I can talk to the radio. Other times I might cheer and say Yeah, that’s right! Talk radio is just more interactive.
The trivia question contest sponsored by HuHot Mongolian Grill always comes on as I turn on 28th Street. I usually know the answer and wonder how people are so stupid. Today the question was:
On this day in 1789, what was the name of the British ship captained by a man named Bligh that was mutinied?
Not surprisingly, that question was answered on the first call. That one was almost too easy. It always reminds me of when my husband and I were first married. We knew we’d have to be almost ready to go out the door to school and work when we heard Quickie Quiz come on KFRU radio in Columbia MO. We can both still sing the jingle – it’s time for quickie quiz, a quickie quiz, come on and play our game, we’ll bet you’ll be a winner. All you guys and gals… I actually called once and won free chicken from KFC.
I usually hear an ad for Jumpy Monkey coffee when I am around Dell Rapids. I keep thinking I’ll get some Jumpy Monkey coffee as I like the concept of supporting a good cause by purchasing something I like, like coffee. A woman named Gloria tells us all about how she loves her job at Jumpy Monkey and the best part is putting the coffee in bags. I would like that too – smelling coffee is enough to get me excited. Gloria has a disability of some sort. Jumpy Monkey supplies jobs for people with disabilities. She likes Blueberry Cobbler coffee. I don’t like Blueberry coffee but they do have Snickerdoodle and Cinnamon Sticky Bun coffee which makes want to go buy some right away.
In between the ad for Jumpy Monkey and the HuHot quiz, I heard a PSA this morning. It was for the Center for Active Generations in Sioux Falls. I’ve visited this place. It is an amazing example of a great Senior Center, something near and dear to my heart. Until visiting this Center, I had never seen anything that I thought compared to the Newington Senior and Disabled Center where I was Director for nearly ten years.
I started a flashback, a bittersweet flashback of the years in Connecticut. Like me, the director of Active Generation is doing a big event during the month of May. While they didn’t mention that May is Older American’s Month, I suspect that this went into the thinking of planning their Active Living Expo during May. The PSA went on to highlight free health screenings, entertainment, snacks, etc. I started the same event in Newington, we called it the Senior Expo. I would illicit sponsors to provide freebies to our clientele. Usually that day we would have about 60 vendors with about 10,000 seniors come through our doors.
The Sioux Falls event is early in May. Ours was always the cap to a full month of activities. We would have a Dial-A-Ride Dinner. A time for our transportation staff to be thanked and honored. All our riders loved a meal out in the evening. We usually had about 100 people there.
I see on the Center for Active Generations website that they have April as Volunteer Month. During May we would have our Volunteer Recognition Breakfast. We served breakfast to several hundred people. At this event, a volunteer or two were honored and their photograph forever mounted on a wall of honor. I wonder if those photographs are still there.
Ahh, those were the days. See, I once had a full life. I don’t mean for this to sound as negative as I suppose it sounds. I sound like an old woman whining about bye-gone days. I just can’t help reflect on what was when I hear that my ideas are now being replicated all over the country.
Oh, I am not saying they stole my ideas. I know better. I know having an expo for seniors was really not new to me. But it was new for Newington. It was something that grew and grew and brought vital information, screenings and joy to seniors and people with disabilities in the town of Newington. I miss those days.
Sioux Falls is a great city. It has so much to offer including one of the best senior centers I’ve ever seen.