Have you entered the storehouses of the snow...Job 38:22

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Where's the Hospitality?

I can't resist. I love to spar. I love to debate. I don't mean anything by it necessarily, it is just what I like to do. I can be like the proverbial dog with a bone.

I am pondering the comment challenging by assertion that the state of South Dakota doesn't put porta-pots on the highway for its workers. If you haven't read it, you should. Read my response.

This blog is about my journey in South Dakota. If you read carefully you'll see I am really working hard at coming to terms with this new life. It is my way of processing how I feel. It's not intended to be personal.

I moved here from the south. The south, particularly Tennessee is associated with hillbillies and rednecks. Gretchen Wilson made Red-Neck Woman a hit a few years ago. I suppose that didn't help the image of the south. But one thing about southerners is they are pretty willing to laugh at themselves and expose the ironies of their view of life.

Before I lived in the south, I lived in staid New England. It was supposed to be a place that was cold and proper. It was supposed to be a place of indifference. That wasn't true either. It was a warm inviting place that values each individual and the community. I've never seen such pride in your hometown as I saw in New England.

But of course, they have their weird ways and they can laugh at it. Like the southerners they don't mind poking fun at themselves and they laugh at the ironies of their view of life. Every place has its beauty and strengths, including South Dakota. Likewise everywhere has its weirdness.

Okay, by now you see where I'm going. I came to South Dakota with a bad attitude. Not because of the state but because of other things going on in my life. So admittedly, I made it harder on myself to live here.

Nevertheless, I've tried. I've tried to adjust. I actually have adjusted some. I used to hate it here. Now I've moved up to I can tolerate it as long as I can go to Sioux Falls frequently. As long as I can have a lunch with someone at least once a week who is friendly it's not so bad. Summer weather will come for a week or two I suppose - if not, at least it's not minus 30 and snow. You have to be thankful for small blessings in your life.

One thing I don't want to lose here is my sense of humor. I like looking at the ironies of life. I am an observer. I notice things about my environment. I grew up in New York City. I had to learn to observe everything around me. I could easily get lost. I could get hurt. Observation is as natural to me as breathing. So I observe odd things like no porta-pots. And yes, I think its weird. I think it's terrible too. I think it's terrible that the needs of individuals are neglected in order to save a penny or two.

Garrison Keillor has made a fortune pointing out the humor and ironies of life in the upper mid-west. I like Keillor. He's right. People here have weird ways just like every other part of the country. There is humor in Lutefisk, being Lutheran and Lake Wobegon.

Recently someone made an observation to me that I had not noticed. Have you looked closely at the sign that greets you when you enter the state of South Dakota?

Look carefully. Do you see the word welcome in this sign? Now here is a trivia question for you. What is the name of the only other state that doesn't have welcome on its sign?

Adding WELCOME and an attitude of welcome to the State of South Dakota would be another plank in my campaign if I ran for office in South Dakota -- porta-pots and hospitality might not get me elected here though.


  1. Like you, I've found that the blessing of humor sure helps me cope with life's challenges.

    Sorry to read the SD has been so difficult for you. Is this a place that you're going to have to permanently stay (like due to work or some other reason)? If so, then I'm believing it will get better and praying that you'll make awesome girlfriends. If not, maybe it's just not the place you're meant to live.

  2. I used to work at a large bank in Sioux Falls that former Governor Janklow insured would provide adequate employment for us South Dakotan's and I got NUMEROUS complimentary calls for being sooooo nice and sooooo polite to people on the other end of the phone. So we are not all grouches in South Dakota. 'Course like you I have traveled away from South Dakota many times spending time in Europe, namely Germany and Italy also the Phillippines then many places in the USA as well, but it could also have something to do with my up-bringing as well as my age......don't want to talk too much about that though - lol....


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