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

Saturday, September 25, 2010

A Day in the Life

It’s been a while since I’ve written on this blog or any blog. I’ve missed it. It’s an odd thing how I feel about writing and blogging. Last week I was in Missouri for a few days. An old friend introduced me to someone else as a writer. I’ve never had that happen before. I’d like to be considered a writer. Then another friend got in my face, in love, and exhorted me about writing a book. Someone else said, you should write a book. Yet, here I am, not even blogging of late.

I really wanted to blog last week about manners and how nice it was to be in Tennessee. I can’t tell you how many times I noticed the little courtesies that make life better. Doors opened. Smiles given. Being called ma’am. That used to bother me because I didn’t want to be old enough to be a ma’am. Now I’ve either accepted being old or just like the respect. Then there is the courtesy of being called Miss. I didn’t like that either when I first moved to the south. Now I rather like it. It means that someone has respect for me.

I had a wonderful time in Tennessee. I didn’t want to come back. It was odd. When I left South Dakota for my week in Missouri and Tennessee I cried. Not that I love South Dakota now, but because of a whole host of reasons that don’t belong public. But also, I had found myself acclimating, just a bit, to South Dakota. I can’t say I like South Dakota. That would be going way too far. But I don’t hate it as much as I used to – I guess that’s progress.

But I didn’t want to come back here. I really had to force myself to get in that car and come back here. It was hard. I was alone. It’s one thing when my husband is with me and in a sense I feel I have no choice. This time I had a choice. Today I am even wondering if I made the wrong choice. Nevertheless, here I am in South Dakota on a really pleasant fall day.

Today I went with my husband to the Sheep Growers Annual meeting or whatever it was called. I just know for sure it was Sheep Growers. I am beginning to think that stay in the apartment than go to some of these things.

We had to hurry to get to lunch on time. My husband needs to be “seen” at these places. There is no useful purpose in his presence. He is not a sheep grower. He is not a sheep specialist. It’s all about being seen for reasons I will never understand.

We were served a basic cold cut lunch. No lamb. Conversation around the table was really sparse. I noticed that sheep growers also like to dress like cowboys. Do they call them sheepboys? Then the program started. It was a presentation about two “master” sheep producers. Now I like sheep. I like lamb. I am curious about a lot of things. I might have actually found it interesting to know more about sheep. 

However, the presenter was definitely speaking to the home crowd. That’s understandable. It was a sheep growers meeting. Did you know that they ultrasound pregnant ewes? I don’t know what a dry ewe is and I never could figure out why they send them to Western SD. I don’t know why or what a Peruvian herder is used for in this process. I finally figured out what AI was – artificial insemination. I couldn’t figure out what ET was – I found out it was embryo transplant.  I don’t know the difference between a feeder or a club production or a seeder stock. I don’t even know if I got these terms correct. I was bored to tears.

I was approached after lunch about taking a walk with some other women. Hmmm… more sheep talk which was like a foreign language or a walk with women I never met. I finally opted for the walk. I found out that the town of Huron (often pronounced urine) SD is a city of murals. We were walking to see the murals. Instead of walking in the direction where ¾ of the murals were, we walked away from them. We browsed a Salvation Army Thrift Store. Finally, we visited Potter’s Shoes. It seems that it is a very happening store. Selling Birkenstocks to sheep growers wives really sort of surprised me. But there we were, in a store with expensive Clarks and Birkenstocks in a deserted desolate downtown.

I’m back to the apartment. Husband is napping. I guess visiting with the sheep growers was too much for him too. I’m still bored. I am thinking I made a mistake to come back here. Just think of all the people who would be happy to see me and the things I could be doing if I were in Tennessee.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Lighten Up

I don’t watch a lot of TV. I do sit in front of the computer screen a lot though. When I was in Rapid City earlier this week, I did watch a couple of old movies on TV. Sometimes mindless entertainment is good. This was particularly true when I watched the old Pauly Shore movie, Son-in-Law.  It was on CMT.

Here is a clip; this is about when I turned the movie on. I love the scene where he drives the big combine.

Stories like this are classic and predictable. There all sorts of stories of city folk coming to rural areas.

Sometimes you’ll see the reverse. The classic TV show The Beverly Hillbillies or Green Acres are but two examples. We laugh. Who can forget Arnold the pig, or Mr. Haney or Granny Clampett.

We see the humor and irony. I was particularly surprised that CMT-TV was showing this particularly show. Seemed like in the end the country folk decided Pauly Shore was all right after all. And CMT, COUNTRY Music Television thought it was okay to laugh at that.

Sometimes these moves to places that are foreign to your experience and your taste, are not so funny though. Sometimes they are downright painful. Sometimes you put a fish in a different pond, one they don’t know, they aren’t acclimated to and they die. Other times, they learn to swim and adjust. Mostly they just never feel like they fit, but they keep swimming anyway.

What struck me as I watched this is that people sometimes don’t understand this blog. They don’t understand me. They don’t understand that this is just my attempt to swim in a new pond. It isn’t a pond of my choosing. I don’t fit here. Remember, someone told me that too – see this blog.

The other night I was sharing my Amanda blog with my husband. He didn’t like the first few paragraphs. He thought maybe someone would blame him for my comments. I guess I shouldn't have talked about the State Fair and cow poop. So, here is the disclaimer. These are MY THOUGHTS and MY FEELINGS. Not his. Poor guy, he thought his job might be in jeopardy for what I write. That would be pretty sad.

So my point – here is my point. If CMT can put on a movie about the ironies and ridiculousness of life – particularly life where different cultures intersect – if country folk can laugh at country folk and city folk at city folk, I think the people of South Dakota can understand me as well. If not, don’t read my blog. It’s that simple.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

You never know what you might see in Murdo, SD

Have you ever been to Murdo, South Dakota? I have. Several times we have gotten gas in the truck stop which rarely has more than two trucks on the dirt parking lot. When you go in the store to use the bathroom, you find discounted t-shirts for Sturgis, a few animal skins for sale and the general assortment of food, snacks, drinks and souvenirs. No surprises other than the animal skins.

I’ve stayed at the Super 8 by the antique car museum before – clean, with no frills. But I’ve never been to the museum. Guess it’s just not our thing. Close by is the 1880 Prairie Town that boasts it’s connection to the Kevin Costner epic movie, Dances with Wolves. I’d like to go there sometime but I doubt we will. My husband isn’t much for spending money on tourist things. I’d like to eat in their box car diner. That sounds interesting. I like that kind of stuff.

This time I got to see more of the town of Murdo. Again, not really a whole lot to talk about. It’s just a typical South Dakota town of reasonable size. Now you have to understand that when you say reasonable size in South Dakota you are talking about a town of 500 people. Murdo also boasts that it is the hometown of Senator John Thune, Republican. That might be a really big deal someday. Thune’s name is mentioned as a Presidential contender.

We stayed at a small hotel, American Inn next to what some would call a honky-tonk. The music coming from it said, there is a good time to be had here. The clerk told us to leave our key in the bucket in the morning as no one would be there – she also said, they weren’t serving breakfast that Sunday. Maybe they were all at church?

We decided on the Star Restaurant for breakfast. If you are heading through Murdo and need a meal, I recommend the place. As we enjoyed our blueberry pancakes, I heard that they were having a bus come in-probably tourists. I thought that was good for their business. A couple came in with a NY accent and the server called her sweetie and dear.

Then she came in. Since I am not sure what is politically correct nor do I care, since she attempted to look female, I’ll call her she. Honestly, I don’t think I’ve ever seen a cross dresser in person. I certainly didn’t expect one to come in to the Star Restaurant in Murdo. I wanted to take a picture, but I knew that would be rude. She was hard to miss. She had rosy cheeks, way too rosy. She had twinkling eyes enhanced by mascara and a little liner. She had an odd hat on with her dyed blonde hair sticking out, a t-shirt, plaid Bermuda’s and multi-culture striped knee socks covered with sandals. She was about 6 foot tall with very broad shoulders. She was an interesting site.

I have to be honest. My first reaction was not very nice. Interesting how quick we are to judge. How quick our self-righteousness rises up and we judge, we assume we know something when in reality we know nothing.

I am sure everyone noticed her – how could you not? She was a sight to behold. But no one stared. No one made comments that I heard. The server greeted her with a smile and welcome. She ordered pancakes too. I was impressed with the people in the cafĂ© in Murdo. Even in a conservative Western town in South Dakota, the people were polite, as they should be.

But I had to think about my reaction. I didn’t like it. Even though I was polite, I had a reaction. I guess it would be easy to say it was human nature to have a reaction. But then I thought, maybe it was even God who reminded me, that she was a person, a fellow-human being, created in the image of God, she was someone’s little boy once upon a time, she had people who either do or have cared about her and loved her. That put it all in a different perspective.

I was told that education would change me. I’ve also realized that next to my salvation, education has changed me the most. I realized in the Star Restaurant in Murdo, I was changed. I thought about all the lectures, exegetical work and research I’ve done on image of God. My Old Testament prof used to say if you don’t understand Genesis, you don’t understand God or the scriptures. He was right. I see things so differently now.

I am not saying anything about the rightness or wrongness of this behavior. I am certainly not saying I support Gay Rights or anything like that… I don’t know how I feel about that issue. Like everything in this life, it’s not simple, it’s not black and white, and it’s complicated. What I am saying is when you see someone different, when you see someone who is “other,” they really aren’t that different. They are people, fellow humans, just like you with feelings, aspirations, and dreams. They are people with family and people who love someone and someone loves them. They are people with pain, or maybe joy.

Maybe they are just hoping that someone will love them, just the way they are…the only one who can really do that is Jesus. But as His disciples, I think we are supposed to hold our judgment, hold our tongues and reach out in love. When you do that, you have the potential to earn the right to say something, to maybe tell them about Jesus – tell that that Jesus can give them hope, forgive their sins and give them a new life. That Jesus job, our job is to love.