Sunday, November 19, 2017

A Happy Customer

She dropped into Wild West Wheels with a very fancy, upscale baby carriage.

"Can you fix this?" she asked Bob.

"I don't care what it costs, just fix it. I have a new job and won't be able to pick it up for a couple of weeks."

"No problem", Bob replied. " I can see that I will have to order parts and that takes a while."

The parts and tubes arrived from Denver from the shop where the woman had purchased the stroller. They were costly but the women had said she was willing to pay Bob. It certainly was less expensive than buying a new baby carriage of this quality.

Bob fixed the carriage and called the women to let her know that her carriage was ready for pick up.

The phone had been disconnected. Time passed and the woman did not show up. The carriage remained in Bob's shop.

Then one day the customer finally arrived to get her baby carriage.

Yesterday Bob stopped at the stop light when the woman walked by pushing the baby carriage. She gave Bob a thumbs up and said, "Everything is working fine."

Another satisfied customer who did not have to drive a distance to have the carriage fixed or did not have to pay a steep price for a new replacement. Bob is delighted to have recycled and saved something from being thrown away to pollute the environment.

This has become such a throw-away society, Re-using and recycling is the number one reason Bob opened his Fix-it-Shop in Hot Springs. It is an added bonus to receive appreciation from a pleased customer.

Thursday, November 9, 2017

The First Time

We were driving to Rapid City for a medical appointment. We had gassed up the car in Hot Springs, driven five miles and the car stalled on the highway at the busy intersection of 79 and 385. Somehow Bob managed to get the car to the shoulder on the side closest to the truck stop.

We were fortunate that we were close to the truck stop and could use their phone to call the emergency road service. Neither of us have a cell phone and have preferred it to the constant contact with the noise of the world, but today I would have been grateful to have had one. At this time I was thankful to have a dead car next to the truck stop with the obliging people who worked there. After our first call to the road service and four return calls from them the tow truck arrived.

During the first phone exhange the road-side service said they would send a truck from Hot Springs. On a return call we were told that the tow truck was coming from 40 minutes away. Why? It was a mystery but we settled down for the long wait.

Another phone call and one of the friendly clerks told us that they said that the tow truck had broken down! Soon after they called back once again and once again the clerk came over, sat down with us and said that a truck was coming from nearby Hot Springs. Finally they had contacted a local service! They arrived 15 minutes later and we arrived home within the hour. During our lengthy wait the manager of the truck stop visited with us and offered a sympathetic ear to our dilemma.

Needless to say I missed the medical appointment. This was a first for me, as well as the use of the roadside emergency service. I guess there is a first time for everything during a lifetime and it came after many years so I shouldn't compain,

I guess that next time we not be so lucky to break down next to a friendly truck stop and I am now considering getting a cell phone to use on the road for emergencies that could occur. This will be another first for me.

Sigh! There comes a time to adapt to the changing world.

Oh, yes, the highway patrol stopped to assist but drove on when he learned we were waiting for a tow. I doubt that he would have remained for four hours and four return calls. But then we never had to find out.

One thing I do know is that there are advantages to living out here where many are ready to help in time of need. There are no strangers when one is in trouble, at least not here in the Black Hills of South Dakota.

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Goodbye Leaves

And so once again we say goodbye to summer and fall. The leaves have colored and are falling everywhere. A few track into the house. The butterflies have flown south, along with many of the birds. The air has turned brisk and it is time for sweaters and jackets and the warmth of cozy bathrobes while sitting by the fireplace.

There is a sadness to saying farewell to the casualness of summer, but now it is time to greet the coming of the cold that sharpens the senses and reminds us of how change is inevitable. Along with this inevitability comes the promise of the return of the bees, birds and butterflies.

In the meantime some of the birds have remained to brighten the day. The blue jays have taken over the feeders and the solemn owl hoots in the silence of the early darkness.

The coming season is a reminder of the shortness of life and the importance of holding close to those we love and the beauty of nature in the world around us. We should never take life for granted, nor those who are important to us on our journey through life.

Goodbye to the lengthy days of light and hello to the season of snuggling in with a hot cup of cocoa, a good book and a crackling fire.

Friday, October 6, 2017

Remembrance of Ruth

It has been said that as we age we celebrate more goodbyes than hellos. That has a ring of truth. During the past years I have lost my parents, a bother, a sister and some friends. I welcome new friends to be sure, but the loss of the longest friendships seem to be the most difficult to experience.

This week I said farewell to Ruth, a friend who has been an important part of my life since 1993. We met when we worked together at an elementary school in the Hopkins School District. I was the school conselor with a strong belief in the power of goups. As the school psychologist she joined me in leading those groups. We parted professional company within another year but our friendship continued and grew.

We lived in the same suburb of Minneapolis and had frequent visits, sharing laughter, tears and joys. We walked together through my adoption, the deaths of my mother and sister, adding my father to our household, my marriage in Malta and the death of my father. I was there when her brother moved in with her after he retired and her grief at his early passing. My husband and I had encouraged her to add a bathroom downstairs while she was remodeling her home to add an additon for her brother who joined her and her mother in sharing a home. She continued to thank us over the years for that advice. Both her mother and brother made use of that bathroom as they grew sick and were unable to use the stairs.

My husband and I included Ruth for our weekly Sunday brunches. Ruth and I met with a monthly support group of strong women who had worked with us over the years as a school principal, a social worker, counselors and a psychologist. That goup of extraordinay women is meeting to this day and celebrated Ruth's birthday a few months before she died. Today these women are saying their farewells at her funeral.

As for me, my husband and I moved away in 1998 but through the years we kept contact through cards and phone calls and our yearly visit to Minneapolis where we visited over a lengthy lunch.
I will not attend her funeral today but I remember a good friend and grieve her passing. She will not be forgotten. Her absence has left a void in my heart.
 Ruth and I both missed those weekly brunches after my husband and I moved to the Black Hills. Our friendship continued through phone and letter. True friends are rare and I will treasure the memories..
Goodbye and thank you for the good times we shared.

Saturday, September 30, 2017

Again and Yet Again

We watched every episode of Ken Burn's Vietnam. My husband and I both lived through those years but this series revealed things we did not know and also brought a greater understanding of the soldiers who fought bravely, the men and families who stayed behind and the people and soldiers of both South and North Vietnam. When this war was happening during our time we were not exposed to the depth of the cover-ups or the extent of the anti-war protests in our country and around the world.

Most importantly, for me, it reinforced the feelings that war is damaging to civilians and soldiers on both sides. Mothers lose sons, wives lose husbands, children lose parents, friends lose friends. Some wars in our history have been fought with honor and commitment, others, not so much.

It was painful to listen to former soldiers, anti-war protesters, politicians and deserters who, over time, changed their minds about a war they fought for or against, or the country they abandoned. For many the pain lingers.

My thoughts reflect on those who lead our counties. Do they know history? Have the lessons of the past changed how we communicate with our present day enemies? History has a way of repeating itself. If only the leaders of countries knew their history, perhaps, just perhaps there would be less fighting, pride and self-serving and more communication leading to understanding. We can only hope.
But then history often repeats itself.

Saturday, September 23, 2017


"Hello, Grandma. How are you?"

It was my grandson calling from Michigan.

"How is school?"

"Well, it is different from high school, but I like it."

Those words were music to my ears. I had loved college, not only because it led to a great career but also it opened my mind to another world out there that was hidden from me during my years growing up in small town, America.

"Are you meeting kids from other places?"

"I am and I like them all. Some are from Europe and many from Mexico. They have different opinions from mine but I listen to their ideas."

We talked about his classes, his new friends, his dorm and his job that helped him to attend college.

After our conversation I thought back to my college years. I am still grateful for the classes and friends who were different from me, with both expanding my thoughts, feelings and opportunities for a richer life to carry me through adulthood.

I am thankful to my parents who supported me during my college years and to my daughter and son-in-law for carrying on the ideals of the importance of education to their children. Learning is more than an opportunity for a great job. Hopefully it will be the seed for a lifetime of growth, continued learning and independence of thought.
Here's to my daughter and son-in-law for showing our grandchildren the value of a lifetime of learning!

Friday, September 15, 2017

In Memory of Dennis

"Who is that standing in the back of the room," I asked Bob at one of the many auctions we attended.

Bob turned around. "I think that is a statue or something."

I looked back repeatedly. I saw no movement. "I wonder if that is going up for auction?"

Then, at last, I saw the tall, dark, thin man with long hair and an outstanding mustache move slightly. I nudged Bob. "It is a real person. He stood like a statue for most of the auction."

Months later at another auction we saw the man again. Bob engaged him in a conversation and discovered they had a mutual interest in trains. His name was Dennis and he attended most auctions, always on the alert for train paraphernalia or for items that might be of interest to our local Pioneer Museum on top of a hill in the middle of Hot Springs.

In time we learned that he was the curator at the museum where he had worked for 38 years. His love of history inspired him to make many improvements to the museum. He kept the place spotless from the first of April until the yearly closing in October. He cared for it much as a parent for his child. This museum is second to none in our country for its displays of Pioneer history from the area. The above photos show rooms with collections of artifacts from a by-gone era depicting our local history.

We say farewell and thank you to Dennis Papendick, a quiet and unassuming man who devoted his life to the Pioneer Museum. He was a treasure who rescued our treasures from the past.
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