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Postcard from South Dakota

Typical Western South Dakota look … Kind of “Norman Rockwell”. This is Kory Bierle and his daughter Sage, age 6, of Midland.

Henry David Thoreau went to the woods because he wanted to live deliberately, to “suck out all the marrow of life, to live so sturdily and Spartan-like as to put to rout all that was not life … ”

I travel to Western South Dakota in search of what quiet really is, to witness God’s creation far from the injustices inflicted by deadlines, freeway sounds and other culprits; to really hear the sounds of meadowlarks and turtle doves; to smell the clean, fresh air.

But mostly, I am reminded of the power of the place and its people and to experience returning to the place of my birth to find that memories remain. Many memories are visions of the past, but the important things haven’t changed.

Thoreau still reminds and teaches us of the value of simplicity in our lives. So, with the modernism of fast film, let’s take a look at some important events in the lives of these people.

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Every day is Mother’s Day, so let’s consider the productive ability of Ida Hunt, 84, who was born in Norway but came to the USA as a child. Mother’s Day came often to her as she gave birth to 18 children, “No doubles,” she said!

In a pre-Memorial Day visit to the Midland, SD, cemetery with her grandson, Stuart Hackerott, 5, Ida spent some time with her late husband, Lyle Hunt, at his grave. Ida has spent 40 years as a local news columnist for The Pioneer Review (Philip, SD) and uses her husband’s name, Mrs. Lyle Hunt, for her by-line. That way “we can always remember him.”

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Gay Logan came into life stuck in a snowdrift February 29, 1932. Her father and mother, Reinhold and Rose Denke, had a ranch north of Quinn, SD, miles from civilization as we know it and when her [mother’s] labor came on, they hooked a team of horses to a sled and headed for Wall, SD. The snow was up to the belly of the horses. They didn’t make it in time and Gay was delivered in the sled. She said her mother told her she was so cold she didn’t realize she had delivered a baby! Mrs. Denke delivered a total of 12 children but Gay was the only one born outside in a sled. Mothers had it tough in South Dakota in those days.

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Graduation is an important time in the lives of young people whether it takes place in the South Dakota prairie towns of Midland and Philip or in New York City. It’s a time to let your hair down, change places with teachers and coaches, and have some fun; after all, the future is theirs!

The Philip girls’ basketball team tried to carry off their coach, Mike Albrecht, but couldn’t quite do it. The pretty players – Jodi Williams, Sarah Albrecht and Heather Finn – did their best as always!

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It was tears and cheers in Midland, SD, too. This is the last graduation blast for this high school in this location. Graduates included Jason Standiford, Jeremy Duncan, Chelsee Nemec and Jackie Schofield.

Midland School Superintendent Denise Fox will be returning to east of the river next fall, but long-time business manager Debbie (Jones) Trapp will still be at her desk next school year. She said that while the high school is moving to Kadoka, the future of the administrative staff is “up in the air and next year will tell the tale.”

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Having your dad visit you in school is special for a girl, especially if he is a tall, rangy, handsome cowboy like Kory Bierle. Sage Bierle, 6, (pictured on the front page) sits on his lap at the Midland Elementary School office.

While graduation is great for kids, we must remember the teachers, too. Teachers are doctors of education – or should be. Like medical doctors, they save lives – the lives of children – by teaching the right things. Not just the “3 Rs” but values, respect and faith. Children are the lifeblood of the future. God bless ’em!