Mary Beth Writes

5/16/2022

Yes, Len and I are back (a week ago) from a wonderful vacation in South Dakota. We stayed four nights in an Airbnb in Wasta, SD, which we picked it because it’s close to the west entrance of Badlands National Park. After we chose it, we discovered it was hugely inexpensive, so if you want to know more about the place, I assure you there is only one Airbnb in Wasta, SD (population 65). The house was tiny, clean, had adequate hot water, and a completely functional kitchen. When the TV wouldn’t work the evening after cable guys had been burying cables that morning, we called the owner who lives 18 miles north and she drove over immediately. Of course, by the time she arrived the cable had kicked back in because that’s how things work in the real world, right? Pam was super pleasant and helpful.

When Len and I dated we talked about how much we loved wide open plains. Here at this end of our long marriage, this trip felt a bit like time travelling backwards. We kidded about who we thought we were going to become and how that worked out. We recalled funny things from bringing our kids here when they were little.

Beng able to remember good times together is a luxury.

Castle Trail crosses the center of the northern unit of the park. We walked most of it; one day from the east end while wearing our parkas, two days later day from the west end wearing shorts while dripping sweat. The second hike we brought peanut butter and banana sandwiches and sat on the side of a formation and ate while gazing at the amazing lunar scenery all around us. Later we ate Fig Newtons at Saddle Pass, elevation 300’ - there were Dall sheep grazing while we did that.

Being in the Badlands is chilly mornings and then the hot sun. It's the wind blowing past one’s ears. It's hearing the mumbling of fellow hikers a half mile away. It's quartz rocks just lying there where nature dropped them a hundred floods ago. It fills your spirit. The wind drowns the chatter in your head. You get to walk around and be there and that is practice for how to live anywhere.

We saw those curved horn Dall sheep, bazillions of perky prairie dogs, bison with their babies, and one coyote trotting through a prairie too fast for Len to get a photo. Which is how you know it was a Wiley coyote.

We’ve been home a week and on-going life is packed. Trying to write some other projects. One kid just moved. A grand-boy is having a birthday party next week. A new grandchild had surgery and is fine. I can’t keep up but I am trying hard to hear the wind whooshing past my ears as I live my lucky life.

I have 200 pretty good photos and here we go with hardly any of them.

 

 

 

Comments

Leonard's picture

They were always so far away. Oh, and this just in, we just got a post card from the coyote that Mary Beth talked about, "Hey, saw you guys. Sorry I couldn't stay for pics. Had some business to attend to. By the way, if someone tells you that one of the prairie dogs is missing, I don't know anything about it. Also, you should get a better password on your phone because a lot of guys out here know how to hijack your Chewy account, but not me, for sure."

Loved hearing about your vacation. Len’s comment/postcard made me laugh!

Enjoyed reading about the trip, we texted as we all drove back from our trips (Lincoln Nebraska was not quiet the same)... The photos of the amazing landscape, and Len's comments made my day... Thanks

Glad you had a wonderful vacation! "Being able to remember good times together is a luxury," it is indeed, my friend. Thank you for sharing them with us. Be well! Patricia

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Happy Birthday to Len

11/30/2022 

Today is Len’s birthday. I told him this morning I might write about him but I would let him read whatever I said first. He said not to run it past him, he’d like the surprise of reading it when you all do. Let’s see what I come up with.

1. This is cute. Len was born in Chicago’s Passavant Memorial Hospital which was the grandparent hospital to Northwestern’s Prentice Women’s Hospital - where two of our grandkids were born.

Stories, Q Club, Us

The photo is not by Len or me, its from I Love Canada on FB. I've seen a sky like that just once. 

11/21/2022

Last week I read two books about young people who left their homes. They experienced some good and too many rough experiences and they couldn’t go back until they figured out how to not be who they used to be. Both novels knocked my socks off.

The People You Keep by Allison Larkin

Covid Diary #979 - Still Paying Attention?

11/17/2022

Yes, it’s been 979 days since Friday the 13th, March 2020, when everything changed.

Last Saturday one of our kids visited for several hours with their kids. It was fun though our kid looked tired. They said they’d taken a Covid test that morning and it was negative. They figured it was the wine and rich foods they’d shared the evening before with friends at the end of a very busy week.

Next Day - What Are You Seeing?

11/9/2022

It was a late night last night, wasn’t it? Len worked at a polling place 6:30 AM until 10:30 PM. He said the actual experience is a lot like working retail (which he has not done since he was 22). Stand up most of the time, pleasantly say the same thing over and over. Wonder if lunch is soon.  

Professional reporters and pundits are talking a lot about “what just happened”, but heck, we are noticing interesting things, too.  Let’s talk about what We The People saw and heard and are watching now.

Here are some things catching my attention.

Election Day

11/8/2022 

So many times I’ve thought things were going to be okay, and then they weren’t. My dad had that heart attack and the kid who was MB back then told herself to not overthink the drama because things always turn out more or less okay. Then the next day he died.

We lost a pregnancy far enough along that we had a name picked out and a crib in which to put that child. For a week I had all the misery and cramps that go with miscarrying and I still thought somehow it was going to work out okay.

That Beep-Beep-Beeping Moment.

In spring Len got a $100 traffic ticket when he turned right at a corner we’ve been turning right at for seven years. However, construction had started and there were orange barrels and cones everywhere – plus a small sign NOT facing the street Len was on, telling drivers to not turn there.

Len went back later that day and took photos. Len called the city to mention that if they posted a sign that actually faced the traffic, the city could save the cost of the cop parked there ticketing drivers.

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