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Unlike my neighbors, friends and co-workers who waste their valuable free time on silly summertime hobbies like fishing, camping or golf, I spend the majority of mine watering the lawn, flowers and a few tomato plants. I can't believe folks leave such summer fun as dragging garden hoses around to automated sprinklers. How fun is that? I seldom go more than a day without hand watering, but earlier this week I slacked off and missed a couple of consecutive days. The plants and lawn looked like they were minutes away from cardiac arrest.
Every time someone visits, like most of us, I show them around town and all of the new developments. Blessed with a gift for stating the obvious, our town is just a whole lot bigger than it was when I moved here. Depending on how you are affected by the rapid growth, you may see it as a curse or an answer to prayers. Regardless, there is no doubt that our population is close to, if not already, double what it was six years ago. When the oil development began, folks in the know started predicting a population of 30,000 in Dickinson within five years.
Last week I wrote about my impending float trip on the Missouri River in Montana. I mentioned there was better-than-average chance we would either dump the canoe or get drenched in a rain storm. Thankfully, my son Tom and I stuffed our vessel with enough camping equipment and supplies that despite our best efforts, the canoe remained upright for the 48-mile trip. Unfortunately, Mother Nature came through to ensure that we could appreciate a wet wilderness experience. The rain really was just a drizzle as we launched the canoe on Thursday afternoon.
By the time you read this on Friday morning, despite gobs of sunscreen, I should be slightly sunburned. Mosquitos will have ignored the world's best insect repellent I have lathered on myself and will be treating me as their own feast. My stomach will certainly feel the effects of camp cooking and the previous night's cigars and adult beverages. My arms and back will ache from sleeping on the ground and the constant paddling required on my upper Missouri River canoe trip.
Since I moved to my new house three years ago, most of my mornings begin with an hour walk on a route that includes the perimeter of the beautiful Dickinson State University campus. Thursday morning, as I admired the finely manicured grounds, two thoughts came to mind.
Roughrider Days Fair and Expo truly is a rodeo and so much more. This year's event began with a youth rodeo on June 8, got into full swing with the carnival and concluded with last night's fireworks. Roughrider Days is a true community event with something for everyone. Anyone who couldn't find something to do the last two days in Dickinson wasn't looking very hard.
Congratulations to everyone celebrating a class reunion this week, and welcome home to those who live elsewhere and are back to reconnect with your classmates. Thomas Wolfe's novel "You Can't Go Home Again" wasn't written about high school reunions but, for the most part, you can come pretty close by reminiscing with your old chums.
Scandals, cover-ups, half-truths and lies coming from the White House are nothing new to this child of the '60s. Judging by the time spent on CYB (cover your backside), some of the qualifications to be president must be extreme trust, naivety to the point of being laughable or simple incompetence. Let's see. There was President John F. Kennedy's rumored mafia ties, election buying and White House infidelity. There was the escalation of the Vietnam War and rumors of his own infidelity when Lyndon B.
Three of the best mentors I've had are the fathers in my life. Good mentors are folks who you learn from, not so much what they say but more about the way they live their lives. My dad, rest his soul, taught me a man's word is his bond and to treat others like you would want to be treated. I learned from him if you give an honest day's work to your employer, you will never have to worry about making a living. He taught me to say "Yes sir," and "No, ma'am," and never to swear around a woman or child. I was in high school before I found out he even knew how to swear.
I confess that I commit more than my share of the seven deadly sins on a daily, if not hourly, basis. Tuesday morning, topping the list was No. 4, Envy (definition: jealousy; wanting to have what someone has) after reading the story about the State Board of Higher Education voting to remove Chancellor Hamid Shirvani and buying him out of his three-year contract. On Monday, the board took up a proposal Shirvani submitted more than a week earlier to either allow him to continue his three-year contract with "complete autonomy and full support of the board" or buy out his contract.