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Dear Dickinson. You could be a really nice city. That’s right, with some paint, a lawnmower and a little more effort, this community could really sparkle. In fact, it could be the nicest city in the state. After all, Dickinson is located near the prettiest area in North Dakota, the Badlands, so why shouldn’t it be the prettiest city in the state? It should be and yet it’s not. Why? Because there’s too much paint peeling, too much junk lying around and too many backyards unattended.
Guess what? No one is perfect. But you may already know that. Michael Jordan was pretty close, except for that gambling addiction. Pete Rose wasn’t bad either, but he had the same problem. John F. Kennedy was a very compelling, rock-star-like president with a pretty wife. But his behind-the-scenes indiscretions are the things of legend. Even the apostle Peter, who is considered the foundation of the Christian church, had trouble admitting who he knew, whenever a cock crowed. So, it’s apparently true that everyone has a weakness or two.
The older I get, the more I like space. Not the kind of space that lies beyond the Earth’s atmosphere, but the kind of space that includes more elbow room, breathing room, height and width. I’m not just talking about the countryside, hills, valleys, pastures, fields and fresh air. I’m also talking about different dimensions of space that are worth protecting. Your personal space also includes the distance that encompasses your audio zone. And what is your audio zone?
Did you know that mutiple solar energy advocates believe the amount of money we’ve spent on the Iraq and Afghanistan wars would have paid to put solar panels for every rooftop in America? Now, since solar panels save at least half of your electric bill, on average, that would mean a savings of billions by now. That’s an interesting statistic. Here’s another one: Did you know that 90 percent of the food we buy in our supermarkets didn’t exist 100 years ago?
Where are the two most peaceful places on Earth? For me, it’s a barbershop and wherever there is a farrier. Whenever I go to a barbershop to get my hair cut or to a farrier to get my horses’ hooves trimmed, I am able to escape from the outside world and totally relax. That’s all well and good, you might say. But some of you also might be asking, what the heck is a farrier? It’s a person who bends over all day, holds horse’s hooves between his or her knees, trims their hooves and nails on metal shoes. Why do horses wear shoes?
SENTINEL BUTTE -- Sometimes, it’s nice to know it’s not about the money. That point was driven home to me last Saturday in Sentinel Butte at the Home on the Range facility for disadvantaged youth. You see, for the 59th time, the Champions Ride Saddle Bronc Match rodeo was held to raise funds for the disadvantaged young people housed there, to allow them to experience the same things in life that you and I take for granted. Because the purpose of the Home on the Range facility is to help these kids overcome whatever trauma it is that they’ve experienced in life.
The nations that make up OPEC, the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, and the oil companies are going to hate this column. Why? Because it points out that, for the next generation, which is my son’s generation, when you look at what’s “in” and what is “out,” oil is out. Eventually it is going away.
According to Mr. Dictionary, a parade is a procession of people, usually organized along a street, often in costume, and often accompanied by marching bands, floats or sometimes large balloons. Yet, I was at the North Dakota State Fair Parade in Minot last weekend and I saw none of the above. Instead, I saw pickup truck after pickup truck with signs taped to them, sometimes pulling trailers that hauled a few people advertising this or that, throwing out some candy here and there. What was my conclusion? We are in a parade crisis, folks. It’s the same everywhere.
Do you work out? No, I’m not asking if you go to the recreation center and lift weights, run on a treadmill or play basketball. I’m asking if you “work out” your brain. You see, your brain is a muscle. Now, since you know I’m not in possession of a medical degree, you might tend to question my expertise on the human brain. But I can assure you that, in my case, I’ve earned a doctorate degree from the school of hard knocks, literally.
What did you do this past Fourth of July weekend? Did you get out of town? The weekend started for me on Thursday night in Dickinson at the Alive@5 street festival, continued in Belle Fourche, S.D., at the Black Hills Roundup Rodeo and ended on the streets of Deadwood, S.D., the gambling capitol of the Dakotas. During the course of it all, I learned a few things. For example, on Saturday night at the rodeo, I picked up the beer can by my feet and dropped it into a garbage can at the base of the bleachers on my way out. I can’t say that was a typical act.