This Christmas season brought our family joy and surprises. Our clever and quirky son, and his smart and beautiful wife, visited us for Thanksgiving. They called it "Thanksgifting" because we celebrated Christmas at the same time. And we had two turkeys, so hey, let's celebrate Thanksgifting every year. My feisty father-in-law, who is a World War II Air Force vet and hero, turned 96 years old on January 2. He still lives in his own home in New Rockford, with some help from my sister-in-law.
Two things you need to know about me. First, I am a student at Dickinson State, pursuing a degree in theater. Second, I am kinda thick between the ears at times. Put those two things together, and the results can be, well, let me explain. Now I am not exactly on the four-year plan for college graduation. In fact, at the rate I am accumulating credits, I will probably be a proud member of the 2025 graduating class.
Do you envy graceful people? Those lucky folks who can run on a treadmill and talk at the same time? Or who can walk on an uneven sidewalk without watching their feet? Or who can walk anywhere without watching their feet? I am not one of those people. I trip over the nap in the carpet. I bend over to pick up flug from the corner, and bump my head on the wall. I open the door and bash it into my forehead. Keep that in mind. Because there I was this weekend, on the stage in Stickney Auditorium, trying to sing and dance at the same time. Sometimes in the dark.
Have you been to the Pride of Dakota Harvest Showcase at the West River Ice Center this weekend? You still have time. It closes at 4:00 today. The phrase "Pride of Dakota" just makes you feel good, doesn't it? South Dakota have Mt. Rushmore, but up here we have Pride. We have pride in our locally-made products.
Were you ever lucky enough to land a perfect summer job? No, me either. I worked in a factory for a whole two weeks one summer. Until I fell into a half-ton vat of plastic chips. I was supposed to climb up a ladder, dip a bucket into the plastic chips, and feed them into a hopper. Parts one and two went just dandy, but part three — feeding the hopper — ended badly. Don't ask. Anyway, Presley Weiler, a newly-minted Dickinson High graduate, has been working at the Badlands Ministries camp, near Medora, for the past three summers. It is her dream job.
MEDORA—Boots Bar & Grill in Medora is a hometown restaurant with an international connection. A major part of the food and beer they serve is locally sourced, while their summer employees are students from all over the world. Manager Melissa Schneider said, "We try to stick with as much local products as we can. It is a big deal for me to order products from Montana." Schneider said Boots has seven beers on tap from Beaver Creek Brewery in Wibaux. Those Beaver Creek beers are featured prominently in Boots' Sunday Funday summer events.
Diamond Truck Equipment, on 27th Ave. East in the Dickinson Energy Center industrial park, has been modifying and customizing trucks and equipment since 1964. They are now serving the third generation of their customers. Owner Gene Hoyt said, "I enjoy the people and the families. I've seen people come and go. People we did work for years ago, now we are dealing with their kids and grandkids."
Kids are encouraged to act up at Josh Nichols' Acting Up! studio in Park Square Mall in downtown Dickinson. Nichols began offering acting classes last fall, and his second series of classes started in mid-January, 2017. "It is necessary for youth in the community to have various and diverse sets of skills," Nichols said. "Acting provides a different skill set for them. Starting them early bolsters the community. I began acting in college, but if students become more involved earlier, it is better for them."
Old meets new at the recently opened Greene Goods and Gifts, located in the former Green Drug building at 16 West Villard in downtown Dickinson. "We wanted to keep with the history of Greene Drug. We have vintage, and we have made-to-order items," said Mary Anderson, executive director of ABLE, Inc. ABLE, Inc. is the service provider that operates Greene Goods and Gifts. ABLE, Inc. also operates the ABLE Thrift Store on West Villard. But they wanted a new store to showcase their made-to-order, Pride of Dakota textile products, which are made at their Bowman site.
When Johnny Conlon looked at the building across the alley from his home in Richardton, he did not just see an empty building. He saw an opportunity. On Oct. 28 of last year, Johnny's Café opened at 246 North Avenue East in downtown Richardton. "We needed a café in town. I've seen the vehicles come and go when it was closed. I thought, 'Gosh, I could do that,'" Conlon said. Conlon is originally from Dickinson, and wherever he has lived and worked, he has worked with food.