Monday, September 14, 2009

Was It Worth Seeing?

Leaving DesMoines the next morning, we
traveled north and west through the Iowa
countryside on two lane highways. It was
a lovely drive through surprisingly rolling
scenery. Iowa is not totally flat after all, but
we did notice that Iowa is pretty much totally
corn and soybeans. Imagine a whole state
given over to two crops. At least, that's the
way it seemed to us along the roads we chose.

We arrived at my cousin Beth's home in
South Dakota on Saturday afternoon. I had not seen Beth for 50 years, since we were girls in high school. She had changed very little, and it was a joy to see her again and get to know her husband. We went to church with them on Sunday and were privileged to hear her and her daughter play an organ/piano prelude. She and her husband are both accomplished musicians.

That afternoon Beth and I went to see her mom, my Aunt Grace. Aunt Grace is in a care home, and is unable to walk anymore--her legs have simply worn out, and no wonder as she is a remarkable 97 years old! What a wonderful thing to see her again and find her smiling and still able to take part in our conversation.

On Monday we said farewell and headed for Mitchell, S. Dak. to see the famous "corn palace." I'll quote Dr. Samuel Johnson on this one: "Was it worth seeing? Yes. Was it worth going to see?" Well, if we had gone out of our way to see it, I would have been disappointed. But it wasn't out of our way, and it was an interesting concept for a small city to promote as a way of putting itself on the map. Also, the building is used for many purposes: dances, large meetings, banquets, etc.

In Mitchell we also saw the primitive Indian village, an archeological dig with a museum. That was worth seeing also. It's unusual in that a large structure has been built over the main section of the archeological dig, enabling them to work there year-round. We enjoyed the short film introduction and the displays in the small museum. If you get to Mitchell, take it in.

Next up was the capitol of Pierre, South Dakota. Following our usual procedure, we checked into a motel, relaxed for the evening, and went in the morning to see the capitol. Interestingly, this third capitol building followed the trend toward modesty that had been set: it was much more modest than the previous two. There was a self-guiding tour available, which we followed. It was a lovely building, very clean, and well maintained.

Finished with that we took a short hike around the Capitol Lake, and up the hill to the Cultural Heritage
Center, a very good museum. The native Sioux
creation stories are eerily close to the Biblical account. There is the idea of an Edenic beginning; a disobedience that resulted in a life of stress and trouble on earth; and a "redeemer" who self-sacrificially helps the people.

I'll close today with a quote that we saw on the back of an SUV:

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