A Real Local

Joey here. Still in South Dakota.

Two of our new friends drove to Winner from a Minneapolis suburb. At breakfast …

… dutiful retiree Jim wore a mask at the behest of his spouse …
… Roxanne, an RN with a long and interesting career, who now tests nursing assistant candidates for the State of Minnesota. (Roxanne practices what she preaches. She doffed her mask only briefly, for the photo.)

They were patient with Jeffrey and his “elevator speech” about refugees and asylum. They understand the value of Human Rights First.

Today’s 66 mile journey began with 8 miles pedaling into a cold and powerful headwind. What has Donald Duck to do with pheasants and this weathered house?
Then we turned north, on roads and through countryside similar to what we saw yesterday.
After the turn, the headwind was a sidewind. Sometimes it was difficult to steer. Jeffrey quickly tired of the wind’s roar. Drive on a highway with all your car windows open and you’ll understand. Whoever lived in this windswept abandoned house would understand too.
Open spaces can be hypnotic.
We were tempted to stop and look and just … be. But like Robert Frost, we had promises to keep, and miles to go before we sleep.
The road here was so rough that we had to use the brakes all the way down.
If we took I-90 East from Reliance, SD (pop. 128), after 1200 miles it would become the New York State Thruway. Four hundred miles after that, we’d be home in NYC (pop. 9,000,000).
Instead we took the Lewis & Clark Trail north to Ft. Thompson (pop. 1282).
We scared flocks of birds along the way. We’ve also scared prairie dogs, horses, deer, cattle, and other creatures. Animals and humans tend to fear the unusual: for many animals, recumbent cyclists; for many people, refugees.
We descended to the Missouri River.
“Next 2 Miles”? How about the last 200?
This 1966 dam created Lake Sharpe. Atop the dam, we crossed the Missouri.
Arresting word choice.
At this motel, we talked with LaFae, who preferred not to be photographed. LaFae has lived nowhere but on the Crow Creek Sioux reservation. She hasn’t thought much about immigrants. It’s enough for LaFae to keep her own life together. We understand.
Daniel is more philosophic.

He grew up in Montana and returned to the Crow Creek reservation to be with his people. Despite being regarded as a newcomer, by working in a popular convenience store he has gotten to know and to be accepted by his neighbors.

Daniel is a devout Jehovah’s Witness who has made mistakes and learned from them. He holds himself to high standards. Young himself, we think he tries extra hard to be an example to even younger people because (he said) Covid exacted a terrible toll among tribal elders, leaving the young adrift. Not everyone has Daniel’s intellectual and emotional tools, nor his faith, to cope with the community’s loss of the elders’ wisdom.

Daniel taught Jeffrey about local politics, local problems, politicians’ abuse and distortion of Scripture, and a prophesy from (fittingly) the Book of Daniel.

Daniel—who with his people inherited this land whether or not outsiders recognize it—believes it’s important to help people who seek refuge in America.

While Daniel waits for the Almighty to set things right, he does what he can to repair the world.

So can we. With words. With actions. And with a donation to Human Rights First.

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