I thought for sure I was going to blog from the road. Then, about ten miles from our house on our way out I looked at Ron and noted that was not going to touch a computer for the weekend. This was going to be a break from everything. So off we were, out into the great state of South Dakota.
The above picture is taken as you go past Chamberlain. This is my favorite or almost favorite part,where you see the landscape start to change, that's when I feel we are really on vacation. Ron and I got to talk alot on our trip, since we feel like we just can't at home.
I don't know why we feel we can't.
I mean, doesn't everyone have meaningful conversations while holding 3 kids and changing a diaper or when your being run over by a cow while trying to fix your hot shot...isn't the conversation always sweet and thoughtful? =)
Look away if you must, but we did a lot of this...
Eegads! Don't you know what happens when this starts? =) After 7 years, were still nerdy lovebirds.. Or Ron stays because child support will kill him.
The first stay of our trip was very special to me. Every time we go out to the hills, I always mention to Big D that I want to "get off the trail" and take some back roads. This time we did and I got to meet a great lady that I have been corresponding on and off for about a year. She is a Lakota Indian on the Pine Ridge Reservation in Southwest South Dakota. She works for the Sacred Heart Catholic Church as a secretary as well as many other jobs that she handles effortlessly throughout their church.
Never having been on a reservation, it was something to see. Ron and I are both history buffs and love all the stories of the Plains Indian Wars (both sides) as well as Native American history. We visited the Rosebud first where I sent Ron and Cody on a turkey hunt this spring.
Then on to the Pine Ridge to meet up with my friend, Angie.
I wanted to take more pictures. I was in awe of what I saw and didn't even think of it. Both reservations were amazing places. I have a bunch of words to describe them, especially the Pine Ridge...
Vast, sad, beautiful, broken, wondrous, proud, dilapidated, sacred....
What an experience. If you have the time, google the Pine Ridge, better yet, visit. Also, if you are on Facebook, like Sacred Heart Church Pine Ridge.
What's neat about Angie is she really takes care of her community. While we were there, someone came in for a food donation and with a "no-nonsense" approach, she directed him to where he needed to go (they have a stocked food shelf there). Then she began showing us around. She has a great attitude and didn't make anybody feel out of place. We met the lay person as well as his grand kids. Charles was a super guy.
Ron and I went there to donate three garbage size bags of clothes, mostly baby stuff, which she said was in high demand. The neat thing is this: their church puts a minimal price on things (unless it's for a foster care situation) that way, this society is learning that even though a piece of clothing is .10 for example, they are paying money and feeling pride because they bought it for themselves and are taking care of their family.
Unfortunately she brought us to a corner where there was a pile of clothes that weren't fit for anyone to wear. It's a shame that people would give stuff that was so dirty and ripped that it wasn't wearable. She also mentioned a time where they got a load of left hand gloves. What? She laughed and said, "what, are we supposed to put our other hand in our pockets?" Too bad my sister Sarah didn't know about this, she would've went down there and showed them how to make glove rooster stuffed animals. =)
Big D and I left there feeling warm, accepted and a feeling of, "what could we do to help them out more?"
We talked all the way up to Deadwood about the reservation, the hope you felt in that church, the prejustices that they face, etc. I had someone ask me why I cared about them so much, saying that they are just lazy and drunks, etc.
I care so much because they are people just like you and me. They live in extreme poverty the way I did before my parents moved us to town. They are a proud people, where a great many are finding ways to climb to independence and not be dependent on others. As once a single mother I understand that. After all, how far would a carpenter get building a house with no tools? In a sense they have no tools and that's what they need.
It is a whole other world there and I wish more people would visit it. Not only to see that people right in our own backyard need help, but experience the beauty, pride and hope that abounds there.
If you have anything to send them or would like to learn more about them, you can send an email or mail to:
Sacred Heart Church
State Hwy 18
Pine Ridge, SD 57770
Here's what I'm doing. The first five people that send a $30+ gift card to Walmart or Target for the Catholic Church to the address above with a note that tells Angie to let me know who did it, I will make them one of my Christmas wreaths for free.
Thank you and open your eyes and heart to people, no matter what. It's a great feeling.