Thoughts on Pierre, South Dakota

In our summer sojourn this year, Hubby and I stayed for several days in Pierre, South Dakota. If you call the town Pee-air, people know you’ve never been there. However, if you call the town by its correct pronunciation, you will call the town “Peer” just like the people of the Dakotas.
Pierre is Hubby’s hometown so we’ve been here a lot over the past three decades. As with any town, it’s changed a lot in that time, but some things never change. The state capitol building still sits in the middle, overlooking the Missouri River and Fort Pierre on the other side. Fort Pierre is in another county and in the Mountain Time Zone, although most of its residents and businesses function as the Central Time Zone like Pierre. Except for the bars. They like staying open an extra hour on the other side of the river.
Nowadays, Pierre is a charming small town, with a little less than 15,000 residents, located in the middle of the Great American Outback called the Northern Great Plains. It’s one of the smallest state capitols in the nation. Nearby are state parks for recreation, a water front park for swimming, boating, and fishing, and a fantastic historical museum. And the best part of Pierre is Zesto, the best ice cream stand in America. I highly recommend the Muddy River sundae (chocolate/vanilla twist ice cream, hot fudge, and Oreos). The Turtle sundae and the seasonal Peach Cobbler sundae are outstanding as well.
Classmates of Hubby’s who live in town are still friends and we get together with them when we’re here. They’ve adopted me as one of the 71ers and I’m proud to be included. They’re wonderful people.
This year’s discussion was the “Senior Kegger” after graduation which none of the classmates remember attending. They wondered if it was just something that was talked about and never took place or if anyone who went won’t admit to it. No matter. To rectify the situation, next year’s class reunion theme will be the Senior Kegger, with a different connotation to the word “senior.” Some of them are already wondering if the keg will hold Ensure or some other supplemental drink. While I don’t drink alcohol or Ensure and don’t encourage others to, I found it poignant how the passage of time may change the meaning of words, but the long-time friendships remain strong. They keep up with how the other 71ers are doing so word is passed around when other classmates have successes, trials, or illnesses. They work hard at it so they won’t be like the 73ers who were honoring those of their classmates who had passed when one of those being honored walked in the door. Imagine the faces of those seeing the supposedly dead and the supposedly dead who didn’t know he had been declared dead. An awkward situation to say the least.

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