Don’t Know Much About History

     But I am learning something now!  Isn’t it strange how we are forced to learn things in school that we have absolutely no interest in at the time?  I don’t understand why we need to make some teachers miserable with our presence in their classrooms if we know we won’t like what they are trying to teach us.  I know all kids need to learn how to read and text but most other subjects are questionable these days. 


     Maybe that’s a bit extreme but with the way the world is now, is it really?  With texting so popular people no longer need to write an entire sentence or word for that matter.   Twitter only allows 140 characters for people to get their story out so it is near impossible to use complete sentences.  Who has time to capitalize and punctuate when they are live chatting with friends online?


     I apologize for getting off on a tangent (is that a math and English term)? I guess I want to apologize to Mr. Kjera, my history teacher my sophomore year, I couldn’t have cared less about whatever it was you were saying then, but now I do enjoy learning about history.  Mrs. Marquardt, I know you did your best to teach me math and if you are reading this then you’ll take comfort in knowing I am finally learning my multiplication table along with my children but I still use my fingers.  She was my math teacher my Junior and Senior year, bless her heart.  As long as I’m at it, to those teachers who taught subjects I can’t even remember the names of any longer, I’m sorry I was a hellion.  Especially my computer teacher, it was just much more fun to try to type with my nose since I was so fast with my fingers.  And Rogo, I’m really right-handed.  He was my gym teacher who never knew how I could letter in three sports but not manage to hit a badminton birdie or tennis ball.  It was my goal in high school gym to not break a sweat.  I may as well thank the ones I did enjoy throughout the years of my academics…  Hmmm.  Hang on… I know I will think of one…  Oh yes, Mrs. Kimball!  My most favorite teacher of all time.  Elementary music class, she and Mister Hook were the best, thank you for instilling a love of music in me.  Mr. Mages was great, Mrs. Crane tops, Mrs. Braun good and of course Senora Eikhoff my tolerant Spanish Teacher of 3 years, Entonces…


     Back to the present or actually the past because I’m talking about History but that we just learned about yesterday.  Oh, I’m happy I don’t have to pick the correct form of the Spanish verb for this entry. 


     We woke up somewhere in South Dakota yesterday morning with a dinosaur staring at us.  Here’s testing my memory, I don’t even know who attempted to teach me about dinosaurs but I wasn’t listening.  This dinosaur was green, the one with the long neck, I think it’s a vegetarian because its neck allows it to eat from the tree tops.  Oh, I can’t think of it, it’s a popular one though.  Anyway, it’s the logo for the Sinclair Gas Station chain.  Yes, we camped in the middle of nowhere South Dakota in a gas station parking lot along with a handful of semi trucks.  We’re not in the BWCA anymore Rugby.  (That’s like saying we’re not in Kansas anymore Toto, I plan to use the saying again in the future so I thought I would explain it to those of you who don’t understand my humor).

Mt. Rushmore


         The highlight of the day was not running out of gas but was visiting Mt.Rushmore.  Each time I see those faces carved from stone I am amazed.  The sky is always bright blue behind their majestic white faces in the rock.  The story of how each of the Presidents were chosen, the physical labor of those who worked on it over the years and the determination of all those involved is admirable.  I learned something new about the Mt.Rushmore project yesterday that I feel the need to share.


     The person who came up with the idea to create the monument did so to promote tourism in the area.  I refuse to mention his name, one because I can’t remember it and two because it was probably someone else’s idea he just got credit for anyway.  The point is there were people in the area who didn’t want to destroy the natural beauty of the Badlands by carving in the rock.  There were local folks who didn’t want to end up having to pay for the project out of their pockets.  There were people who said it would never work to draw tourists to the area.  Objections were brought forth continuously over the years but the people dedicated to the project saw it through and it has definitely promoted tourism in the area as well as patriotism and a reason for folks to see the incredibly beautiful natural world surrounding Mt. Rushmore.  Thank you all!


     We did a drive by of Crazy Horse on our way to the nation’s 1st National Monument.  Oddly enough the time it took to drive from Mt.Rushmore to the Devil’s Tower was exactly the length of time it took for the Minnesota Vikings to beat Seattle.  This amazing piece of rock is quite the sight to see and I especially enjoy the Native’s story about how it was formed. 

National Monument


     One day, an Indian tribe was camped beside the river and seven small girls were playing at a distance.  The region had a large bear population and a bear began to chase the girls.  They ran back toward their village, but the bear was about to catch them.  The girls jumped upon a rock about three feet high and began to pray to the rock, “Rock, take pity on us; Rock, save us.”  The rock heard the pleas of the young girls and began to elongate itself upwards pushing them higher and higher out of reach of the bear.  The bear clawed and jumped at the sides of the rock, and broke its claws and fell to the ground.  The bear continued to jump at the rock until the girls were pushed up into the sky, where they are to this day in a group of seven little stars (the Pleiades).  The marks of the bear claws are there yet.  As one looks upon the tower and contemplates its unique-ness, it isn’t hard to imagine this legend as a fact.


     I will have to fill you in about the rest of the day, including running out of gas, later.  We did stop at Wall Drug but I forgot to bring my water bottle in for my free water, bummer.   We need to get on the Trail now, not the Gunflint but the Oregon and Mormon Trail in Wyoming.

Happy Trails to you!


Wall Drug