Sioux Falls was the closest big city when I was growing up. My much smaller Iowa town where I was born was southeast of Sioux Falls by about 40 miles. Back in the early 1960’s, Sioux Falls wasn’t even that big, but compared to Rock Valley (population under 2,000) it was a metropolis. Sioux Falls offered the first of many things for this teen, pizza, fast food (McDonald’s), K-Mart, all night truck stop, plus a bustling downtown filled with fancy clothing stores, movie theaters with amazing architecture. The actual “Falls” for which the city was named alone is worth a trip. The pink/red Sioux Quartzite boulders/rocks which allow the waterfall’s 100 foot drop is stunning. Yup, Sioux Falls was the first city I ever loved.
Sioux Falls was also the first city where I committed a crime. Cliff note version: I stole (borrowed really, stole is so harsh) my host’s family car during a slumber party and drove it to the aforementioned all night truck stop with a load of girls egging me on for hamburgers at 2 in the morning. Then drove back, nestled it in it’s rightful parking spot with nary a dent or scratch, minus a half tank of gas. Ok, I was 14 and didn’t have my learner’s permit yet. Details, meh.
Both the Hub’s and I were fascinated with Sioux Falls and tried to move their numerous times during our long checkered marriage (I jest, we’re good people, well basically pretty good), but never managed to call that city home. The closest we came was in the early 70’s when Hubs had a job offer to work at Litton Industries, making microwaves, which were in their infancy. We wanted to take that job so bad. It all came down to money. We were starving working at Zenith in Sioux City. We just couldn’t take a pay cut to go to Litton, so Hubs turned it down. (Ended up moving to eastern Iowa, making toy tractors for a handful of crazy brothers (I kid you not, they were freaking nuts). Looking back it might have been better to take the cut in pay.
Lived in eastern Iowa, moved back to the northwest part, back to east side of the state, then the biggest jump of all, the move to Michigan in 1987 which we thought would be temporary, yet remain to this day. Didn’t see that one coming. The allure holding us here are our 3 adult children, their spouses, 4 grandchildren and one great grand, thus Iowa no longer has a very strong hold on us, but it remains number one in my heart.
I would dare say during our 30 plus years in Michigan we have gone back to Iowa to visit relatives 60-75 times. I could count on one hand how many of those visits did NOT include a trip to Sioux Falls, and I’d still have a couple fingers leftover. They have a lot to offer. Usually shopping trips because Sioux Falls built a couple of fabulous malls. South Dakota also deals in both Black Hills Gold and turquoise and silver jewelry which I’ve collected over the years, so that was a definite draw. Michigan might have more colleges and professional sports teams than Iowa, but we’ve never given up on the Hawkeyes (closest thing to a pro team as Iowa’s ever gonna get) so we were constantly looking for cool Iowa clothes.
So I have this special friend from my home town (one of many I’d like to think). Her name is Alma and she’s one of the funniest people I’ve ever met. (A much, much, much better writer than my nonsense. I’m insanely jealous of her clever style, and her vocabulary is phenomenal). Anyway, I gotta stop on the accolades for Alma or I’ll never get to Paul. Alma had a knee replacement a month before I did last year, so our recovery and progress have been similar. Moving forward with baby steps, hiccups causing a step back now and then.
Well Alma’s son is the City attorney for Sioux Falls, so he works for the mayor. Now we’re getting somewhere. The mayor is Paul. (Geez, that took long enough). Don’t know Paul, doubt if I’ll ever meet him but I like what I’ve read about him. He’s the same age group as my kids. Side note: Paul’s last name is very familiar to me. When I was a kid, Mom worked at a hatchery in Rock Valley, candling eggs (which involves closely inspecting the eggs. Mom held 4 eggs at a time in a windowless, pitch black room) under a very strong pinpointed light to spot any defects. She worked for a couple of guys, one was named Harold Ten Haken, which happens to be mayor Paul’s last name. I don’t know if they’re related. The name may sound unique but in northwest Iowa it’s quite common (and understated compared to some of the Dutch names).
Some of you know I’ve been a pretty consistent walker since 1998. The last 5 years have been injury prone but I’ve rediscovered how much better my life is when I start it off with a walk/music in the morning. After surgery, physical therapy, a fall, more therapy I decided it was time to start walking again “with purpose” as Al Swearengen would say. Bought new shoes, new headphones, developed a new attitude. Got an app to track my steps which has almost been my undoing. Don’t get me wrong, I love it but find it troubling that I’m this competitive-with an inanimate object. The first time I hit 10,000 steps in a day, my pedometer app rewarded me with a periwinkle ticker-tape explosion. “Aww, just for me? You shouldn’t have.”
But that was just the beginning. The app tracks a lot of data for and about me, most I’m clueless about. Floors, streaks, goals, milestones. But the more I hit the periwinkle daily goal of 10,000 steps (and my ticker tape parade) the more inclined I was to keep going, not break the streak, walking everyday. I have the feeling the person who developed this app has a warped personality. Take my stats for last week. I was plugging right along, hitting my daily goals when Thursday dawned with cold rain and wind. There’s not even a mall open where I could do some laps, but I was desperate, so I snuck into Meijer. (Don’t worry I wore a mask as a disguise, making it much harder to recognize me or breathe, plus it fogged up my glasses constantly. Gotta say, not a big fan of the mask). At the end of the day I had maybe 7,500 steps which shows up in yellow on the app. Next morning I noticed there were 4 tiny z’s in my disappointing slot, acknowledging me as a slacker/sleeper/slug for the day. Nothing like some derogatory implications for inspiration.
Alma retired after working as an RN in Sioux Falls most of her career so she still has a lot of ties to that city. She reposted a Sioux Falls challenge by mayor Paul. (He’s a fitness nut, does triathlons). His hope that through the Covid pandemic, the folks in his fair city will continue social distancing/common sense but at the same time exercise for their physical and mental health. His challenge is walking 100 miles in 100 days, which started April 20th. It’s on the honor system so Alma posted a selfie when she had reached a certain number of days/miles in a row. I complimented her and asked if you had to be a Sioux Falls resident to participate? (she is not) Could a foreign subject from waaay out east join in the challenge? She gave a hearty, “go for it Denise.”
Just when I’m getting this cool daily walking rhythm, a problem niggles in. I don’t know whether to call it my good leg or bad. It’s my left leg which still has the knee I was born with. Started aching all day long, in back, mid-thigh to mid calf. Not debilitating but bothersome, especially if I’ve been “dormant” for an hour or 2, then get up and try to move. Much as I’d like to continue with my frenzied pace, (hahaha) I think I’ve been a bit overzealous. However, now I risk the wrath/sarcasm/bullying issue by pissing off my pedometer app because I’m not hitting 10,000 steps a day.
For now it looks as though mayor Paul is gonna have to compete in his next triathlon (I’m not even quite sure what this event involves) without this great grandma. But I’m hoping to hit my first 100 miles of his 100 miles/100 days challenge way before the end of July. Since I don’t do selfies it’s doubtful he’ll know how many miles I walk before the challenge is over but I’ve started a new album in my pictures so I can keep track of my weekly successes though it’s not gonna total 35 miles a week like the last 2. Gotta be thankful and pleased I’m walking in earnest at all. And I am. Really…