Thomas Wolfe wrote a novel some years ago that suggested that you can’t go home again…and he’s wrong. We just finished visiting my former home, Rapid City, South Dakota, and it was even more charming than I had remembered as a kid–and the city hasn’t changed as much as I have. I lived in Rapid from 1968 to 1971; old pictures say that I was pencil-thin and had a bit of a moptop–words that haven’t been used to describe me since about 1980. But I do still use pencils and (occasionally) mops.
Last night near Main Street Square in Rapid, we had a lovely dinner at the Independent Ale House (who in the world wants partisan ale, anyway?). Apparently enjoying local fare means 46 beers on tap, Sicilian pizza and Greek Salad. The food was very good, the service great, beer selection excellent, and there was a moving display of beers that even included the date that the keg was tapped.
The opportunity to drive by my former houses and a few other significant places in town, like Dinosaur Park, was a strong draw…and Souzz was extraordinarily patient. She even repeated a few of my sister’s poses from 1968 (see photos).
After visiting Rapid City, we had a nice visit to Mount Rushmore and Custer State Park and are now heading south to Pringle, a small community of about a hundred that my brother Jack calls home. Jack has always called summer tourists (like us) “pilgrims,” so I am tempted to show up in a Miles Standish costume. But whatever I wear when I go to Pringle, my experience in Bell Fourche taught me one thing: it won’t be shorts.