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All I Want for Christmas

Dec 24, 2013

My exile continues. Work keeps my family away from the lake, the prairie, the river, the Hills, all those singular South Dakota places where we find our friends and relatives and neighbors living in just two degrees of separation. 

As I hear from home of the temps dropping to two degrees, I still say I'd rather be in South Dakota on a cold winter day than anywhere else on a warm day.

In response to that statement, a couple of correspondents have questioned my veracity and sanity. But I mean it.

I like traveling. I like driving new roads, biking new trails, hiking new hills. But I'd still rather be in South Dakota.

I'd rather be attending a campaign debate in Rapid City to see which Mike Rounds shows up: the flesh-and-blood former governor or the cardboard cut-out that Annette Bosworth made. I'd also enjoy seeing if the audience could tell the difference.

I'd rather be judging a real high school debate at tournaments in Brookings and Watertown, where, among hundreds of smart South Dakota kids, I'd likely get to see the Senate candidates for 2044 sharpening their logic and speaking skills.

I'd rather be the embedded journalist on Rick Weiland's tour of the state, watching him crunch across snowy driveways to win one vote at a time in Victor, LaBolt, Broadland, Philip, and Rowena.

I'd rather be in Sioux Falls, asking Steve Hickey how his change of heart on the death penalty is going over with his conservative friends and what other political surprises he may spring on us.

I'd rather be in Mitchell, interviewing a young Sudanese boy who was brought to America because he's strong and tall and can play basketball, and ask him how he feels about being in South Dakota, far away from home, at Christmastime. 

I'd rather be driving to Aberdeen and Huron, following the money trail of EB-5 money from Northern Beef Packers and Dakota Provisions to pockets as yet undiscovered.

I'd rather be in Lake Andes, talking face to face with friends who knew and now miss Richard Benda.

I'd rather be in Pierre watching politicians and in the Black Hills watching pine beetles (insert your clever analogies here).

I'd rather be in Butte County, listening to ranchers talk about rebuilding their herds and wondering if it would just be easier to trade their quiet ranches for the restless man camps of the Bakken and make their fortunes in oil. 

My columns sometimes cast a cold critique of South Dakota. But really, I'd rather be in South Dakota on a cold Christmas day— or any other day — than anywhere else. Merry Christmas, neighbors!

 

Editor's Note: Cory Heidelberger is our political columnist from the left. For a right-wing perspective on politics, please look for columns by Dr. Ken Blanchard on this site.

Cory Allen Heidelberger writes the Madville Times political blog. He grew up on the shores of Lake Herman. He studied math and history at SDSU and information systems at DSU, and has taught math, English, speech, and French at high schools East and West River.


Comments

11:37 am - Tue, December 24 2013
Bernie said:
Merry Christmas to you and Erin, Cory. We know, from many years of publishing the magazine and sending it to the far corners of the earth -- to soldiers, students, and all the others who are away from home for a few years or a few decasdes -- that many of the most loyal South Dakotans don't always have a 605 area code. You can be a South Dakotan anywhere. It's a strange but wonderful thing.
06:36 am - Wed, December 25 2013
Ed said:
Glad to see Cory loves South Dakota, it must be because of the way the state has been run for years.
09:18 am - Wed, December 25 2013
Ed: replace "because" with "in spite of".
09:26 am - Wed, December 25 2013
Porter Hardy Lansing IV-Watertown class of 1971 said:
Merry Christmas, Cory. Your resolve is quite commendable...(no BUT needed).
09:30 am - Wed, December 25 2013
James cadwell said:
Looking forward to your thought provoking comments and stories. Someone has to keep us honest!
10:26 am - Wed, December 25 2013
tara volesky said:
Cory, hurry home. We need investigative reporters that go right to the source and aren't worried about their bottom line. Thanks for helping wake up SD. Your readership is looking forward to having you back in SD.
07:20 pm - Wed, December 25 2013
Mary Perpich said:
Well done Cory. Hurry back home.
07:51 am - Thu, December 26 2013
Thank you, friends! There's lots of news to cover -- thank goodness for phones and Internet!

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