I used to read in history books about the fighting Italian City States would do and I would be confused. Sure, fighting for over land made sense but over honor? Who’s Saint or town flag was better? I didn’t get it.

Now I understand.

I love South Dakota. I used to be biased about the Hills, but the truth is, as I’ve traveled the state, every trip has shown me something to take my breath away. I-90 isn’t exactly picturesque, but it has its appeal. I love the Hills, obviously because they’re The Hills, and the beauty of the scenery is only rivaled by the character of the communities. But Rapid. . . I heart Rapid.

For the first 20 years of my life I rather disliked it. It was hot and sticky while the lake was cool. It involved awkward family visits or fighting through crowds at the tourist spots. But then I got to know the city and it won me over.

There are problems, of course, with policy and infrastructure. It lacks in true diversity and there is a tightly drawn cord of racial tension that is always strumming just beneath the surface. Love does not keep a record of wrongs I say! And how can someone hope for change if they don’t first love?

For all of her flaws, I love Rapid for the friendliness of people. Today it was woman at the neighborhood drugstore who remarked, “Well! Your face is sure healing nicely!” I was taken off guard as I’m not in there with great frequency and it’s been at least a months since I looked rough. When I, laughing, told her it was in fact much better, she went on to tell me all about her dad who has Alzheimer’s and who went to the dermatologist yesterday. It’s not the first time she and I have chatted but I wouldn’t know her if I saw her at the grocery store or in a restaurant. She didn’t have to enter in or open up like that. But it happens and happens often in this lovely city.

I came away saying a prayer of thanks for her, for this place that we live with its great faces and great places and our place in it. I’d champion this city’s goodness any day!
* The bumper sticker above Jac gave me for my birthday after I raved about it. The shop is a local designer from Sturgis. If you’re a fan of the Dakotas, Minnesota or any of the lovely western places, check out her great stuff! Oh Geez Design