Monday, June 27, 2011

Returning the Car After Seeing the Art

We timed our move to coincide as closely as possible with the expiration of our 4-year auto lease.  So this morning, another major item came off our ever-dwindling checklist.  We returned our Honda Element to the dealership here in Sioux Falls (we originally leased it while living in Las Vegas).  When I checked the odometer, I saw that we had driven 3,281 miles (5,280 km) since leaving California June 2.

We're back here in Sioux Falls for a few days before we fly to Los Angeles to pick up our visas; we then head across the country to New York to see my mother, brother, and other family and friends; and then we head off to Spain.  We can't believe the big move is now less than two weeks away.  We're anxious to get going, but it's a joy to spend a little more time here in Sioux Falls with our other amazing nephew, niece-in-law, and their three exceptional children (and I speak of them all entirely without bias of any kind).

On our way from Pierre to Sioux Falls yesterday, we made a little stop in Huron to meet "Lavon," an old friend of ours (via Jerry's mother).  We hadn't seen Lavon in a long time and had a really wonderful lunch.  She's 89 and still bowls (which is how she met Jerry's mother in the 1970s) and golfs.  But she doesn't just bowl and golf; she bowls and golfs well.  She's got awards and trophies covering the shelves and walls of her apartment.  Buffets are standard fare in South Dakota.  So, we met Lavon at her favorite buffet restaurant in Huron; and it was good.  I ate healthy: an omelette and fresh fruit... I enjoyed it.  Jerry and Lavon had hearty food and gooey pastries... they enjoyed theirs even more.


I had never been in Huron before.  It's basically east of the middle of nowhere — two hours east of Pierre, which is in the center of South Dakota.  And, man, am I ever going to "get it" from Linda for equating Pierre with the middle of nowhere.  But, while I'm at it, I might as well mention two of my favorite Pierre T-shirts (especially since Linda bought me the first one way back in 1984; and I still have it; and it STILL fits).  1) Pierre, South Dakota, is not the end of the world.  But you can see it from there"; 2) "Welcome to Pierre, South Dakota.  Set your watches back 10 years."  You would truly appreciate T-shirt #1 had you spent Christmas 1983 with us in Sioux Falls (where we were stranded for three days) and Pierre.  The windchill was minus 81 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 63 degrees Celsius)!

The city of Huron (population approximately 13,000) was surprisingly charming with a wonderful public arts project — outdoor murals gracing the sides of downtown buildings.  The murals are intended to "depict unique aspects of Huron's history."  After spending a life-enriching three hours with Lavon, we were anxious to get back on the road to Sioux Falls.  But, we made a quick circuit of the town so I could snap away at some of the inspired and inspiring public art.



  1. Hello Mitch:
    It must indeed seem so very strange to be loosening all of the ties which bind you both to your country. Excitement mingled, we suspect, with some sadness but, we hope, not too much in the way of regrets.

    The murals are quite exceptional. We are so pleased that you showed them.

  2. J&L: Thanks, once again for following! Aren't the murals wonderful? I was really taken by them and, therefore, by Huron. You're so right about mingled excitement. Fortunately, there's skype and also plans to see our South Dakota family in Spain and also in New York whenever we pop back to see my mother and brother. As for reqrets, I don't think we had connected yet when I posted this: I try really hard to NOT regret anything.

  3. Great murals they enrich the town and take care of those empty blank walls.
    BTW Loved the text on the T-shirt: ... is not the end of the world...But you can see it from there...

  4. Hi Mitch - those murals are fabulous - a work of art really :) I admire communities who promote and support public art.
    I'm excited for you both with Malaga looming so closely, and I'm not even going!
    All the best for the next couple of weeks guys.

  5. Yes, those murals are really something and cannot be ignored, so different from the ones we Brits are most familiar with - in Belfast where they all seem to depict the struggle and triumphalism of 'Loyalists' and 'Republicans', one over the other, (though the recent creations of the mysterious 'Banksy' have been a refreshing distraction).
    It's good to see the Huron murals part of a public art project. Here they would more likely be condemned as public defacements and promptly removed.
    I shall be monitoring your progress to Espana with keen interest. I do hope things go as smoothly as you can could hope for. There are sure to be trials, hopes fulfilled, and, of course, some regrets - but I do hope that the balance is firmly tilted in a positive way. I well recall my move to Germany in 1988, my stay lasting nearly 3 years. The physical moving was tough enough alone but I wasn't quite prepared for the emotional wrench of leaving things I'd taken for granted. But I moved alone whereas at least you and your other half can count on mutual support. Wishing you good going!

  6. I love those murals. We are sadly lacking that kind of public art these days.

  7. Peter: And the murals, I'm told, inspired a civic pride that resulted in other improvements (and it shows). I can't believe that T-shirt has survived this long. I might have to replace it one day.

    Craig: I agree about public art. It made me love Huron. Thanks for your excitement. Having you along and being able to share this process really makes it more fun. Getting ready now for our last breakfast in Sioux Falls before we head to the airport for our flight to LA. Can't believe it's all coming together.

    Raybeard: That kind of public art is so rare and makes such an impression -- and represents Huron so well. Thanks for the moral support. Jerry and I love change; we know there will be some challenges; but what are a few bumps in the road! It makes the ride more fun. Can't wait to share all the new experiences from Spain.

    Bob: We are sadly lacking that kind of public art, too! And to think this is happening in a city of only about 12,000.

  8. Following your advertures getting ready for your move, I'm nervous and anxious for you. And I'm going nowhere, fast! Just imagine if I were the one actually moving. I'd be a basket case!
    It's getting close.
    Take care of yourself. m.

  9. Mark: This week has been wonderful but a little hectic. Two nights here. Three nights there. It will be good to settle in for 10+ days in NY.


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