His wife was just a hair behind at number two. She was baking bread, making apple sauce and whipping up a hot meal for her clan when we walked into her kitchen. Of course, there was plenty for a couple of her favorite nephew's friends. Meatloaf and butter squash never tasted so good.
We toured the cow pastures in ATVs and picked vegetables for that night's dinner. We hit the local pub that was oddly for such a God fearing people housed in an old church! I tried to keep my politics to myself especially when my friend's sweet aunt tongue in cheek said she certainly wasn't going to vote for Obama Bin Laden. This is perhaps the only part of the world that actually thinks Palin would make a good president. Abortion is another thing best not to bring up. Our hosts had 10 kids and now have 28 grandkids. They sure aren't rich by any standards and they seem to have more than got by even with so many mouths to feed. For them, there just isn't such a thing as choice when it comes to such things. It's the Republican's only chance this election. Otherwise, it wouldn't make sense for this working man's domain to not be wooed by the eloquent Mr. Obama's rally for American solidarity. But that's another story.
When it was time to leave, I found a bag of the home baked rolls I'd raved about next to my backpack and some home made apple sauce right beside them. I got a big hug from a woman I'd be proud to call granny and was told we were welcome back anytime. Despite politically opposing views I'd be happy to come too. I've been exposed to different things than my new friends which no doubt has played a big part in my slant on things. No doubt many of my friends back home will balk when I tell them some of the things I heard out in the middle of our country but this is America and everyone is not only entitled to his own opinions but is free to express them be it in verbal or written form too. I ain't changin' my vote. No, that's going for that Obama Bin Laden.
Late wasn't the word for what we were. No, five hours qualifies for more than late. We'd like to blame it on the unexpected crossing into the central time zone. Man, can't they keep those on state borders? But that only explains one hour. Or the very forgiving police officer who pulled us over for doing 80 in a 50 mph zone. No, not only did he not give us a ticket but the 15 minutes he kept us surely didn't take away from the time we'd made up speeding all the way from Badlands National Park en route to our friend's farm in Orient, South Dakota. No, it was a lackadaisical start and a longer than planned stop at Badlands that was the ultimate culprit that other factors just magnified. Whodathunk a place with a name like Badlands could be so beautiful but with a big red sun going down, it was positively glowing.
As we pulled into the pitch black small town of 50, we immediately wished we'd arrived in daylight as originally planned. But somehow we found the porch with the pink flamingo that our Florida friend explained would be the way to find his place in this town with no street names. Expecting to find our buddy alone and nodding on the couch, we were loudly welcomed by a small gathering of his friends, one of which who had made a home cooked dinner that had been waiting for us for hours. No explanations needed and after a few rounds of drinks we were eating and laughing like we'd been in town for years. They loved the speeding story and were glad we'd put Orient on the map of our trip around the USA.
The next day we were warmly welcomed by our friend's family, a real slice of America as perhaps only middle America can still offer. His 82 year old uncle treated us not only to a tractor ride but an entertaining ramble that ranged from how they'd settled the farm to his trip to San Francisco as a young man. We'd met many people on our six month journey around the USA but by far this man was the most interesting and earnest. (concluded below in Fondest Memory)