Grand River Roundup

Snow last week and temperatures in the eighties this week – welcome to South Dakota!

Betty Olson COLUMN BOX 2Snow last week and temperatures in the eighties this week – welcome to South Dakota! We didn’t get any more rain, but all that sun combined with last week’s moisture has turned the prairie a beautiful green. We got most of the branding done this week and the cows sure seem to appreciate that lush grass. The lawn needs mowed and it’s full of those pretty yellow wildflowers that some folks call weeds. Every time I see a dandelion I’m reminded of when our daughter Teri and her cousin Mindy (Larson) Meszaros were little girls. They loved to pick what Mindy called “dandy flowers” and braid them into necklaces for Nubby and me. That still makes me smile.

I thought after my trip to Bismarck on Tuesday to get my cast off I was going to be able to type better. Wrong. They cut the old cast off, but they put on an even more rigid one that hinders the movement of my right hand even more. The only thing I like about it is that it’s bright red.

I got nicknamed Red when I served in the House of Representatives in Pierre because I usually poked the red button, voting NO. Rep. Chuck Turbiville has always called me Red and it was fun to visit with “Chuckles” this week when he called to see how I was handling retirement. He wants to know when the next Cattle Trail meeting will be in Spearfish because he wants to attend. Chuck, like every Turbiville in western South Dakota, is a direct descendant of Pecos Dick Turbiville who came up the cattle trail from Texas in the late 1800s and settled in the Camp Crook area. I wanted to take in the Kentucky Derby at the Heritage Center in Spearfish Saturday, but just wasn’t up to it.

We lost a dear friend this week. Lila (Eggebo) Van Slooten, 89, died in Belle Fourche Wednesday. Lila’s funeral was Monday in Belle Fourche with burial next to her husband at Holland Center that afternoon. What a wonderful lady!

Rep. Sam Marty and I were invited to a Republican get-together in Belle Fourche Friday to hear Attorney General Marty Jackley. Sam hauled this crippled old gal to Belle with him and we went to Spearfish so he could take his mother, Helen Marty, a bouquet of flowers for Mother’s Day. His sister, Rep. Liz May, also attended the picnic in Belle and visited their mother on her way back to Kyle.

There were two new babies this week. Liz May just became a grandma. Her daughter Mary Jo and Jason Fairhead had a baby girl May 2nd. Josephine Helen weighed 8lbs, 2oz. and is 21 inches long.

Dana and Jay Wammen welcomed their new baby daughter on May 5th. Jada Jean weighed in at 9lbs, 6 oz. and is 20” long.


Lanie and Matt brought little Trace down to spend Mother’s Day weekend at the ranch. On Mather’s Day, six young people were confirmed at Slim Buttes Lutheran and there were lots of mothers, grandmothers and great grandmothers in attendance.

This is for all Moms:

A woman, renewing her driver’s license at the county clerk’s office, was asked by the woman recorder to state her occupation. She hesitated, uncertain how to classify herself.

“What I mean is,” explained the recorder, “do you have a job or are you just a …?”

“Of course I have a job,” snapped the woman. “I’m a Mom.”

“We don’t list ‘Mom’ as an occupation; ‘housewife’ covers it,” said the recorder emphatically.

I forgot all about her story until one day I found myself in the same situation, this time at our own Town Hall. The clerk was obviously a career woman, poised, efficient, and possessed of a high sounding title like, “Official Interrogator” or “Town Registrar.”

“What is your occupation?” she probed.

What made me say it? I don’t know. The words simply popped out. “I’m a Research Associate in the field of Child Development and Human Relations.”

The clerk paused, ballpoint pen frozen in midair and looked up as though she had not heard right.

I repeated the title slowly emphasizing the most significant words then I stared with wonder as my pronouncement was written in bold, black ink on the official questionnaire.

“Might I ask,” said the clerk with new interest, “just what you do in your field?”

Coolly, without any trace of fluster, I heard myself reply, “I have a continuing program of research, (what mother doesn’t) in the laboratory and in the field (normally I would have said indoors and out). I’m working for my Masters (first the Lord and then the whole family) and already have four credits (my children).

“Of course, the job is one of the most demanding in the humanities (any mother care to disagree?) and I often work 14 hours a day (24 is more like it). But the job is more challenging than most careers and the rewards are more of a satisfaction rather than just money.”

There was an increasing note of respect in the Clerk’s voice as she completed the form, stood up, and personally ushered me to the door.

As I drove into our driveway, buoyed up by my glamorous new career, I was greeted by my lab assistants – ages 13, 7, and 3. Upstairs I could hear our new experimental model, (a 6-month old baby) in the child development program, testing out a new vocal pattern.

I felt I had scored a beat on bureaucracy! And I had gone on the official records as someone more distinguished and indispensable to mankind than “just another Mom.”

Does this make grandmothers “Senior Research Associates in the field of Child Development and Human Relations” and great grandmothers “Executive Senior Research Associates?” I think so!! I also think it makes aunts “Associate Research Assistants.”

Motherhood! What a glorious career – especially when there’s a title on the door!