Vol. 24, No. 15; Thursday, Dec. 14, 2023

Dec 14, 2023 | Parker's Midweek Update | 2 comments


This Christmas many will hate refugees while they set up their Nativity scenes showing refugees desperately looking for shelter.


This week’s schedules:
Boys wrestling: home vs. Harrisburg, 7 p.m.
Girls basketball: at Sturgis, 7 p.m.
Boys basketball: home vs. Sturgis, 7 p.m.
Gymnastics: at Mitchell invitational, 9 a.m.
Girls wrestling: at Ashley (N.D.) invitational, 9:30 a.m.
Girls basketball: at Spearfish, 2 p.m.
Boys basketball: home vs. Spearfish, 2 p.m.
Girls basketball: at Watertown, 6:30 p.m.
Boys basketball: at Watertown, 7:45 p.m.

Girls wrestling: The Governor girls whipped Brookings in a dual 24-6, with all the points coming on pins b y Gianna Stangeland, Sydney Uhrig, Lexie Hillmer and Kezrey Benning. At the Rapid City invitational, the Pierre girls were the team champions. Winning individual titles were Abbigail Lewis, Sydney Uhrig, Dani Ringstmeyer and Ireland Templeton while Benning placed second in her weight class and Shaylee Speck third in hers. Lexie Hillmer placed fourth, Londyn Aflen-Hunsaker eighth and Heavenly Thompson. On Tuesday a dual against Aberdeen Central ended in a 30-30 deadlock as the Govs had five pints and the Eagles had two points and three forfeit wins. Pinning their foes for Pierre were Ringstmeyer, Benning, Templeton, Lewis and Thompson.

Boys wrestling: Pierre defeated B rookings in a dual, 44-32. Lincoln Schoenhard, Tristan Spencer, Jaxon Ducheneaux, Trey Lewis and Chance Carda all had pins, and Alex Oedekoven won by tech fall. At the 41-team Rapid City invitational the Govs were fourth in the team standings behind Sturgis, Gillette Thunder Basin and Bismarck. Spencer and Carda each brought home an individual championship. Oedekoven and Lewis had fourth-place finishes, Lincoln Houska fifth, Hudson Shaffer and Lucas Chamberlin sixths and Ducheneaux seventh. On Tuesday the Govbs defeated Aberdeen Central in a dual, 37-28. Gable Uhrig, Carda and Lewis won by pins; Walker West, Oedekoven, Spencer and Chamberlain scored major decisions, and Ducheneaux won by a decision.

Boys basketball (1-1): The Govs opened the season with a split of two games in the Black Hills. In a 44-39 loss to Stevens, Cade Kaiser was high scorer with 10 points. Jett Zabel and Luke Olson scored eight each. In a 53-43 win at Central, Dawson Getz scored 16, Zabel had 17 along with 12 rebounds, and Olson scored 12.

Girls basketball (1-1): The Governor girls split a pair of home games with the Rapid City schools. In a 63-35 loss to Stevens, Ryann Barry had 12 points and Reese Terwilliger nine. Pierre beat Central, 51-39, led by Terwilliger’s 24 points and Barry’s nine.


This week’s schedules:
Girls basketball: home vs. Philip.
Boys basketball: home vs. Philip.
Wrestling: at Mount Vernon/Plankinton invitational (at Mount Vernon), 10 a.m.
Wrestling: at Faulkton.
Girls basketball: at Jones County.
Boys basketball: at Jones County.

Girls basketball: The Buffaloes are 0-4 after three losses this week—46-38 to Miller, 55-30 to White River and 61-31 to Winner. In the Miller ame Mattie Duffy had 15 points and Cadence Hand 14. The Buffs did lead by 29-25 after the third quarter.

Boys basketball: The Buffs beat Miller, 73-69, led ny Kaden Montana’s 36 points and Broch Zeeb’s 32. In a 56-26 loss to Winner Tuesday, Montana scored 11 and Zeeb 8.


This week’s schedules:
Girls basketball: at Herreid-Selby Area.
Boys wrestling: at Mount Vernon/Plankinton invitational (at Mount Vernon), 10 a.m.
Girls wrestling: at Canton invitational, 10 a.m.
Boys basketball: at Winner.

Girls basketball (2-1): The Charger girls lost to Lyman Tuesday, 66-48, to fall to 2-1 for the season. Stevie Wittler had 19 points and Payge Bakker 15. Earlier the Chargers won over North Central, 54-48. Wittler scored 14, Addyson Chicoine 13 and Olivia Olson 12.

Boys basketball (1-0): The Chargers opened the season Tuesday with a 72-56 win over Lyman. Wesley Wittler with 34 and Gavin Colson with 22 accounted for 56 of the Sully Buttes points.


Dec. 13, 2022: It was a great start to the winter sports seasons. The girls and boys basketball teams both swept the Rapid City schools. The girls wrestling team beat Brookings in a 39-0 dual and placed first at the Rapid City invitational. The boys wrestling team beat Brookings 53-7 and placed first at the Rapid City invitational.


(Author: Unidentified on the Internet)

We were the only family with children in the restaurant. I sat Erik in a highchair and noticed everyone was quietly eating and talking. Suddenly Erik squealed with glee and said, “Hi there!” He pounded his fat baby hands on the highchair tray. His eyes were wide with excitement, and his mouth was bared in a toothless grin. He wriggled and giggled with merriment. I looked around and saw the source of his merriment. It was a man with a tattered rag of a coat, dirty, greasy and worn. His pants were baggy with a zipper at half mast, and his toes poked out of would-be shoes. His shirt was dirty, and his hair was uncombed and unwashed. His whiskers were too short to be called a beard, and his nose was so varicose it looked like a road map. We were too far from him to smell, but I was sure he smelled. His hands waved and flapped on loose wrists.

“Hi there baby. Hi there, big boy. I see ya, buster,” the man said to Erik.

My husband and I exchanged “What do we do?” looks.

Erik continued to laugh and answer, “Hi hi there.” Everyone in the restaurant noticed and looked at us and then at the man. The old geezer was creating a nuisance with my beautiful baby.

Our meal came, and the man began shouting from across the room, “Do you know patty cake? Do you know peekaboo? Hey look, he knows peekaboo!” Nobody thought the old man was cute. He was obviously drunk.

My husband and I were embarrassed. We ate in silence all except for Erik who was running through his repertoire for the admiring Skid Row bum who in turn reciprocated with his cute comments. We finally got through the meal and headed for the door. My husband went to pay the check and told me to meet him in the parking lot. The old man sat poised between me and the door.

“Lord just let me out of here before he speaks to me or Erik,” I prayed. As I drew closer to the man, I turned my back trying to sidestep him and avoid any air he might be breathing. As I did Erik learned over my arm, reaching with both arms in a baby’s pick-me-up position. Before I could stop him Erk had propelled himself from my arms into the man’s.

Suddenly a very old smelly man and a very young baby consummated their love relationship. Erik in an act of total trust, love and submission lay his tiny head upon the man’s ragged shoulder. The man’s eyes closed and I saw tears hover beneath his lashes. His aged hands, full of grime, pain and hard labor, gently so gently cradled my baby’s bottom and stroked his back. No two beings have ever loved so deeply for so short a time.

I stood awestruck. The old man rocked and cradled Erik in his arms for a moment, and then his eyes opened and set squarely on mine. He said in a firm commanding voice, “You take care of this baby.”

Somehow I messaged “I will,” from a throat that contained a stone. He pried Erik from his chest unwillingly, lovingly, as though he were in pain. I received my baby, and the man said “God bless you ma’am. You’ve given me my Christmas gift.” I said nothing more than a muttered thanks.

With Erik in my arms, I ran for the car. My husband was wondering why I was crying and holding Erik so tightly and why I was saying “My God, my God, forgive me.” I had just witnessed Christ’s love shown through the innocence of a tiny child who saw no sin, who made no judgment; a child who saw a soul and a mother who saw a suit of clothes. I was a Christian who was blind, holding a child who was not. I felt it was God asking, “Are you willing to share your son for a moment?” when He shared His for all eternity.

The ragged old man unwittingly had reminded me, “To enter the kingdom of God, we must become as little children.”


Noon-1:00: Dell Rapids High School choir.
5:00-5:30: Menorah lighting.
Noon-1:00: Mobridge-Pollock High School choir.
5:00-5:30: Menorah lighting.
6:00-7:00: Priscilla Hofer piano, Pierre.
11:00-11:30: Huron Middle School honors orchestra.
11:30-noon: Huron High School chamber orchestra.
Noon-2:00: Pierre Music Store students.
2:00-3:00: Tina England and family, Fort Pierre.
3:00-5:00: Andrea Royer piano students, Pierre.
5:00-6:00: Soul Singers, Pierre.
6:00-7:00: Carl’s Classic Christmas Choir, Pierre.
1:00-1:30: First United Methodist Church chancel choir, Pierre.
2:00-3:00: Studio A Music students, Pierre.
3:00-6:00: Pierre Music Store students.
Noon-1:00: Aberdeen Christian High School choir.
5:00-6:00: Douglas High School Patriot Blues jazz band, Box Elder.
Noon-1:00: Center of the Nation Brass, Belle Fourche.
Noon-1:00: Lincoln High School women’s ensembles, Sioux Falls.
Noon-1:00: Harrisburg High School band and choir.


1 day: FCS national semifinals (Dec. 15-16).
1 day: Surprise Package Christmas concerts (Dec. 15-16).
4 days: Riggs High band/choir concert (Dec. 18).
5 days: Georgia Morse Middle School band/choir concert (Dec. 19).
11 days: Christmas Day (Dec. 25).
13 days: “Kennedy Center Honors,” CBS-TV (Dec. 27).
18 days: College football national semifinals (Jan. 1).
24 days: FCS national championship game, ABC-TV (Jan. 7).
25 days: College football national championship game, ESPN (Jan. 8)


Augustana men’s hockey: Idle last week, the Vikings make the longest of all of their road trips this week to play at Alaska-Fairbanks Friday and Saturday.

Oahe Lady Capitals girls varsity: The girls outscored Watertown, 6-3. Emily Nemec, Brenna Ullman and Katie Reiss scored to create a 3-3 tie. Then Micah Buffalo, Brylee Kafka and Reiss again padded the Oahe lead. Sophia Peshong made 13 saves in goal. Still unbeaten at 4-0-1, the Lady Caps play at home against Aberdeen at 5 p.m. Saturday and against Aberdeen at 3:30 p.m. Sunday.

Oahe Capitals boys varsity: The Caps went 1-2 in three weekend home games. In a 3-2 loss to Sioux Falls East, Jarron Beck and Crbin Beastrom scored for Oahe, and Spencer Anderson made five saves as goalkeeper. In a 5-3 loss to Watertown, Aidan Dozark, Barret Schweitzer and Lke Miller each scored a goal, and Jaxon Jungwirth made 20 saves. On Sunday the boys outscored Aberdeen,, 8-5. Beck and Devin Dodson each had a pair of goals, and Keegan Kitts, Dozark, Schweitzer and Andrew Coughlin each had a goal. Anderson made 23 saves. This weekend the Caps play at Sioux Falls East at 9:15 p.m. Saturday and against Brookings at 3;15 p.m. Sunday at the Denny Sanford Premier Center.

Minnesota Wild: After a 3-0 loss at Vancouver and a 4-3 loss at Edmonton, the Wild won at Seattle, 3-0. The Wild will be home against Calgary Thursday and Vancouver Saturday. then they go to Pittsburgh Monday and on to Boston Tuesday.

Aberdeen Wings: The Wings swept the weekend against St. Cloud, winning 3-2 and 4-3. Aberdeen hosts Austin Friday and Saturday.

Rapid City Rush: The Rush took all three from Wichita, winning 3-2, 4-3 in overtime and 3-2 in overtime. The Rush play at Idaho Thursday, Friday and Saturday.

Sioux Falls Stampede: The Herd split with Muskegon, winning 5-3 and losing 4-2. Sioux Falls plays Fargo twice on the road Friday and at home Saturday.


FCS national semifinals:
— Albany (N.Y.) at South Dakota State, 6 p.m. CST Friday, ESPN2.
— North Dakota State at Montana, 3:30 p.m. CST Saturday, ESPN2.

NAIA national championship:
— Northwestern (Iowa) vs. Keiser (Fl.) at Durham, N.C., 11 a.m. CST Monday.


Other local college football besides what is mentioned in College Sports Roundup:
— SDSU (13-0): The Jackrabbits won a quarterfinal game at home over Villanova, 23-12. In the semifinals they are home again in Brookings against Albany at 6 p.m. Friday on ESPN2.
— USD (10-3): The best Coyote season in years ended in the national quarterfinal round when they lost to North Dakota State, 45-17.

NFL live games on local TV this week:
(games on local channels subject to change by the networks)
Los Angeles Chargers at Las Vegas, 7:15 p.m., Prime Video.
Minnesota at Cincinnati, noon, NFL Network.
Pittsburgh at Indianapolis, 3:30 p.m., NFL Network.
Denver at Detroit, 7:15 p.m., NFL Network.
Kansas City at New England, noon, Fox.
Tampa Bay at Green Bay, noon, CBS.
Dallas at Buffalo, 3:25 p.m., Fox.
Baltimore at Jacksonville, 7:20 p.m., NBC.
Philadelphia at Seattle, 7:15 p.m., ABC, ESPN.

Minnesota Vikings: The Vikings scored a late field goal to beat Las Vegas, 3-0. Now 7-6 and still holding a playoff spot, Minnesota goes to Cincinnati for a noon game Saturday on NFL Network.

Denver Broncos: Denver won at the Los Angeles Chargers, 24-7, and at 7-6 are in contention for a playoff berth. The Broncos play at Detroit at 7:15 p.m. Saturday on NFL Network.


Last week your contest organizer took care of many of our contestants with his selection of games. Losses by USD, the Lions and the Chargers took care of most of our entries. But with a 9-1 mark, missing only the Lions’ loss to the Bears, Randy Pool gets 10 points, and he’s the only one who does. At 8-2, missing only the Lions’ and USD’s losses, Brad Cruse gets nine points. At 7-3 for eight points each were Seb Axtman, Dawn Magee and Thomas Voeltz.

This week’s games (send your 10 winners to parkerhome1@hotmail.com by FRIDAY afternoon):
(1) FCS semifinal: Albany at SDSU.
(2) FCS semifinal: NDSU at Montana.
(3) Avocados Cure Bowl: Miami (Ohio) vs. Appalachian State.
(4) New Mexico Bowl: New Mexico State vs. Fresno State.
(5) Los Angeles Bowl: UCLA vs. Boise State.
(6) Independence Bowl: California vs. Texas Tech.
(7) NAIA national championship: Northwestern (Iowa) vs. Keiser (Fla.).
(8) NFL: Denver at Detroit.
(9) NFL: Dallas at Buffalo.
(10) NFL: Minnesota at Cincinnati.


From the Midweek Update of Dec. 23, 2006

I’ll be home for Christmas; you can count on me.
Please have snow and mistletoe and presents on the tree.
Christmas Eve will find me where the lovelight gleams.
I’ll be home for Christmas if only in my dreams.

One thing I have realized more than ever in the past month is how much fun it is to shop for grandchildren. Christmas shopping for them is no chore, and frankly I haven’t yet reached a point where I want to stop. Just around the corner in the next aisle is something that is just perfect for Olivia or Dylan or even for Grandchild No. 3 who will arrive a month or so from now.

Maybe it’s a case of my reaching this tender age and realizing my Christmases are numbered. I love the Christmas music in the stores. Church choir practices on Wednesday nights are more fun than ever in December. The first thing out of the mailbox that I open each day is the Christmas cards.

During the years my kids were growing up we lived in a beautiful old house that was perfect for Christmas. That place still holds a lot of memories for me each time I drive by there. Two blocks down the street is the church where the four kids—almost on an annual basis—sang “O Holy Night” or something else for at least one of the Christmas Eve services.

Because of my commitment there as one of the organists, more often than not the family’s Christmas Eve schedule had to fit into my church schedule. With so many people traveling, finding Christmas Eve musicians wasn’t always easy. Whether they liked it or not, because I was available, my kids were available too. To this day, though the kids now range in age from 27 to 33, each playing of “O Holy Night” conjures up in my mind the sanctuary of First United Methodist Church with the kids singing the altar lined with poinsettia plants and the lights dimmed as each worshipper—even those we saw only at Christmas and Easter—held his own lighted candle.

As Andy Williams said in his song, “It’s the most wonderful time of the year.”


People need to think about what it means when a President won’t enforce court rulings he disagrees with. As soon as that happens, we’re unraveling the fundamental structures that make us a nation of laws, so there won’t be any guardrails to stop him.
— Former U.S. Representative Liz Cheney


Other college basketball besides what is mentioned below in College Sports Roundup:
— SDSU men (4-5): Defeated Washington State, 78-69.
Next: home vs. Mayville State Thursday; vs. Wyoming in El Paso next Wednesday and vs. UTEP or Norfolk State in El Paso next Thursday.
— USD women (7-3): Defeated Dickinson State, 103-46.
Nexr: Last night home vs. Mount Marty; Saturday at Tennessee-Martin; next Wednesday home vs. Bradley.

Minnesota Timberwolves: The Wolves defeated San Antonio, 102-94; beat Memphis, 127-103, and lost to New Orleans, 121-107. Minnesotal goes to Dallas Thursday, plays at home vs. Indiana Saturday, then plays at Miami Monday and at Philadelphia next Wednesday.

Sioux Falls Skyforce: The Force beat Grand Rapids, 123-112, and beat Motor City, 110-106. Sioux Falls goes on the road to Windy City Friday.


My adventures with people in the medical profession over the past two years since February 2022 continued this week. Mid-afternoon Sunday after singing with the South Canyon Lutheran choir in their Christmas cantata at 9 a.m., I began to feel sharp pains in my lower chest. I sat down, watched the rest of the football and tried to assume the pain would go away during the night if I went to bed earlier than usual. How foolish of me!

About 3 a.m. Monday the pain was excruciating from left to right and back again across my lower chest. I got up, sat in my desk chair in my bathrobe, trying to stay upright until somebody else in the house got up for the day. By 5:00 I could no longer do that, so I woke up my grandson, Dylan, sleeping in the next room and asked him to take me to the emergency room. After being seen by what seemed like a quarter of Monument Health’s staff, by noon, but not my knowledge, I was undergoing emergency appendicitis surgery. The surgeon told me that the appendix was “within seconds” of bursting when she got to it. My plan to wait till somebody else got up in the morning was not a wise one.

I was back home by mid-afternoon and have spent the last three days moaning and groaning each time I stand or sit and trying to keep straight the nine bottles of pills arranged in order and written down on a paper schedule by my dutiful nurse-daughter Holly.

I think I am going to make it, but “Oh, fine” has not been my answer to the often-asked question of the week, “How are you doing?”


Minnesota State-Mankato women’s soccer: Pierre native Mackenzie Rath has been named to the Division II College Coaches Association’s All-American second team. As the Mavericks’ goalkeeper,, she posted 13 shutouts in 18 games and became the school’s all-time leader in career saves with 244. Her .917 save percentage was second in all of Division II.

South Dakota State swimming (Morgan Nelson): The Jackrabbit swimmers are off until a dual at USD on Jan. 20.

Augustana swimming (Ella Ward-Zeller): The Vikings are idle until a dual at home vs. Minnesota-Morris on Jan. 12.

Ohio State football (Lincoln Kienholz): The Buckeyes were idle during conference championship week and are off until their date at the Cotton Bowl against Missouri on Dec. 29. Meanwhile, Ohio State appears to be perusing all of the quarterbacks entering the transfer portal to see whom they might secure as a starter for next season.

South Dakota State men’s track (Rylan McDonnell) and women’s track (Jessica Lutmer, Lydia Hill): The Jackrabbit teams are off until the Bison Team Cup meet at NDSU on Jan. 13.

South Dakota State wrestling (Regan Bollweg): The SDSU wrestlers are off until a dual at Nebraska on Jan. 16.

University of Mary women’s basketball (Chloe Lamb): The Marauders beat Minnesota-Crookston, 70-54; beat Minot State, 75-67, and lost to St. Cloud State, 60-53. Now 5-6, Mary plays at Bemidji State Thursday, then at home vs. Dickinson State Saturday and Valley City State Monday.

Dakota Wesleyan wrestling (Tyson Johnson,, Aric Williams): Idle least week, the Tiger wrestlers will go to the University of Sioux Falls for a Sunday triangular that also involves Minnesota West.

North Dakota State football (Grey Zabel): The Bison won on the road for the second straight week, dominating USD in Vermillion, 45-17. They take an 11-3 record to Missoula for a national semifinal game against Montana at 3:30 p.m. CST on ESPN2.

University of Sioux Falls women’s wrestling (Toby Bryant): Now 4-0 in duals in the first season of USF wrestling the Cougars are off until Jan. 7 at the Bronco Open in Hastings.

Dakota Wesleyan men’s basketball (Nick Wittler): The Tigers defeated Mount Marty, 90-66. Now 7-6, DWU travels Sunday to Waldorf.

Dakota State men’s track and field (Houston Lunde): At a meet in Seward, Neb., Houston placed 198th in the shot put at 41’1 3/4″ and 15th in the weight throw at 48’4 1.2″. DSU’s next meet will be Jan. 13 at the Mount Marty Open.

Georgia Tech women’s basketball (Caleb Currier): The Yellowjackets won over Georgia State, 94-70. Now 7-3, the team plays at Georgia Saturday and at home next Wednesday against South Carolina-Upstate.

University of Sioux Falls men’s wrestling (Josh Rydberg): The Cougars lost a dual to Wisconsin-Parkside, 39-7. Josh did not wrestle in that meet. USF wrestles at home in a dual vs. Nebraska-Kearney Friday and in a triangular against Minnesota West and Dakota Wesleyan Sunday.

Northwestern (Iowa) football (Morris Hofer): The Red Raiders are a win away from a second straight national NAIA championship. Northwestern won their semifinal at home over Georgetown (Ky.), 35-10 and take a 14-0 record into the championship game at Durham, N.C., against Keiser (Fl.) next Monday. Mo did not play against Georgetown as he continues to battle back from an injury.

Northern women’s basketball (Katie Bourk): The Wolves beat St. Cloud State in overtime, 67-59, and beat Bemidji State, 81-61. Now 8-2, Northern plays at Minot State Thursday and at Minnesota-Crookston Saturday.

Black Hills State men’s basketball (Jackson Edman): Jackson did not play in either game as BHSU split a pair of RMAC games. beating Metro State, 75-56, and losing to Colorado Mines, 82-72. Now 4-6, BHSU goes to New Mexico Highlands for a Friday game.

South Dakota men’s basketball (Max Burchill): The Coyotes defeated Cal State-Bakersfield, 78-73. Max was 1-of-5 (1-of-3 in three-pointers) and 5-of-6 for eight points with two rebounds, five assists and one steal. Now 7-3, USD goes to California to play at UC-Irvine at 9 p.m. CST Saturday on ESPN+ and at Cal State-Bakersfield at 9 p.m. Tuesday on ESPN+.


Some men improve the world only by leaving it.
— Oscar Wilde


Thursday, Dec. 14:
Andy Carda, Abby Javurek, Adam Emerson, Cruze Wilson, Elliot Williams, Terra Zeller, Jafar Karim, Avett Becker, Joyce (Jansen) Moore, Cillian Dekker.

Friday, Dec. 15:
Derek Dehne, Creed Kendrick, Wayne Crawford, Steve Withers, Shirleen Fugitt, Kelly (Kafka) Schrempp, Linda Johnson, Paul Lepisto, Jennifer (Schlekeway) Heggelund, Taylor (Larson) Gorter.

Saturday, Dec. 16:
Steve Hinker, Bonnie (Pitlick) Rus, Nathan Hamm, Rachel (Weber) Bishop, Brenda Goeden, Eric Serbousek, Brooke Lee, Rod Burley, Natalie Likness, Augustus Gross, Vicki Hagemann.
— 6th anniversary, Brandon/Kelli (Cronin) Nagel.

Sunday, Dec. 17:
Molly (Robertson) Golla, Jackson Palmer, Kathie Patten, Jessica Jockheck, Mason Frohm, Kase Anderson, Austin Mamenga, Ryan Nuttall, Edna Brunmeier.

Monday, Dec. 18:
Jeff Swartz, Joseph Bock, Jordan Jarvis, Ruth Smith, Kai Hanson, Calvin Hofer, Sandy Tillman, Gary McMath, Devan Bruns, Ross Olson, SuzMarie Squires, Kirsti (Garrett) Cuppy, Jayne Parsons.
— 19th anniversary, Jamison/Cathy Rounds.

Tuesday, Dec. 19:
Jim Costello, Breanna Costello, Georgia Hanson, Miles Hunsley, Elise Titze, Lisa Dorschner, Dianne Noyes, Jim Bjorneberg, Karin (Unkenholz) Hansen, Alexander Meagher, Blake Hemminger, Riley Johnson.
— Anniversary, Casey/Alyssa Kahler.

Wednesday, Dec. 20:
Conor Getty, Henry Melius, Valori (Kunsman) Fairbanks, Steve Hosman, Dustin Garber, Michaela (Thompson) Novak, Charlette Beesley, Louis Mehlhaff, Joel Schwader, Marcie (Lyngstad) Long, Mathis Joens, Maddy Jo Sayer, Josh Lamb, Jelan Cowan, Mary Sarvis, Nicole Neal, Kari Dale, Rick Dopps, Luke Studer.
— 3rd anniversary, Allen/Zoe (Donahue) Hiller.

Thursday, Dec. 21:
David Zellmer, Timaree (Ice) Axlund, Laura (Winter) Anderson, Matt Jahraus, Thomas Ahlers, Isaac Vogel, Eric Sprenkle, Delaney Uecker, Sarah Gran, Allison Guindon, Jamie Goff, Chris Frost, Caitlin Bingner, Evan Nielsen, Colt Norman, Tyler Moodie, Erica Schipper, Brad Moore.


From the Custer Chronicle of Dec. 1, 2005

Remember the good old days, you who are my age or thereabouts, when the only way to communicate with somebody out of town, except for a long-distance phone call, was by U.S. Mail?

Once the Onida grade school dismissed for Christmas vacation, one of my kicks was going to the post office twice a day to pick up the mail. Yes, mail came to town twice a day back then. In December such mail delivery meant another fistful of Christmas cards. And being the son of a mail carrier, I found it was more fun than ever to ride with Dad on his route west and north of town because there was so much more mail to be delivered at holiday time.

Everybody sent Christmas cards in those days. Some were tardier than others, choosing to do nothing more than scribble their names on a card, lick the seals shut, apply stamps and throw them into the mailbox, but what the heck. At least they were thinking of us, even if it was already Christmas Eve and we wouldn’t receive the cards till Dec. 26. (Or were they sending us cards just because we had sent cards to them? No matter!)

More often than not, a Christmas card included a snapshot or two and, of course, the family Christmas letter. Letter-writing was the way to communicate in those days. How else?! It was especially good to hear at holiday time from relatives, friends and acquaintances from out of the past, reading their Christmas letters to learn all about their past year.

It was at some point maybe in the ’60s or the ’70s when some hoity-toity busybodies decided to institute a movement to ban—or at least frown upon—family Christmas letters.

Did they experience such boring years themselves that there was nothing for them to write? Were they jealous of the rest of us who had something about which to write? To soothe their own guilt or laziness over not writing Christmas letters, did they find it necessary to make us feel guilty for writing them?

Anyway, the hoity-toities wrote to Ann Landers (or maybe it was her evil twin Dear Abby) and found very vocal, very public support from the famed advice columnist for their We Hate Christmas Letters movement.

“We don’t want to know that Aunt Shirley went on a cruise through the Panama Canal.”

“We don’t want to know if Walter stubbed his toe on the poroh step and was hospitalized with infection for six weeks.”

“We don’t want to know that Frankie earned three purple ribbons for his hogs at the State Fair.”

“We don’t want to hear your bragging about your kids’ straight-A report cards and your grandchildren’s first teeth.:

“We don’t care. Period.”

Well, I thought to myself back then, who is “we”? I do care, and I do want to know. Who was born in your family? Who died? Who was elected to what? Where did you go on your vacation? Are the kids flunking out of college? How do the crops look? When are you coming home to South Dakota? What rating did Susie get on her vocal solo this year? Did Johnny get a scholarship? Did you paint the house this year? Did Sheldon put up any new grain bins this year? Is Grandma’s arthritis any worse?

Ann Landers, Dear Abby and the hoity-toity crowd succeeded in stifling Christmas letters. And a new generation of people too busy to keep in touch with their relatives and long-lost friends grew up.

We all were losers.

But alas! In my own case in the past few years, I have discovered that Christmas letters are making a comeback. Even in this age of e-mails and phones that play music and send pictures, there is still a place in the world for an envelope containing a letter that can be read and re-read without fear of deletion and a beautiful Christmas card, perhaps also a family photo on photo paper, not on a computer screen.

From my column-writing days in Pierre there remain people who print an extra copy of their Christmas letters to send to me, not because I know them well, or at all, but because they are fellow members of CLF—Christmas Letters Forever.

I especially look forward to a thick envelope from the retired farm wives in an Extension club out east in Hughes County. Each of them writes her own Christmas letter, then the club compiles them into one. It’s wonderful, warm, welcome reading every cold December.

So what if the news isn’t all that great in one’s family this year? We all have skeletons in our family closets. We understand. What, after all, are friends for?

It used to peeve me a bit that Christmas letters started arriving the Monday after Thanksgiving. Anybody who is so organized to have that task out of the way while it is still November is a sick person. But in a few days I hope the mailbox begins to contain honest-to-goodness hand-written Christmas cards and duplicated Christmas letters.

I do care. I do want to know. Let the Scrooges be unhappy in this wonderful time of the year if they choose. But they will not deter us from our mission—to spread holiday cheer, at least between you and me, one letter at a time.


The Pierre Players box office at the Grand Opera House will be open from 5 to 7 p.m. tonight (Thursday) to enable people to purchase season memberships and gifts.

Jerry Thomas, 80, died in Onida on Dec. 9. Visitation will be from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. next Tuesday Dec. 19, at First Presbyterian Church in Onida followed by a celebration of his life service at 11. Jerry grew up on the family farm of Alvin and Gebe (Bandy) Thomas east of Onida. He graduated in 1962 from Onida High School where he was part of a state championship track team. He attended Northern State College, and his degree led to a long career with Safeway, which took him to California. Jerry retired in 2002. In 1984 he married Barbara Grace. Jerry is survived by his wife Barb Thomas; his son, Tyler; his daughter Tara; four grandchildren; several great-grandchildren; his sisters, Deanna Sutton, Barb Kinder and Darlene O’Melia; his brother, Harry (Kay) Thomas, and a sister-in-law Caroll Moore.

Pierre Players has announced the cast of the opening show of their 2024 season, “Clue: On Stage,,” which will be performed Feb. 23-25 and Feb. 29-March 2. Cast members will be Jack Mortenson, Chloe Bowers Jennifer Bieser, Sarah Brger Jessica Carr, Tyler Seeley Isaac Gonzolis, Daniel Weber, Anne Arch, Jamie Myers and A.J. Holland.

Jewell Bown died Dec. 15 at Avera Hospice in Pierre. She grew up in the Gettysburg area and lived most of her life there. She lived on the family farm for 68 years Jewell came to Pierre to ParkWood Apartments 19 years after the death of her husband, Fred. Survivors include three children, Marilyn (Larry) Von Wald, Thomas (Diane) Bown and Marcia (Greg) Cameron; eight grandchildren; 25 great-grandchildren; 13 great-great-grandchildren; her sister, Beverly Merrill, and a very special friend, Loni Shoup. A celebration of Jewell’s life will be held next summer.

Will Mortenson has announced he will seek re-election in 2024 to another term in the state House of Representatives. He will be completing his second term in the House in 2024.

Don Zeller, 76, died Dec. 9. Visitation will be from 5 to 6 p.m. tonight (Thursday) at Feigum Funeral Home, concluding with a prayer service at 6. Memorial Mass will be celebrated at 10:30 a.m. Friday at Ss. Peter & Paul Catholic Church Don graduated from Miller High School and earned a bachelor of science degree in mathematics at South Dakota State.University. He and Linda Carrico were married in 1969, and they raised three daughters. Don worked for the state Department of Transportation and the Bureau of Information and Technology and a computer programmer. After more than 35 years with the state, he retired in 2009. Don was a volunteer in many activities and organizations including the South Dakota Discovery Center, Capital Area Soccer Association, Petunia Project, the Pierre Senior Center, and Habitat for Humanity. He was named Citizen of the Year by the Capital Journal in 2021. He is survived by his daughters, Heidi (Glen) Crawford of Abereen Sherri (Bobby) Zeller of Key Largo, Fla., and Katie (Brad) Murphy of Denver; eight grandchildren; four siblings, Bev Krause of Oklahoma City, Jerry (Barb) Zeller of Minneapolis, Janice (Jim) Moore of Aberdeen, and Mary (Dave) Roth of Brunswick, Ga., and many nephews and nieces. Among those who preceded him in death were his wife, his parents, and his brother-in-law, Ken Krause.


We continue to drift toward dictatorship, still hoping for some intervention that will allow us to escape the consequences of our collective cowardice, our complacent willful ignorance and, above all, our lack of any deep commitment to liberal democracy. As the man said, we are going out not with a song but a whimper.
— Laurence Tribe


By Dianna Knox in The Onida Watchman

Old school means something close to old-fashioned, but it’s a term with more pride behind it. If someone says they’re old school, they do it like it used to be done, which they believe was a better way. I’m not only old, but I’m also old school . . . about a lot of things . . . not about everything.

For instance, I prefer indoor bathrooms to outhouses. I prefer electric lighting to candlelight when I read. I prefer washing my clothes in an automatic washing machine as opposed to a washboard or a wringer washer. I prefer showers to baths. I prefer talking to people rather than texting. I prefer eating home-style cooking to fast food and prepared to processed food (I use the term loosely) that comes out of a box. I prefer reading cursive handwriting to illegible printing. I prefer music to rap. I prefer same-sex dormitories to coed ones. I prefer to sit at the table or go to the theater with people who are not wearing hats. I prefer to confer with a male or female physician who is professionally dressed to those attired in blue jeans and a flannel shirt, T-shirt, sweatshirt or hoodie. The same goes for a banker, a lawyer, a teacher, a professor, an engineer, a pharmacist or any other professional who has spent somewhere between four and 14 years training at an institution of higher learning.

Most of the sold-out crowd at the fabulous Pierre Players production of “All Is Calm” last weekend could just as well have come in from finishing up the yard work for the season. I prefer dress-up when the occasion dictates it. We didn’t wear the same things to church that we wear to a basketball game. Wasn’t one of the house rules you grew up with to change into your play clothes when you got home from school?

I know there are those who prefer to go with the flow, to change with the times, to let their hair down or to make the best of a bad situation … or to stay in a bad one when getting out is the better thing to do. I prefer to tell a woman or a man living in an abusive relationship to get the heck out of it rather than to “stand by her man” or woman. The lay definition of insanity is to do the same thing over and over and expect different results. I prefer to decide what I will do with my own body rather than adhere to the dictates of too many old white men who have the mistaken notion that they think they know better than I do about what I can or cannot do with my own body.

All in all, I prefer to set lofty goals and to work toward achieving high standards rather than to simply accept good enough. I prefer to keep company with those who say “I could have gone” rather than “I could have went,” who say “I have seen” rather than “I seen” and who read books rather than peruse TikTok.

But enough about what I prefer. To each her or his own, right? Well, maybe not. The standards that one characterized important traits of dignity and respect, of responsibility and accountability, of humility and grace were cornerstones and founding principles of this country and to my way of thinking they are being eroded as surely as the expectations of high achievement in our public school settings have diminished. The schools reflect what culture dictates, and when parents renege on their responsibilities as parents, the schools follow suit. It’s not the other way around. It’s time for a pre-race check. It’s overdue.

I was having dinner last evening with a friend, also a long-time public school educator and school counselor as am I. “How was the driving this weekend?” she asked. She very recently (with just a minimum of arm-twisting) had joined the ranks of those of us who instruct and supervise middle school driver education students. “You know,” I said, “the best of these young drivers are the ones who are of good character. They are well-behaved in the classroom, attentive, respectful, polite and more mature. They were in kindergarten and first grade, and they are in middle school. They have been well-parented, and they are going to be the drivers you want to meet on the road . . . or anywhere else.”


  1. Steve johnson

    As my dear Mother once said to our Pierre neighbor on the occasion of her appendectomy: “Appendicitis is for young people!”

    Viva la Parker!

  2. Carol Uecker

    We too receive the annual all-member culmination Christmas letter from the Helping Hand Club in east Hughes County! We LOVE it!
    Ted & Carol Uecker


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