A lot to be thankful for here in Brookings


The Best of Stubble Mulch

The year 2018 will soon tromp in on cold feet.

It’s time for some “thankful fors.” 

I’ll leave our town’s major, supersized “thankfuls” to the mayor and the Brookings Chamber of Commerce, as is the traditional year-end Brookings custom.

Then, since the New Year will also end my little jaunt through the last 17 years (57 if you count way back) of Stubbling around this town and this area, I’ll add a few of my “thankful fors.” 

I’m not sure how long I’ve written a weekly column for the Register, but I started at the request of former editor, gentlemanly Doug Anstaett, now chief executive for the Kansas Press Association. He served Brookings well from 1982 to 1987. 

About the time he left town, I was still working at SDSU. Then I stopped writing for the Register for a while as I retired from SDSU and begin developing my own newspapers. 

The Register was nice enough to take me back again in 2000 when I retired from what by then had morphed into publishing 10 weekly newspapers in the I-29 corridor from Deuel County to Brandon and Valley Springs in Minnehaha County.

Of course, this writing stuff all started when I was in college editing the SDSU Collegian. The Watertown Public Opinion was next, and then the Vermillion Plain Talk up to 1965 when I rejoined SDSU, so I suppose Stubble Mulch’s longevity is about 57 years, which at 650 words a column is a whole lot of mumbo-jumbo, let me tell you 

Now, all that is ending. 

Thank you to all who may have read one or two of my prattles. I’m grateful for your kind comments, which I’ll miss, and even for some of your criticisms, which I won’t miss.  

Looking back, my Brookings “thankful fors” also include: 

The four-way stop at Third and Medary. There are other four-ways in town, but I pull up to the Third and Medary juncture almost daily. Each time I’m reminded of how comfortable Brookings life can be. Third and Medary says a fair amount about our town and its people.

We’re far from the impersonal clamor of the big cities. At Third and Medary, plain, old-fashioned, small town politeness and cordiality kicks in. 

Sure, we’re all in a hurry in Brookings, too, but at Third and Medary we pause – young and old drivers alike – to become part of a community. We cooperate with one another. We dutifully wait our turn, working in concert in an orderly and mannerly way for the common good.

Often out of kindness some will even cancel their turn and, with a friendly wave, encourage a fellow motorist they don’t even know to cross before them.  

At Third and Medary, we aren’t governed by impersonal traffic lights and strict penalties if we fail to follow what a computerized timer might instruct. At Third and Medary, decisions are left up to us local yokels. On our own we have to figure out the fairest and fastest way to move us all on our merry way. 

So I’m thankful for living in a community with people who care about others in these little moments when each of us practice the value of working together. 

That’s nice. 

I’m also thankful for the creative people we have here in Biotech Valley. 

I’m thankful for the vibrancy and newness the university brings to town each fall. Staff and students exude this exhilarating sense of excitement, potential and growth throughout the year.

I can hardly wait for football seasons to roll around again. I love SDSU basketball, too. I’ve been watching the Jacks for 62 years. 

I’m thankful for the good folks serving our county, city and school district. The elected ones are not in it for life or to feather their nests. They work overtime just like the career city and county employees to help guide us safely over bumpy stretches.

Treat them kindly. Understand what they are doing for all of us regardless of our station in life. 

I’m thankful for our community’s “extras,” like centers for art, museums, parks, libraries and all the rest. They give Brookings an identity, reflect our values and link our past to our future.  

I’m thankful for the prosperous families of Brookings who with the most beneficent of motive help our town in so many good ways, most of which we never hear about. 

I’m also thankful for friendly merchants who compete with the Sioux Falls power house that we’ve all helped make such a dynamo, in large part because of the sales taxes that we should have been paying here in Brookings. Shop local. 

I’m thankful for all of you who called or wrote or stopped me on the street to say they enjoyed one of my columns.   

Finally, I’m thankful for living in this Someplace Special, and for meeting so many good folks wherever I go, especially at that unremarkable little slice of Americana we call the Four-Way Stop at Third and Medary. 

Happy 2018.   

If you’d like to comment, email the author at [email protected] 

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