A much-welcomed day off was again at our disposal. Bloody Marys called our names. So after a leisurely morning of cuddles and sleepy laughs, we dragged our butts out of bed, put on our beanies, and bellied up to the bar back at the Cottonwood. We initially went in to just have a beverage for a bit and then we were gonna head over to Nate and Heather’s for some much anticipated ribeye steak, but the Cottonwood was hosting a “Celebration of Life” for a local named Chad, who had passed suddenly of heart failure, one month before his 53rd birthday. We probably wouldn’t have stuck around, since we didn’t know Chad, but there were a lot of people there from the night before visiting with us, a band was going to play at 3:30, and it was just interesting to be at this event for someone we didn’t know. I decided to approach his buddy, Lance (who reminded me so much of John Candy AND John Goodman in one dude), and see what I could learn about Chad. Here’s my takeaway.
Chad loved darts, and was good at them. There were awards displayed next to his boots and a couple of his hats.
Chad loved bees. He ordered 10,000 bees from Amazon and had hives around town that he tended. One has yet to be found, but Lance is on it.
Chad had been married and divorced twice, and his second wife was there and got very sad when she put on one of his hats.
Chad loved to fish and bought a pink fishing rod with a light up reel for the last big trip he went fishing on, just to make the guys laugh.
Chad had a mustache.
Chad wasn’t famous, or rich, or exceptionally good looking, but he lived longer that he thought he would, since all of the men in his family died before 50. His 2nd ex wife told me that every birthday he would say, “I can’t believe I’m still alive.”
I’m glad we got to be there for his moment of silence. While Jared and I chase a dream, while life moves so quickly beneath our feet, the world spins, wars are fought, the sun keeps rising and setting, people discover incredible things, babies are born, the night sky gets more and more familiar to us, in one simple little bar, in a simple South Dakota town, a simple man named Chad lived longer that he thought the would, and was loved deeply by at least a few other humans. We should all be so lucky.
Turns out, this day was about to get pretty magical…
We headed over to Nate and Heather’s place for some dinner and socialization and things were pretty chill. I asked if we could build a fire in their pit, since the weather was FINALLY nice enough to be outside. Nate was all too happy to oblige. Fire going, we bullshitted and drank until dinner was ready. Please LOOK at the size of this steak. I told Nate they looked like baseball mitts!
After dinner (and you KNOW I ate ALL of that beast!), we headed back outside for more fire. I said, half joking, “You know what would be great, is if you guys had an old Christmas tree we could burn! Those things are so fun to watch on fire!” Sure as shit, they had, not only ONE, but TWO Christmas trees to burn! The first one was a bit more needled, since it was just from this past year, but the second one sill had Christmas lights on it form the previous Christmas, but they were cut up (Ha ha, drunk Heather should NOT be given scissors!). So we had some intense tree burning fun! Not to mention how beautiful fire looks while burning copper wire…
After the excitement of the trees burning and the fires had dwindled down a bit, I looked up in the sky and said, “Guys. What is going on up there?” Well, it turns out, the NORTHERN LIGHTS were dancing all over the South Dakota skies! The strangest thing was that what we were seeing with our eyes was what looked like a lightning storm behind clouds. But, when I took some video, I saw all of the colors in the lights!!! It was WILD. I grabbed a screen shot photo from that video.
Although, this is certainly not the best picture, Jared and I were stunned to see something we’ve both always wanted to see, and NEVER, EVER, expected our first viewing to be in South Dakota! About twenty minutes of awe-inspiring visuals, but a memory to last a lifetime. Talk about right place, right time, right company. What a perfect end to our spring visit to Yankton, South Dakota…. Nate and Heather, if you’re reading this, just know that even though we can’t show you the Northern Lights in Tacoma, due to all the city lights and such, we promise to show you a wonderful time and hope to repay even SOME of the kindness you have heaped upon us every time we come around. Also, sorry-not-sorry…you’ve got friends for life in us weirdos!