The old home town looked beautiful, with the low hills across what used to be the Missouri River greener than they’ve ever been. And the water of the Oahe Reservoir, the result of one of the dams on what used to be the Missouri River, brimming up to a level never seen before. Beautiful. One of the female visitors for the Fourth, someone who had never before been to Mobridge, took 192 photos of the hills and water. She just couldn’t get over how lovely the area was.
Mobridge no longer was the dusty little town we grew up in. You really can’t go home again because that home no longer exists. Nearly all the houses and yards in my memory were now so much less grand, so much smaller. So many of them not even there anymore. Rosalie and I would drive around town, remembering what families lived where, remembering adventures and misadventures in our youths, probably embellishing those memories with details that never really happened. The memory is a fickle animal, painting some scenes more vividly than they deserve, leaving long stretches of time completely blank.
Our week in the old home town was interesting although not particularly fun. Just too many reunions, too many social obligations. And several of the interesting things involved my learning more of life’s little lessons. My mechanical aptitude measures about ten on a scale from one to a hundred. Locks. On our first day in our motel, we left and I punched in the little button on the door knob, then turned it just as I had always done with simple locks like that. When we returned, nothing I did would open the door. Off to the manager, who came and finally had to kick the door open. He told me I had only to push the button in, not turn it. Okay. I wonder how many others had locked themselves out as I had. The next day, we drove down to the water to see how it was doing. Parked the Chevy rental, got out, closed the door, heard the little beep and flash of headlights. Yikes! Sure enough, the car had locked itself. And, sure enough, I had left our only set of keys in the car. How was I to know, owner of a stupid car of 2001 vintage, that cars were now so smugly smart that they could lock themselves, especially when they encountered drivers stupid enough to leave the keys in the car? After many searches for someone who could jimmy the lock, we were again in the car, never again to make the same mistake. Damn smug Chevy. And after my ranting and raving against cell phones, I recanted and bought a Samsung cheapie for our trip. My grand niece Claire gave me instructions on its operation, much more complicated than I’d anticipated. But neither she nor the instruction manual (way too complicated) told me I had to have the phone turned on to receive any calls. How was I to know? If the silly thing could change the time to whatever time zone you were in, how could it not also turn itself on when a call came in? I guess I’m just too stupid to keep up with a technology that advances at light speed. Every communications device now on the market is obsolete as soon as it comes out.
It was good to return to our known world, to our two cats, to the heat and humidity of the Valley of the Sun. Maybe in five years we'll make the trip down memory lane again, providing we still have our memories. A card I bought says it well: "The positive side to memory loss . . . you meet new people everyday!"