Saturday, March 13, 2010
Patrick, a good friend from high school, was in the area for his work and stopped by for a delightful visit.
This evening I dragged him along to the small town of Reliance, 15 miles west of Chamberlain, where a fundraising dinner was held for two men in the community who have serious health problems and large medical bills.
I figured the event would give Patrick a taste of local color, and he was not disappointed. Tables were set up in the volunteer fire hall, and the line stretched out the door and down the block. For a free will donation, you could try all the mountain oysters, local wild game and side dishes you cared to eat.
Our part of South Dakota is known mostly for pheasants, but they also had venison, antelope, goose, wild turkey and turtle soup, which I’d never had but found very tasty. A big pot of chili awaited those who were not feeling so adventurous.
I used to be pastor at the parish in Reliance and enjoyed reconnecting with folks. But, in a small town, no one is really a stranger, and people made Patrick feel at home and animatedly told stories of life on the prairie weathering blizzards, helping birth calves and being good neighbors.
I know the families of the two men dealing with illness were inspired by their neighbors’ generosity.