Pleasant Hill, Missouri            Wednesday, June 21, 2017             ©2017 Pleasant Hill Times

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Asleep at the wheel

..,I've never been a terrific driver.
..,I'm not dangerous. I don't drive too fast and I don't drive too slow.
..,I've had my share of fender benders, but I've never had a serious accident behind the wheel.
..,My problem is that I don't always pay as close attention to what I'm doing as I should when I'm driving.
..,When my wife was still alive, she helped.
..,My wife drove. She just let me hang on to the steering wheel.
..,From the passenger seat, she let me know when to speed up and when to slow down.
..,When I was driving, my wife was my eyes and ears. She let me know if I was about to run a stop light, when to make a turn and if I was on the right road.
..,I know she wondered how I could drive somewhere by myself without her, but somehow I always seemed to manage.
..,I have friends who also have wives who tend to be backseat drivers. Some of them are even worse than my wife was.
..,Several years ago, some friends of mine and I went on a fishing trip to Canada.
Because we had to meet another friend in Minneapolis, Minn., three of us decided to fly there, hook up with our fourth fishing partner and drive to International Falls, Minn. where we crossed the border to Fort Francis, Ontario.
..,From Fort Francis, a bush pilot flew us north to the fishing camp where we spent a week trying to hook bass, trout and northern pike.
..,On the way to the airport in Kansas City for the first leg of our journey, my friends and I laughed and wondered how we would ever be able to manage the trip without our wives telling us what to do.
..,We did just fine. We packed the car without forgetting anything. We arrived at the airport in time, got checked in and made it to the correct gate for our flight to Minneapolis.
..,While we were waiting to board the aircraft, the airline announced there would be a 2-hour delay because of a small fire at the airport control tower in Minneapolis.
..,Where are three guys on a fishing trip going to go for two hours to wait for an
airplane? To the airport bar, of course.
..,We were sitting in the bar sipping a cold beer when one of my friends looked out the window overlooking the runway and asked, "Isn't that our airplane that's leaving?"
..,When we ran back to the ticket counter to tell the airline that our plane had left without us, we were told it was announced at the gate that the problem in Minneapolis had been corrected and our plane was ready to board.
..,The airline put us on the next plane to Minneapolis and we got there okay, but it made us realize that we might need our wives telling us what to do a lot more than we thought.

Life on The Res

...This last Sunday several of my friends took a group of nearly 40 youth and adult sponsors and traveled north to South Dakota. They will spend a week on an American Indian Reservation leading Vacation Bible School for the natives. For the last 17 years a team from Harrisonville and the surrounding area has gone and the Indian reservation kids love it! Now with the Pleasant Hill team joining for a second year, several new areas of the reservation are inundated each June with 'the white people' and their 'crazy bikes'.
..."The Res' (as the natives call it) spans around 500 miles with American Indians from several different tribes represented. The Pleasant Hill team will touch base in Wagner, South Dakota with a missionary team that works there full time. Wagner is the big town in that area with a population around 1500. It sits on the edge of the reservation and is a mix of natives and non-natives.
...The Pleasant Hill team will then travel another 30 miles to stay in the small town of Marty, population 402. This town is 100 percent native and functions differently than you might imagine.
...I went last year with the team of 25 from Pleasant Hill and was surprised at the
difference between what my opinion of what an Indian reservation would be like and what it was really like.
...For instance, the natives want to be called natives, and were not offended at the term Indian - which is what they called themselves. The reservation is a laid back lifestyle compared to the fast paced life we live here and people defintely don't wake up as early as we do here. Before you ask, no, there are no teepees. I did see a sweat lodge and got to learn a bit about The Yankton-Sioux Nation - Land of the Friendly People of the Seven Council Fires.
...They live in government built neighborhoods; identical houses that sit side by side. Each house is two or three bedrooms, but might house up to 10 or 15 people. This is a houseful of extended family, or might even have someone they call grandma or auntie, but isn't actually related... but she's part of the family - as she is part of the tribe, and they've taken her in because she's alone.
...Next week in the Times look forward to an extended story on the tribe and life on The Res. This will include an update on the Pleasant Hill couple who moved last summer to Wagner, South Dakota to get to know the natives better and open a community center to offer native kids a place to hang out.