April 29, 2009


By Dean Meyer


I have to apologize for last week’s article, or lack of. It was a combination of events that caused the delay. I’ll try to explain.
You see, it had been a long, tough winter. Fighting snow, wind, storms, and floods. Every day was a new challenge. A challenge to be met with the tenacity of a person nurtured by the strength of generations of Dakotans.
And then I found myself engulfed in bright, hot sunshine. Surrounded by sand. Off in the distance, I could see lush, green grass. An oasis surrounded by palm trees. The sun was beating down on me mercilessly. My mouth was dry. My tongue was swollen. My knees and legs hurt. My arms became sun burnt and blistered. My ears ached with the echo of ding-ding-ding-ding in my head. Twenty-four hours a day. Like the sound of thousands of slot machines. My muscles ached from lack of sleep. You see, I am used to lots of sleep. I tried to keep my head down and find a way to reach the green grass, but alas, it was to no avail. I may struggle in this sand forever.
No, it wasn’t a dream. I was in a sand trap on a golf course in Las Vegas! I know you too feel my pain. It wasn’t my idea. Some old friends invited me on a golf outing. Like we used to do years ago. When sleep wasn’t required. I hesitated, but Shirley insisted I take a few days off. Well, maybe insisted isn’t the right word. And maybe she just didn’t object strongly enough. Of course, I didn’t tell her I was going until the plane touched down in Vegas. By then it was too late.
The trip started out a little rough. You see, I don’t travel a lot. Maybe across town for happy hour. Or up to Killdeer to check cows once in awhile. I don’t care for flying. The seats aren’t made for XXXL talls. And since I was doing this on the sly, I had to pack my own bag. Note to ladies who are reading. I said bag. Not bags. We were only going to be gone for six days. That is two pair of Wranglers, two changes of underwear, and three shirts. An extra pair of socks in case I end up in the water. One bag. Period.
I went shopping and restocked my shaving kit. It had some worn-out bars of soap in the bottom. From a hotel years ago. Some old rusty razor blades. An empty bottle of shampoo. And some pain pills from a bad tooth a decade ago. Still good, I hope. Because they were strong enough they should be illegal. Anyway, I restocked that kit. And kept it in my suit bag so I could just carry it on.
You know when airport security asks you if you have any liquids or gels in your carry-on? Did you know they are talking about your shaving kit? Really! So, when I assured them I didn’t, they dumped that baby out and there it was. Brand new shampoo. Trash. Too much toothpaste. Trash. Mouthwash. Over 3.4 ounces. Trash. Foot-rot medicine (athlete’s foot you know, just to prove I am an athlete). Trash.
So now, you are looking at a big fat guy, with very few clothes, and no hygiene stuff. It’s getting stuffy in here!
And I was traveling with some high-rollers. One high-rolling football coach who played the penny slots. A part-time lumberman, who spends more time on the golf course than in the lumberyard. A grocer, who… never mind. A basketball coach who had never been to Vegas, and knows all the words to Don McLean’s song “Drove my Chevy to the Levy,” or whatever the heck it was. One guy who has Pinochle for a license number, but can’t hit out of the sand. A doctor, who may or may not be licensed. Two oil guys and a retired electrician, who shared a room. Now that seems odd. A butcher, a banker, and a candlestick maker. Not really. No candlestick maker. But it just seemed to fit.
So back to why there was no article. I think it is self-explanatory. It was Shirley’s fault. And you know what they say… What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas! Send me money, you guys, and I won’t tell on you next week.