Letter from the road
Rapid City, South Dakota – 1 October 2008
Adam is a good man, even though everyone thinks he’s a little odd because he has been talking to himself ever since his sister got married and moved to Valentine, leaving him alone in that enormous house. I must have told him a thousand times to stop eating so much, find himself a good country girl and start a family. But as he bites into something he pulls out of the huge pockets of his trousers, he always answers me brusquely:
- It’s too late now. I should have done it earlier … And anyway, girls just want to get out of Murdo … and I’m too fat … and my life’s fine just the way it is. Women are nothing but trouble.
Like so many others, they took the government land grant and, without a moment’s pause or a day of rest, they plowed and tilled, cut down forests and made every clod of earth fertile. I am well aware that those were difficult times, and that they always worked with one eye on their guns, which were always at hand regardless of what they were doing. Many Stephans are buried in the little cemetery they built at the edge of the large oaks of the woods to the south: some killed by an Indian arrow, others in feuds between farmers and cattlemen, and others in one of the many wars our country has faced time and again. But they were always there, bent by hard work but never by the violence of fate.
I am fond of Adam, but I don’t think that you’ll be dazzled by the flashes of cameras or will allow yourself to be influenced by the countless Stephans. On the contrary, I’m convinced that you will read my letter and grasp the simplicity of this request.
In any event, you should come here more often. Leave your worries back at the office, give yourself a day off and ask Adam to accompany you. He would be proud and delighted to do so. Stop in Murdo for a steak and a big slice of apple pie, or go straight to the Stephans, who will lay out the red carpet … the steak they offer you will be even bigger and the apple pie is really homemade. ………………….
I wish you every success in your career.