As I sit here, under the weather and under the influence of A Mourning Rain, Im reminded of the story Im supposed to finish. My deepest apologies for not producing the second part of our two part tale earlier. Were I to say I forgot I would be doing the lot of you a gross injustice. I, in point of fact, did not forget. I have merely been taken by one of the deadly sins: sloth. Having conquered the lure of sloth, if only for the time being, I shall now finish my tale so that you may have that slight wisp of satisfaction that can only come from the conclusion, and resolution, of a good story.
When last we left our heroes, they were headed the wrong way in the middle of that God forsaken state known as Iowa. Will they reach their destination in time? What fate awaits the one that got them lost? Only time will tell...
Brian having taken over the captains chair, we continued our jaunt through Iowa toward our final destination of Sioux Falls. It was at this point that I realized I was looking at one of the few sunrises I had ever seen in my life. Phone in hand, complete with camera (I do love technology) I snapped a few photographs. They certainly arent anything to write home about, but I couldnt let this occasion pass by undocumented. The rest of the drive was uneventful, full of sleep and other equally-as-boring affairs.
At long has we had arrived. A phone call, a wrong turn, and a hilarious parking job later, we were greeting Joel with hugs all around. We entered the homestead of his fiance, Andi, and were glad to meet her and her family. Two of the four of us adventurers had already met the bride to be, I being one that had not (at least in person). She is an adorable little thing, our Andi, and I was reminded of her daintiness at most every turn seeing little pairs of flip-flops strewn about. There was pasta cooking when we arrived, and Im a sucker for pasta. Unfortunately it wasnt to be our dinner that evening but instead was slated for the menu at the reception. It was about this point we realized that we had driven for fourteen hours, through the night, having taken nothing even close to resembling a shower. Bathed and smelling good, at least as good as a man is capable of smelling, we set out on our first errand: tea lights. In the previous sentence I inferred that I was a male and therefore, with that being a true statement, I had no idea what tea lights were. "The little candles in the metal thing" was the explanation I was given and was immediately made aware of my thickness as I knew exactly what tea lights were. "Where shall we go to get tea lights?" seemed to be the most popular question over the next few minutes. Even though our minds were still not made up (and by "our" I mean "Joel's" as we are all from Kentucky, have lived there our entire lives, and because of that, have little to no idea where to look for tea lights in Sioux Falls, SD), we set out about the town.
The Tea Lights
Sioux Falls is by no means a huge place but, Im fairly certain, has the largest number of casinos per capita than anywhere else on God's green earth. I come to this conclusion only because I saw a small shopping center not more than a single block wide containing a gas station, Little Ceaser's, TCBY, and shady casino. At first I thought it was rather strange but, after about 15 more seconds on the road, realized that it was an all to common occurrence. Even with the fascinating surroundings our mind did not stray from our mission. The local HyVee was to be the first stop on our quest. Until pulling into the parking lot I had never seen, much less heard of HyVee. After being in and out several times I can only describe it thusly: if you want groceries and designer jeans at discount prices, go to HyVee. What HyVee doesnt have, apparently, are tea lights. Somewhat distressed by this, we left the store, but not before using Richards alcohol allowance to purchase a bottle of Woodford Reserve. Our next stop would be Lewis. Not Lewis's as I would have originally thought but just Lewis, singular. Until pulling into the parking lot I had never seen, much less heard of Lewis. After being in and out once I can only describe it thusly: if you want yard ornaments, craft supplies, or designer jeans at discount prices, go to Lewis. We were let down yet again by the lack of tea lights, but we had one more establishment to forage. Our final stop (which, looking back, probably should have been our first stop) was the friendly neighborhood WalMart. Now we were in our element. No more than 20 seconds in the door and we had tea lights in hand. We returned, victoriously, to an empty house as the women had made for the church to do reception preparations. So we did what anyone would do after driving fourteen hours through the night: we passed out on the couch.
Later that evening we were invited to the rehearsal dinner. We werent in the wedding mind you, but it was either that or leave us sitting in a strange house for a few more hours. We were treated with BBQ, watermelon, and various other delectable summertime foods. The only thing missing from this summer evening was summer. After dinner we were standing around the deck prattling on. The wind had begun to pick up and it must have come straight from the frigid arms of Canada. It got downright cold. Some mention was made of certain body parts being able to cut glass. Someone suggested all the men should go patronize the local Irish pub. We, of course, agreed and set off. McNalleys (how fantastically Irish) was our destination. We were accompanied by the Father that would be performing the wedding the following day. His name, unfortunately, escapes me, but he was a jolly fellow indeed. Being at an Irish pub, one can only assume they have but one choice as for their drink order: Guiness. I had never partaken in the thick creaminess that is a good Guiness. The fact that it almost needs to be chewed before it can be swallowed is a wonderful one in my opinion. We drank and laughed for a few hours before heading to our hotel for the night.
The following morning came with surprising haste. Before I knew it I was up, in the shower, and out the door. The night before, whilst at the pub, we had tossed around the idea of going to see District 9. That idea, after being tossed, had apparently landed somewhere because its exactly what we did. I dont intend this post to be a movie review so Ill simply say that I recommend the movie. It isnt at all what you expect it to be and, in this case, I think thats a good thing.
The Wedding (and reception I suppose)
Before we knew it we were seated in a church with the wedding underway. With it being a catholic wedding it was long. I dont mind the length, really. If youre going to get married you might as well make a day of it. The reception was after and I got to indulge in that pasta salad that had been occupying my thoughts since the previous day and it didnt disappoint. I should mention the music selection at this reception. I think it better to give you a short example rather than tell you about it. I went outside the church for a few minutes at one point during the evening. When I walked back in to make my way to the reception hall I heard Animal Collective reverberating off the walls. Thats the kind of play list I want at my wedding.
The Hazards of Love
We couldnt stay at the reception for too long due to the ever-present constraints of time. We changed out of our proper clothes and back into our shorts and, at least in my case, band tshirts. After saying our goodbyes to the newlyweds we headed out. It was on our return trip that we engaged in what we had been wanting to for some time now. Prior to the trip, Richard had printed out scripts for us. "Scripts? Scripts for what?" you may be asking. Ill tell you what. It was his idea that we should perform the entire Hazards of Love album, from beginning to end, each playing a different character and singing their parts. Richard would play the role of Margaret (you have my permission to laugh at this point), Brian would take the role of The Rake, Rob would play the Queen, and I would be playing the roll of William / The Narrator. To onlookers (of which there were, thankfully, none) it may have looked and sounded terrible, but it didnt matter. Singing a duet with Richard who is playing the role of my character's lover will always be hilarious. After our performance had come to an end I found myself looking out the window at the vast number of stars. If Iowa is good for anything, its stars. I fell asleep at some point, Im not exactly sure when, but was awoken when we were pulling off to make a pit stop. Brian had to relieve himself, so we pulled into a gas station only to find that it was closed. On our way in we saw a car parked in the corner of the lot and, for whatever reason, pulled up next to it. Luckily for Brian there was a cornfield nearby (Iowa...) so he used that as his lavatory. It was then that we noticed the car we saw as we pulled in wasnt empty. A man got out of the car and was eyeing us and Brian. We got worried at first, but he got back into his vehicle with no incident. Needless to say we got out of that gas station fairly quickly and continued on our way.
The Kum & Go
The next time we stopped was early in the morning at a Kum & Go (I wish I were making this up). I dont know what brought it on, but I had my phone out taking pictures of the station. It was probably the fact that the gas prices made no sense.
The rest of our journey was, again, uneventful. We arrived back in Louisville in plenty of time to return the rental car and went our separate ways. If you take nothing else away from this (long and drawn out) tale, take this: if you want everyday items as well as designer jeans at discount prices, South Dakota is the place for you.