Our most recent trip to Sioux Falls did have a pleasant difference in that we were able to coordinate it with a surprise birthday party for my Dad in Centerville the next day. In fact, his wife used our visit as both the motivation to actually organize the party, which she had been contemplating but hadn’t gotten around to doing until she heard we would be in the area, and a cover story for the extra cooking, etc. for the festivities. As a result it was a complete surprise; Dad didn’t realize something was up until other people started arriving.
There was also a bit of a milestone for me. Dad wanted to go to an Italian restaurant in Vermillion, which marked the first time I had been there since I moved away nearly eight years ago. I had been in the area a few times since but had always had some excuse not to visit (no time, out of the way). The truth is I had avoided returning because it had hurt so much to leave. If I had to do it over I would still be there, even though the odds of meeting my wife (who does know how I feel) would have been long. But we didn’t do enough to reopen any wounds; just a quick drive past my old house and Public TV to show my wife the locations.
The town hasn’t changed very much. The only big additions since I left are Wal-Mart and a new Holiday Inn Express. The other changes are basically more of what was already there: the trailer court where I lived is larger, there are more storage units, etc. The restaurant – which I had only patronized once when I lived there - had moved from where I remembered it, but was a good place to eat. Overall, it was still the town I remembered. Someday I may actually pay it a proper visit. I think I can handle it now.
The drive back home had an interesting feel to it (although happily nothing like the drive down, the first hour of which was on a snow-packed highway at 35 mph). There was standing water filling ditches, creeks, rivers, etc. almost everywhere, with more snow ready to melt, giving the impression that we were getting out just ahead of trouble. In fact, many of those areas have since flooded. It will be interesting to see the conditions in three weeks when we go back to see yet another doctor.