Kadoka is a place where if you get broken down even in the coldest weather, there will be a place for you to sleep and someone to help you. Someone will give you a meal if you need one. There are many towns like that in South Dakota, and many—I’d like to say most—of the people in our largest cities are the same way. That is the one most precious thing, among many special things, that makes this state such a wonderful place. If we ever lose that spirit we will have lost our birthright as Dakotans.
At an exhibit in Rapid City honoring Pope John Paul II some years ago, a couple from Kadoka asked me if I knew how my very religious grandmother was able to run a business and keep Sabbath. They told me that she would not do any work from sundown on Friday night until sundown on Saturday—what we call Shabbat. Turns out, Christian women from the community would come to the store at sundown Friday to take care of the store, rent the rooms above the store to travelers, and run things until my grandmother returned Saturday night. I am thankful for those women who helped my grandmother
So often I wish that we were better at expressing that same spirit with each other these days, that appreciating and respecting differences could bring people together rather than drive them apart. It looks possible that this kind of better spirit will prevail during this Legislative Session.