Reinhardt Family History

Memories of Eggs and Chickens

Stories from Neil Reinhardt

<bgsound src="../../../music/cntryclb.mid">

of Eggs & Chickens


It all began in August of 1953 as Em and I started on our first vacation together after being married 17 years. It seemed that with all the baby calves and baby pigs and even our own babies and just trying to make a living on a farm, we never could find time to get away. So leaving Em's sister to take care of our kids, and hiring a man to milk the cows, we started off on a bright sunny day. We left the state at LaCrosse, leaving hills and valleys of Wisconsin along the Mississippi River heading into the level and rich farm land of Minnesota. Approaching Worthington, Minn., which at that time was the turkey capital of the world, we saw thousands of turkeys in the fields, just like cattle. Passing on into South Dakota our next stop was the Badlands, a colorful scene of rocks and sand shimmering in the August heat. We proceeded to Wall, S.D., a town of several hundred people plus the Wall Drug Store. Since the start of our trip there had been signs advertising the Wall Drug Store, along with Burma Shave signs. The actual Drug Store wasn't much bigger than a filling station, and took up 1 percent of the entire complex. The rest was a huge tourist trap, ahead of its time.

From there we went to Rapid City in the Black Hills, land of beautiful scenery. It was just getting dark as we came into town, and discovered a new road was being built on the street where most of the motels were. Men with lanterns and flashlights came along the side of the cars, directing people to the motels. We stayed two days in Rapid City, visiting the various places of interest: Deadwood, a historical mining town and setting for Wild Bill Hickock and Calamity Jane and other frontier characters; the city of Lead, a mile-high city built around the home-stake gold mine, the largest gold mine in the Western Hemisphere. We also visited a cave and decided to take in a rodeo one afternoon, to watch the cowboys rope and ride. Midway through the show a big black cloud came up and we got up to leave. A man sitting next to me said 'I guess you have never been to a rodeo before'. When I said 'No' he said 'it' don't stop for rain, come into the grandstand where it will be dry. Soon it was raining so hard it was hard to see the contestants but they continued roping those calves and racing their ponies around barrels until the sun came out again.

We were really impressed with Mount Rushmore, seeing the heads of Washington, Lincoln, Jefferson and Roosevelt carved in granite at the top of a mountain. It took Gutzon Borglum, the sculptor-planner, and his assistants many years to complete. The heads are in proportion to a man 465 feet tall. It measures 60 feet from the chin to the forehead for each man. Three tunnels through the adjoining mountains are lined up to focus on Mount Rushmore.

Our next stop as we headed toward the East was the small town of Gettysburg, South Dakota to visit with some friends from whom we had rented a farm in the forties. They owned a small hotel there, and we had a nice reunion. We toured the area with them, including the near-by Cheyenne Indian Reservation, where the natives had been taken advantage of by salesmen from the cities. There were refrigerators and other appliances sitting outside the huts, but they had no electricity to make use of these things.

One evening our hosts took us out in the boondocks on the banks of the Missouri River to a place for supper. This was the most scary ride of the entire trip. When our host driver came to a place that started down to the river which was almost 4 miles away, he took the transmission out of gear, shut the motor off, and away we went! Oh what a wild ride, as there were many twists and turns in the road, with the narrow bridge crossing the river at the bottom of the incline. All I could do was hang on and pray that the brakes would hold when he needed them. The huge steaks we had, brought us back to normal.

Everyone was glad to see us upon our return. The only problem arising while we were away was a serviceman had to be called when the door on the refrigerator refused to be opened. Also a lame cow died in the woods, but I felt that if I didn't have them I couldn't lose them, and the cow would have died even if we would have been there. We were thankful all of the humans survived. If I remember right, the only other vacations I had before I retired were those spent in the hospital.