We left Cowboy Bob’s mid-morning and made our way to Wall. Drove past Hubba’s House in downtown Elm Springs, snaked down through the Cheyenne River brakes north of Wasta – ever since my first trip to the Dennis Ranch, that’s among my favorite stretches of South Dakota – and rolled into Wall, where we collected roughly 20 new states’ license plates (and a couple of provinces) in the Wall Drug parking lot.
We bummed around the world-famous drug store long enough for Gabe to realize he left his nice wristwatch in the restroom an hour or more earlier. I was guessing he left it at the sink, and reminded him that it’s water-resistant, so he can leave it on when he washes.
Nope, he took it off and set it on top of the toilet paper dispenser while he was in the stall. “Why?” I asked.
He thought a moment or three. “I don’t know,” he said.
The watch wasn’t at the lost-and-found, and Gabe was fighting off tears admirably. We were about to leave when I thought, If I were an honest tourist and found that watch, I wouldn’t know where the lost-and-found was. I’d turn it in at the closest counter.
We went to the Western art shop and told the cashier what we were looking for. She said she thought they had it across the hall in the Country Store. Sure enough, there it sat behind the fudge counter. Gabe was so excited he snatched it from the hand of the young Polish gal at the cash register and nearly forgot his thank you – she was teasing him a bit, as though she had a watch but perhaps not his watch. Anyway, to remind him of his manners, I pointed out that her nametag said she was from Poland, and asked him how she he thank her. He was beaming at his watch and couldn’t remember.
“Dziekuje,” I told her.*
“Oh! Prosze!” she said.**
It was 98 degrees when we crossed the Badlands. We ate supper at a drive-in burger joint in Rapid City, and tried to explain to Trevor what a slushie is. We compared it to ice and juice, snowcones, whatever we could think of, but nothing was clicking. Finally Trevvy hit upon something that showed he hadn’t heard a word we had said. “Ooooooh!” he said. “Just like when you flush a toilet!”
Yes, my son. We are having Flushies for dessert. On second thought, let’s have floats.***
Now we’re at Grandma and Grandpa Venjohns’ place. It’s late. Sweet dreams!
* * * * *
* Pronouced “jeen-KOO-ya” – Polish for Thank you.
** Pronounced “PRO-sha” – Polish for both Please and You’re welcome.
*** Come to think of it, in this context, floats sound disgusting, too.