Thursday, February 2, 2012

Trip Back to Iowa - part 3

I know this story is about a trip back to Iowa so what is this about me being in Sioux Falls, South Dakota?  Well,  I love this city and try and get back to see friends as often as possible.  It is only miles from the Iowa boarder so please bear with me as the journey deviates from Iowa and I hope you can find some pleasure in the story.  My short stay in Sioux Falls is filled with visiting friends and a lot of laughing and hanging out. I love when the opportunity presents itself for a quick return. Since I often take a minute when writing about my experiences in Brazil,  to share a little history about the cities or regions I am visiting.  I guess I can do this now for my readers from other countries so they can learn more about the United States.   Well, Sioux Falls is a small metropolitan area in the southeast corner of South Dakota with a population around 155,000 (metro area 230,000).  With a booming economy and lust for life,  the city has seen a quick increase in population from 81,000 in 1980,s to the current day numbers.  It ranks as the 47th fastest going city in the United States and the largest city in the state of South Dakota.
The history of the city surround that of the cascading waters of the Big Sioux River created 14,000 years ago by the glaciers retreat in the region.  Many Native American tribes lived in small agricultural communities surrounding the river.  The first European settlers explored the falls and the Big Sioux River in the early 18th century.  Believing the falls would provide great water power,  they chose this location to settle and begin building a community.  It did not hurt that there was such a natural beauty on the river for their Sunday afternoon leisure. The population remained quite small until the railroad arrived in the 1880s.  As the iron horses rolled into the train station,  so did the number of people moving into the now incorporated town.  The population quickly increased and the city grew as an agricultural and railroad center in the region.  This boom ,however, slowed at the end of the century until John Morrels built a meat packing plant in 1909 which fueled another spur in growth. This packing plant is currently the third largest employer in the city.  The most recent influx of residents has been driven by two areas: credit card company jobs and medical jobs.  Many credit card companies (like Citibank and HSBC) have located here to benefit from the availability of trained employees and favorable state laws.  It is a regional medical center with two large hospitals calling the city home.  These centers are the number one and number two employers of the city. The quality of life in Sioux Falls is good  and it has been honored by being ranked: #1 city in the U. S. to live  several times by different magazines over the past twenty years.  
I can remember my first visit to the majestic falls that give the city its name.  After driving through a pretty run down neighborhood, the park was in need of some intervention.  Drug deals and who know what other activities were taking place there.  Today the city has focussed on renovating this area with the expansion of main street to Falls Park. They have nightly lazer shows during the summer and put up thousands of lights during the holiday season to attract visitors to the park.  It is now a great place to go  listen to the bustling waters and just relax.  (thanks wikipedia) 
Well, enough talk about Sioux Falls,  my time here today is done and it is time for me to head back across the boarder.  My nephew is playing football this afternoon and since I don't get the opportunity to see any of my nieces and nephews play or perform in extra activities, I cannot pass up any opportunities when they fit into my plans.  The drive to Sibley, Iowa, my brother's home town, is short and it doesn't take long to locate the school where the game is to be played.   I turn down the street and immediately am assured I am in the right place by the number of vehicles parked in the lot.  I pull in, park, and head
towards the bleachers.  As I get to the fenced area,  I am greeted by my other brother who is watching my nieces and nephews as they relieve some of their extra energy.  They all stop what they are doing and come at me with a wonderful greeting which I am always blessed to receive.   After catching up a little with them, I head to the bleachers where my sister n laws and parents are sitting.  It is a lovely afternoon with the great blue skies overhead and nice cool breeze of the fall.  I sit back and watch as my nephews team proceeds to win their game and I truly enjoy the afternoon.  I cannot believe my nephew is already old enough to be playing football, but I guess that is life and living so far away from family.   Time passes by so quickly. 
After the game my family heads to the quaint downtown area filled with all the traditional little stores of small town Iowa:  Post Office, bank, restaurant, hardware store and a couple specialty stores. It is the last game of the season for the football team and so my brother, being the coach, is treating them to pizza at the Pizza Ranch.   My family gathers at a table in the corner of the little restaurant and soon we are enjoying our pizza and conversation.  There is more catching up and talk about the next day as plans are in motion to get together as a family again to celebrate my parents birthdays.  My parents are five years apart (I won't share how old...kkk) so all the major birthdays can be celebrated together, which is nice.  The afternoon ends and soon I am driving back to Sioux Falls where I will be staying with my friend again. The drive through the countryside of Iowa and South Dakota is so peaceful and relaxing.  I take my time driving with the windows all the way down and fresh air rushing through my hair.  It is a great time of reflecting on life and all the wonderful ways I have been blessed.  As I am driving along the horizon looks to be on fire with the only thing missing is a huge cloud of smoke.  I soon realize it is the sunsetting over the western skies and what a wonderful site it is!  When I get back to Sioux Falls I am able to hang out with some more friends and enjoy some good down time... to be continued ...


burenda_chan said...

Very nice, David!

Dave said...

Thanks Burenday -- glad you enjoyed the read -- trying to stay caught up but it takes some time!! Keep enjoying..