So what does the future hold?
I think I got a glimpse of what is coming years from now following a two-night conversation with a Millennial at a lodge in South Dakota.
Lynell and I, along with two other couples spent a couple of days last week at Spearfish Canyon Lodge in South Dakota. What began Thursday concluded Saturday evening when we returned home. What I will remember most about the trip will not be the casinos, the hot tubs or the deer, but the honest words the Millennial Girl spoke about where our country may be heading.
It all began when we walked into the restaurant across the road from the lodge Thursday night. It was about 30 minutes before closing time when we walked through the doors. We had the place to ourselves.
The Millennial Girl was working the room by herself, the cook stayed in the kitchen and the manager was doing manager-type things on a slow night. She liked conversation and we were quick to converse about the last time we had been there, approximately six years ago. We had returned on this night, not only to dine, but in search of the recipe for a salad dressing which we hadn’t seen or tasted since long, long ago.
Unlike the first time when the chef refused to share the recipe, this time was different, in part, because the manager wanted to know, as well, what dressing we were so enthralled by. The wives told the manager about it and, just moments later, he returned with copies of the recipe.
The night then turned into a celebration of sorts and Miss Millennial, when she wasn’t busy, sat and joined us.
As we would later learn, she was a college student working towards a degree in music at the college at Spearfish. Upon graduation, her plans are to teach music at a Native American reservation school for four years to pay off her education. That factoid, and more were shared in the pub after she got off work.
She was like so many others of her generation, donning several tattoos of varying sizes. Each had a meaning which she shared. But she also was happy to share how her boyfriend was an Army veteran who had served in Afghanistan. The night grew late so we agreed to continue this conversation Friday night.
So, after a day of Sturgis, Deadwood, The Lodge and a long occupation of two hot tubs, we returned to the restaurant for a Friday night feast. At one table were two ladies from Gothenburg whom I shortly came to learn we had crossed paths more than 30 years ago at my first newspaper job out of college.
Just as the manager had promised the night before, he had prepared the salad dressing and it indeed was the one from years past. He was as happy to know as we were as he promised to again place it on the menu. He said he couldn’t understand why such a unique dressing, a signature of the business, had been put away and forgotten for so long.
Miss Millennial finished up her work and joined us in the lodge. As the night progressed, it was eventually just three of us in the pub. That’s when she began to share her view of the world.
One, as expected from seeing her water bottle with a Barack Obama sticker on it, she was a proud supporter of the former president. No surprise there, he’s the only president she’s ever really known. She favored Bernie Sanders in the primary, supported Hillary in the general election and was now no fan of President Trump. Again, no surprise there.
So I asked her what she feared the most about the pending future? She replied, being able to make ends meet when she’s no longer in college. Her father being a civil engineer and her mother a real estate broker, she was still receiving plenty of financial support when needed.
As you can imagine, a college student’s views are different, much different, than someone who is now considered a senior citizen. Among Miss Millennial’s revelations were:
• Anyone who abuses animals should be locked up (no argument here).
• Environmental issues are important. She opposed the Keystone pipeline because of how it would be placed over the Ogallala Aquifer. She was offended, rightfully so, by how protesters to the Dakota pipeline who have trashed their campgrounds.
I then asked her what should I expect 10 years from now? She answered the legalization of marijuana as a recreational drug. For the next few minutes she explained how marijuana has helped people suffering from various medical ailments. I said, while other states may go that direction, I didn’t think Nebraska and it’s history of being Conservative, would ever go that direction. However, I can’t say for sure because of all the tax dollars coming into the government coffers in Colorado, that Nebraska might not want to one day go that route. A moderate governor and a less-conservative legislature might one day make it happen, but I wouldn’t bet the farm on it.
Her views were different than mine, yet her spirit, her strength of convictions was refreshing. Miss Millennial, master of more than 20 musical instruments, I expect will do great things in the years to come. She will teach others the joy of music. I hope they learn of Lennon & McCartney, George Jones, Hank Williams and “The Boss” Springsteen as well as Mozart.
Her views, like so many others have, will evolve as she gets older. Life will happen to her just as it does to everyone else. Yet, for a couple of hours, it was great to debate today and tomorrow and not have to scream and shout to be understood. Maybe that’s the best thing which came from the trip, to know that some how, some way, things will work out.
So what does the future hold?