Mr. Peevie asked me to point you to the update at the bottom of this post.
And I thought I'd also take this opportunity to show you a few photos from my trip to South Dakota. Here are the five kids atop a smallish Badlands formation (l-r: A. Peevie, Samwise, C. Peevie, M. Peevie, and E-Dude):
And here is my beauteous angel, M. Peevie, totally owning the Badlands:
Here's how A. Peevie spent approximately 50 percent of his time in the car. I don't know if you can tell or not, but that's Manny the Manatee in his lap. It's probably the first time a manatee, stuffed or otherwise, has been within 1000 miles of the Badlands.
I wish I had a photo of the Wagon Wheel Bar, in Interior, South Dakota, population 67 according to the sign at the edge of "town." We went there for "dinner" on our first day in the Badlands. To get there, you drive into town on Highway 77, and turn right at the gas station/"mini-mart." You'll know you're headed in the right direction because the sign on the corner points toward the "Business District." Pass the town jail (photo credit: Murrax on Wikipedia), which Dr. Paradigm Shift insists is not currently used as such because "the ACLU would be all over it," but which I think is totally where they throw the obnoxious drunk guy on Saturday night.
Anyway, as we walked into the Wagon Wheel, our feet stuck to the tacky floor and the smell of cigarette smoke immediately saturated our hair and clothing. But we were starving, and the bartender/waitress was smiling and helpful, so we ordered burgers and chicken fingers and home-made pizza, and beer for the grown-ups, and sat down at two small, slightly sticky tables.
The kids asked for money for the jukebox and started playing Johnny Cash songs, plus a little U2, Bon Jovi, and Toby Keith. There were no Killers songs on the playlist, unfortunately, or I'm sure we would have heard Leave the Bourbon on the Shelf, which is absurdly inappropriate for an 8-year-old to sing along with, or perhaps Human.
Anyway, while we ate, a cowboy walked into the bar, followed by his large dog. The dog walked up to us, smelled us, and then strolled over to his water dish and got a drink. Apparently, he's a regular.
Then, a bunch of Native American pool players stopped by the bar for their evening sport. They were wearing blue jeans, cowboy boots, and flannel shirts with the sleeves cut off. They sat around the table talking and laughing and sipping chardonnay from long-stem wine glasses. No lie. It seemed a bit incongruous, but maybe that's just me.