Renee Weatherbee

Renee's Ramblings

Posted:  May 28, 2012


The Busted Nut

I never dreamt that I’d ever find myself eating dinner in Draper, a town classified as a “ghost town” with a population of eighty two (and I’m wondering if someone didn’t stretch that a bit) at a place called The Busted Nut.  The Busted Nut is a converted garage now a bar and grill. 

On Saturday night, Tyler, my daughter, Angel’s, husband, took us in heavy fog for a forty minute drive so we could feast at The Busted Nut.  I had to admit I wondered if it was going to be worth the drive over to eat at a place in a town where I’d driven by hundreds of times on I-90, but never even pulled into for the simple reason if you blinked, it was too late. 

The place was nearly full when we arrived, with all the seating in the front section taken up.  The hostess walked us back to an even larger back section.  The ambiance was definitely shabby garage sheik (I just made that up), with an oversized TV in one corner and a long bar against one wall with tables and booths filling up the center.   There were lots of garage doors and a cement floor painted black. 

We were handed huge menus – there was a wide variety of foods to choose from – the special that night was a bucket of seafoods, but Tyler and I ordered the ribeye and Angel order a chicken wrap.  In great big bold letters on their menu are the words promising huge portions and they aren’t kidding.  For appetizers, we ordered fried pickle spears and they were done to perfection, crispy on the outside with juicy dill pickle on the inside and as I write this, even though I suffered immensely with heartburn later, I want some more!  The smallest ribeye on the menu was 12 ounces, so I ordered it along with a baked potato.   We got a good looking salad complete with cucumbers, tomatoes and carrots in a large bowl.  The baked potato was cooked tender and fluffy and I guess that it measured eight inches long and six inches around.  All was delicious, but of course, we couldn’t eat everything.  My only disappointment in the place was that they don’t have my favorite cuts of steak, only ribeye, but it was the best tasting ribeye I’ve eaten. 

The service was good, the food even better.  If you find yourself driving along I-90 going either east or west and you are hungry, pull off exit 201 between Murdo and Vivian and order up some grub.  Their hours are 11am to 9pm seven days a week and they provide doggie bags!



Posted:  May 23, 2012


Scratching My Head

What is going on? Why is everyone is such a big hurry?

Three times in the past several weeks, I have had people pass me in a no passing zone while I was driving the speed limit. Not only were they risking their lives, but mine as well. I have to admit it ticked me off a bit. I wondered if they even thought about the fact that not only were they breaking the law, but they were putting me in jeapardy as well. This happened each time on Erickson Ranch Road, the highway that leads from the campground where I stay to town. In each of these cases, by driving the speed limit, I remained only two to three seconds behind catching up to these crazy drivers at the first stoplight in town. They gained absolutely nothing by passing me. They could not have reached their destination any more than two-three seconds faster. Those two or three seconds meant a heck of a lot to them apparently. Those two or three seconds could have meant the end of life and limb had they encountered an oncoming car. Seriously, that's some pretty expensive time there.

Also, yesterday, I witnessed a driver of a pickup get so impatient at a stop light turning red, that he decided to turn right, however, there were three or four cars ahead of him and no right turning lane. It didn't matter to him. Without thought, he decided to make the sidewalk into a driving lane and pull ahead of those three or four cars and make his way right. His stupidity gained him nothing. Just as he reached the corner, the light turned green. He couldn't have gained any time with that senseless maneuver. He could have, however, gained a hefty ticket for wreckless driving. He could have mowed over a pedestrian, because I'm sure in his hurried state, I doubt he even looked to see if the sidewalk was clear. I'm not even sure he knew he was on the sidewalk.

He reminded me of the guy several weeks ago who passed me on a two lane highway. He didn't pass me on the left. He decided the shoulder is where he wanted to go to make his way ahead of me. Again, I was going the speed limit, so in his sporty Camero, he showed me up by zooming past on my right. I was shocked. The shoulder wasn't all that wide. He must have had something pretty important to do. What do you suppose that was? Get home and kick the dog? For, in my opinion, someone that self-centered and impatient probably does just that.

Still scratching my head.




Best Friends:  Carrie (bride) and Amber (maid of honor) - True best friends know that even though they have to surrender a part of themselves to allow for a husband to come into the picture, that their friendship came first and will last a lifetime. 

Posted:  May 19, 2012

Best Friends

The following poem was recently written by my daughter, Amber, for her best friend, Carrie.  Amber knew that Carrie was experiencing difficult times and wanted to reach out and help her.  Unfortunately, there are times in life when we are powerless to do much ourselves and we can only sit quietly and send up our prayers and hopes for those who have so deeply touched us and reflect on how much they mean to us, now, in the past and forever. 

Carrie and Amber have that kind of kindred friendship where they often know what each other is thinking or know when the other is having troubles.  The kind of friendship that time cannot damage, that no matter how long it’s been since their last get together, it’s unchangeable.    This heartfelt poem is dedicated to you, Carrie, and it is Amber’s hope that by reading it, it will bring back wonderful memories and that you will know there is always an open invitation to you to come create new memories and to remember you will always have a best friend to share this awesome, yet sometimes troublesome, world with.    


Have You Ever

By Amber Jo Towers Petersen

for her best friend, Carrie


Have you ever seen a rainbow in the glisten

of the sunset on a car hood?

Only when I’m with you.


 Have you ever felt the beachfront clay

of Oahe in between your toes?

Only when I’m with you.


 Have you ever tasted the purple haze

of a hot summer’s day in a Chevette ride?

Only when I’m with you.


 Have you ever smiled so long and big

that your cheeks began to hurt?

Only when I’m with you.


Have you ever laughed so hard

your stomach ached?

Only when I’m with you.


Have you ever heard the music and felt it true?

Only when I’m with you.


Have you ever seen an angel rescue two kids

who didn’t know what to do?

Only when I’m with you.


Have you ever stayed up and smelled the dew on the perch

of Never Ending Road as the sun goes down and comes up again?

Only when I’m with you.


Have you ever known your best friend loved you

from here to there to every where?

Only when I’m with you.

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Above:  Grandson, Tukker, ecstatic to be seeing the "faces" up close and granddaughter, Emry Jo, just plain excited, even if her toes are wet. 


Posted:  May 12, 2012

What is This World Coming To?

Two weekends ago, I had the great honor of taking my grandson, Tukker, to see the “faces” at Mount Rushmore.  Tukker has been fascinated with the faces for about three years.  At six years old he had only viewed them from his car seat as someone drove him past the colossal mountain with the giant presidential faces staring down at him.  I was one of those who drove him by several times, but because of his age, I didn’t stop thinking he was too young to understand it. 

I didn’t think he would understand what the President of the United States is.  He has not only fooled me, he has awed all of his family with his interest in the presidents and loves to bring home books about Abe Lincoln, George Washington and Theodore Roosevelt.  I am sure Thomas Jefferson is next. 

As we were driving up in the Black Hills up toward Mount Rushmore, we noticed some dark clouds forming in that direction.  Tukker’s mom, Angel, wondered if we shouldn’t turn around.  “Heck, no,” I said, “this is the Black Hills – they have short little rain showers all the time – it won’t last long.  It’s nothing.  Besides, I can’t wait to see Tukker’s face when we get up there.”  So I drove on, oblivious to the clouds.  (Besides, the first thing Tukker said to me when he saw me that morning was, “Are you going to take me to see the faces, Grandma?”)

Upon arrival we drove up to the fee area and paid for our parking pass.  We drove into the parking garage, unloaded Emry’s baby gear, and realized we didn’t have a jacket for Tukker to wear.  The air was getting cooler by the minute, but we had come too far to turn back.  The four of us rode the elevator up to the entrance and just as we stepped out of the elevator, it started raining. 

In excitement we hurried up the flight of concrete steps just as torrents of cold rain started pounding down upon us.  We stepped under a cement overhang that was maybe four feet wide, along with about 30 other people.  I noticed three young men standing near Angel observing her and her little family.  The three young men appeared to be late high school age or college…and I did notice that they were all quite handsome.   I also briefly smiled to myself thinking they probably have no trouble with the girls either and prejudged that they were probably all about having a good time.  

I ran off toward the women’s room out of necessity, leaving Tukker, Angel and Emry behind under the cement overhang.  Just then a huge flash of lightning seem to hit the ground in front of those standing under it.  I heard a little scream from Angel.  I heard her telling Tukker to stay put so his receiver piece to his cochlear implant didn’t get wet.  If the expensive receiver got wet, it would have to be replaced. 

After another round of thunder, Angel grabbed her little family and pushed and pulled them all toward what she thought was a gift shop and stepped inside.  I ran after her calling her name, but she wasn’t hearing me.  A man nearby ran up to her and got her to turn back before she embarrassed herself or anyone else.  Unknowingly, Angel had hauled her family into the men’s bathroom.  We started visiting with the man, who was from Illinois.  He and his wife were making their first trip through South Dakota and couldn’t leave without seeing the famous faces.  They were disappointed in the weather, but he stated if he had to, he would stay over and come back the next day.  He wasn’t going to miss the opportunity.   

It seemed a bit odd to be standing in the lounge of the men’s restroom chatting with strangers and yet, it seemed perfectly normal.  There were other men standing and sitting around, but no one seemed to mind that we were invading their space.  Hail started hitting the ground right outside, nothing too large, but enough that we felt lucky to have shelter.  It kept coming down, as the air got even colder.  Standing in the doorway, I noticed the three handsome young men we saw under the overhang run up toward the monument and viewing area, getting soaked and hit with pea size hail.  I assumed they were probably in a hurry to get back to chasing girls or partying or whatever kids their age do. 

We stood around for another half hour, but this time it was close to an hour of waiting for the storm to quit still in the men’s bathroom entryway.  Then I saw the three young men come back down from the monument area all wearing disposable rain gear that they must have bought in the gift shop.  They all had their clear, plastic hoods up.  They must have gotten a quick view of the faces and then were heading to the parking garage to leave.  They glanced in our direction as they were leaving no doubt wondering what we were doing hanging out in the men’s bathroom.   Tukker was standing next to me asking when we could leave.  Angel reminded him we couldn’t get his “ears” wet.   Ten minutes later, one of the handsome young men came back and walked into the men’s bathroom.  He said, “Here, give this to the little guy to wear.  It will help keep him dry.”  We thanked him for being so thoughtful and frankly, I am still stunned by his act of kindness.  He must have gotten all the way down to their vehicle and thought about it and turned around and came back to give Tukker his disposable rain gear.  How many people would take the time out of their own little world to offer to help a stranger randomly like that?  Here I had prejudged this young man and his cronies, assuming that they were just out to have fun and out for themselves and one of them proved me wrong.  It was a quick gesture, but it will stay forever in my mind as one of the kindest things I’ve ever witnessed. 

Finally, the rain lightened up and with Tukker in his disposable rain gear, we headed up toward the viewing deck.  We took the walk down the Hall of Flags.  We got to the viewing area and looked up.  Tukker stood there and named the faces in order, George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln.  I think he surprised of few of the bystanders.  I know he surprised me!  Tukker saw the viewing binoculars and wanted to look at the faces through them.  He asked me for quarters, but I had just cleaned the change out of my purse that morning.  Another stranger walked up and handed us quarters so Tukker could use the viewer.   Once again, I was touched by the kindness of another.  Tukker got his close up view of the faces and then he got grandma to buy him Mt. Rushmore paraphernalia in the gift shop.  He wanted everything with the faces on it.  He got a few things.  

I have often wondered what is this world coming to, with all the craziness you hear on the news.  But, thankfully, sometimes we get reminded that this world is a wonderful place, full of wonderful people.  Sometimes it just takes a little storm to get us to connect with one another…or a little boy with a face full of excitement. 

May God bless the young man who handed over his rain gear and then turned back to walk away in the rain.  May God bless the man who handed Tukker three quarters so he could see the Presidents’ faces close up.  I doubt Tukker will ever forget this day.  I know I won’t. 


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Posted:  May 9, 2012


After moving six times in about as many years, with each move I've been able to sort through closets and forgotten storage areas in order to reduce the amount of baggage that had to be moved from one place to the next. With each move, things once treasured but stored away for who knows what, were hauled away and given to the Salvation Army.

Once I had a collection of music boxes which were lovingly displayed in my home. Collecting those music boxes gave me great pleasure back then. Friends and family helped me add to my collection by giving them as gifts. One of my favorite memories is of watching, Baine, my grandson's eyes light up when the music boxes were wound up and played. He was two and three years old and couldn't keep his hands off of them. He was gentle with them and just liked to stand in front of them and listen to the tiny little tunes coming out of them. He was as fascinated with them as I was.

With all the moving, the collection suffered and many of the music boxes were damaged. My heart would break with each broken box until I would tell myself they were just pieces collecting dust and that they were not that important. Now I have just a few remaining from my collection. They have been reduced to spending time tucked away in box in the back of a closet. I have learned that the really important things in life have nothing to do with anything you can box up and move with you.

It's not that I don't still have items I never want to part with. I have the antique pig cookie jars that have their own story behind them and that will forever remind me of my relationship with my dad. Thankfully, they have survived each move. I have the hand sewn stuffed white buffalo lovingly made just for me by my grandson, Baine, and I have the handmade items that my mother, sister and aunt have given me. I have gifts from family and friends that I never will part with. Those go from place to place with me.

However, with each move, there is a new opportunity to lighten the load, to reduce the clutter, to simplify my life, to sort through stuff I haven't looked at or unpacked since the last move. I chuckle at myself at the stuff I still keep carting around, like all my scrapbooking supplies. Why do I do that? Yes, I have boxes full of photos I would love to put into albums for my kids and grandkids, but lets face it, I am just not that artistic and I quickly get bored with it, because I run out of ideas. I always have in the back of my mind that one day I will develop that artistic and crafty side that can produce wonderful memory books. It will most likely never happen, but I've spent considerable amounts of money on this endeavor. My plan is to finish my middle daughters book and then move on to my youngest daughters book, then gift them all the left over scrapbooking supplies That is my plan...

Living in the motor home for the past three weeks, I realize just how much stuff I really don't need in my life. WIth all our household belongings still sitting in Virginia, I can't say that I've missed them or given them much thought. They will soon be brought back to South Dakota to sit in a warehouse for three months and then be moved and unloaded at our house. Once again, they will find their place in our home, but hopefully, there will be little to stick into the back and top of a closet to be forgotten. Hopefully, when I leave this world, my kids won't have to deal with mountains of useless and worthless stuff. Hopefully, I have done a good job of clearing out the clutter.

I recommend to everyone that even if they aren't moving to pretend like they are every once in awhile just to free yourself from stuff. Stuff that will only be a burden to others in the end. Stuff that has no sentimental value. Stuff that just takes up space. Sooner or later someone is going to have to deal with all that stuff. Stuff not only clutters your home - it clutters your mind, because when you have too much it is always on your mind. Reduce the clutter and free your mind. It will give you time to think about more important things and the clutter that you pass on to others may just be the very thing that they need or will treasure.

Now, if I could only apply this concept to the inside of my purse, I'd really be getting somewhere! No more would I drive myself and other people crazy while I dig and dig through papers, coins, cosmetics, keys, medicine, and other junk while searching for a particular item. I estimate I would save at least an hour a week or 52 hours in a year of time if I would just organize my oversized purse. Maybe...someday.


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