“Start by doing what’s necessary; then do what’s possible; and suddenly you are doing the impossible.” -Saint Francis of Assisi
If you have read the first few posts in my story I am thrilled. If this is the first time you are seeing this series, I hope you like it. For the background story, please look back through my older posts. My intention is that each post is independent enough to make a little sense on its own, but they are all building into one story that will hopefully really catch your attention and take you by surprise.
As Dawn Pfefferle spent her June working through her biology lab and at the equine center, she spoke with her uncle on the phone more often than she had while they were living together for most of her childhood. Something about his attitude really improved after his trek down to Platteville in the spring. He sounded as though he couldn’t wait to pick her up for the Fourth of July. In Rice Lake where he lives, there is an incredible firework display that people from all over the nation come to see each year. It’s just not summer without the pyrotechnics orchestrated by one of the local football coaches. Steve Pfefferle intended to pick up Dawn and return in time to find his prime viewing spot for the latest sky show. It would be the perfect start to their month of final preparations for heading out on their trip to the Black Hills.
Since he got home from taking Dawn her tack, Steve had been researching the route he and his dad used to take when they drove out west when he was younger. He had assumed he could take the same route and show Dawn all the great sites and scenery he discovered with his dad all those years ago. He was saddened to find several roads and highways had changed or been expanded so they by-passed many of the small towns he stopped in for diner food. Actually, he stepped daringly farther from his comfort zone and completed an online AAA Trip Tik Travel Planner. He felt confident he would be able to make a great adventure for the two of them before fall semester begins.
Steve was able to keep a few of the stops in place which he remembered from his childhood. He interspersed new stops with interesting dining options and local attractions he thought they would get a laugh out of if not actually like. He wasn’t thinking the Corn Palace would be on their itinerary, but since they would be driving right past, might as well. Mt. Rushmore is definitely on the list of points of interest they will see along with the National Parks they will come across on their 1,900 mile trek. The smaller less noticed stops will be sprinkled into the travel mix as time and money allow. Steve hopes Dawn will take on the mentality of high adventure and discovery while they roll along the highways and bi-ways of the Badlands with the windows rolled down and the stereo blasting. He hasn’t felt this excited to be alive since he can’t remember. He is awake and looking forward to something; what a truly foreign concept to him in his adult life.
Dawn had no idea of all the preparations her uncle had been making. She was so happy to be giving horseback riding lessons she didn’t even notice how her own attitude had improved. Occasionally she would be reminded of her mother but more often those memories were happy and comforting rather than sad and disappointing. There was some great growth happening in her as she continued to take classes and do things she enjoyed. Fewer were the times in her days when Dawn would sit alone wondering what life was for.
She was finishing up with her last lessons for the month and mucking stalls before she began to pack her things in effort to be ready when her uncle Steve arrived to take her home for the Fourth. One of her co-workers came to her and handed her an envelope. Surprised, she put down her pitch fork as her co-worker, Sue, explained what it was about. Dawn was so touched she almost couldn’t open the envelope. Sue and the other workers as well as some of the riding students Dawn had, collected money for her to take along on her trip out West. They all have learned what a challenging time Dawn has had growing up and getting where she is. They have really enjoyed working with her and learning from her. To show their appreciation, they wanted to make sure she would have enough money to get some nice souvenirs in real horse country. Dawn was practically speechless and certainly emotional when she hugged Sue and thanked her.
Steve pulled in to the driveway and up to the barn. He got out and quickly looked over the horse stalls to see if Dawn was there. She was not. He climbed the stairs to Dawn’s room while calling her name. She called back to him saying she was almost ready to go while shoving the last bits of her things into her luggage. Another emotional surprise came next, Uncle Steve reached for her and gave her a big hug and smooch on the cheek. Dawn couldn’t believe it. At that moment she had a true realization of how much her uncle has really brightened up. His disposition was that of a twenty-two year old. His eyes twinkled. His steps were light. He even smiled while he spoke. Dawn handed her big trunk to Steve and gathered her bags onto her shoulders. Down the steps they went and loaded the truck.
The pair happily started down the driveway with the stereo volume rising as quickly as the dust billowed behind their truck. Dawn and her Uncle Steve were ready for their adventures to begin. Next stop, fireworks on the shore of Rice Lake.