Monday, August 16, 2021

Completing Another Circle of Life

Location: Grand River Casino Campground; Mobridge, South Dakota

That is the Missouri River in the background.

As many readers know, as I was growing up, my family moved around from state to state while my father worked for a National Construction Company (Al Johnson Construction Company). I lived in 15 different towns in 11 different states between the age of two and seventeen. It was adventurous, at least for me. I'm thinking of my grandchildren as I write this next paragraph because it may answer some of their future questions about their family history.

My father was 34 years of age when he started work for Al Johnson. This is the story as I remember it. It has some holes in it. There are a whole lot of questions I wish I could ask, but it's way too late.

My father served in the Air Force during World War 2. Afterwards, he married my mother and became a father when my older brother was born in 1945. My sister came along in 1951 and myself in 1956. During those years he worked in several different jobs around east Texas. He was working with a redi-mix concrete company around the Port Lavaca, Texas area. An engineer that worked for Al Johnson met my father and they hit it off. Even in his early thirty's my father had a reputation for being knowledgeable in the construction industry and a "leader of men". He was offered a job as a Labor Superintendent with Al Johnson around 1958 or so. That would mean moving the family from project to project and state to state. By the time he retired, he was a Project Superintendent and owning stock in the company. Financially, he and my mother made the right decision. I sure wish I could ask my mother and father what were the pros and cons about going to work with the company. I also wish I could go back in the time to hear their discussion when he came home and told her about the job offer. Wishes, wishes.

The first project the company sent my father to was,,,,,, (wait for it),,,,,, Mobridge, South Dakota. The town I'm camped in right now. Another one of Life's Circles. I drove across the bridge my father worked on 63 years ago. It was wintertime when we moved here and my mother tells the story of the first paycheck going to buy parkas, gloves, snow-boots and long under-ware. It was cold, at least for people who were raised in east Texas. There are a couple family pictures of Mobridge and I think I've found some of the places where they were taken, but I'll never be sure. I'll stop now or this post will go on and on. I do need to get around to putting a lot of the family history down in writing for the grandbabies. If not, they will be like me, and just have a lot of questions, with no answers, as they get older. Don't wait too long.

This is not the first old project of my father's that I have visited in my travels. But it is still a strange feeling. 

Although I don't know for sure, I suspect Al Johnson did the substructure work (concrete foundation) and another contractor they partnered with did the superstructure. It is a strange looking truss. I wish I could have gotten a better shot but this was it.

Some travel pictures taken on the way here. South Dakota is top of my list as far as good roads. Even down the county level, they are great. I'm getting used to taking travel pictures through the windshield with my new cell phone. Seeing new things is what traveling is all about. 

Smooth state highway, straight as an arrow

I like isolated trees like this. It makes we wonder about it's life and times.

This was something very strange. A rotating radar in the middle of nowhere and with not much around. There were no vehicles parked in the building.  

Miles and miles of sunflowers. They look to be almost ready for harvesting.

I have never seen this before. A one lane road condition with a Stop sign using the honor system to alternate traffic. No construction activity going on. 

You can usually spot new houses by the lack of mature trees growing around them to act as snow/wind breaks during the winter.

Another interesting tree

There were a lot of Bee-boxes around. I'm not sure how they are protected from freezing during the winter. I may have to look into that.

Old houses, just like the old trees, have stories to tell but no one to listen.

The Missouri River. A peaceful spot located just a very short walk from the campsite.

Tomorrow is moving day and I'll be headed to Bismarck, North Dakota. The weather has taken a turn for the worst with a brief heat spell in the forecast. Tomorrow's high is predicted to be 107 degrees. The day after, 104. But fortunately, in a few days the highs will be in the upper 70's. I guess I needed a couple days of hot weather days, albeit with low humidity, to appreciate good weather when it comes. 

Ya'll take care of each other. I'll Cya down the road.   



  1. I believe they move the bee hives for the winter.

    I was going thru my mothers stuff after she passed and having the stories written down and captions on the photographs would be a huge help to anyone who wants to understand later.

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  3. I’m going to copy this for my grand kids. We lived all the traveling but memories fade with age. Enjoyed the blog tonight

    1. I'm glad you liked it. Time Marches on and memories fade.

  4. I’m going to copy this for my grand kids. We lived all the traveling but memories fade with age. Enjoyed the blog tonight

  5. I moved around a lot as a kid. 13 schools in 12 years. Once travel is in the blood, it is hard to get out. I always wonder what is around the next bend.

    1. I know what you mean S. One of these days the traveling will end. That will be another adventure in itself.