Thunder Butte, in South Dakota, has featured prominently in my family's history since 1913. Also known as "Wakinyan Paha" to the Lakota, its religious and cultural significance to the Lakota goes back much further in time, still. Rising from the dry, rolling prairie grasslands in Ziebach County, in northwestern South Dakota, the butte is located on the Cheyenne River Sioux Reservation.
From the top of the butte, you can see for miles in every direction. There are not many people here, although the land is alive with the memory of those who walked here before us. Taking in the quiet of the plains as they reach to the horizon, you can well imagine the way the world was before we were here, and what it may look like long after we have moved on.
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October 09, 2005
The Chance Store and the Randals
The next country store north of Usta was called the Chance store, and it was owned and operated by Herschel Randal and his wife. We were all good friends. Their son, Jack, went to high school with me in Lemmon, and was my sparring partner and my best friend.
My parents came to California [about 1940] with the Randals in the Randals’ car, but the Randals went on to Burbank where Herschel worked in an aircraft plant. Jack had me out to their home near San Diego later. That was the last I ever saw of the Randals. I heard later that Jack became manager of an aircraft parts factory, but that he later died of cancer soon after the war.
Chance is still there, incidentally.
Editors Note: Chance is about seventeen miles north of Usta and about twenty miles northwest of Thunder Butte.
Mike Crowley Sunday, October 09, 2005