Like most states, South Dakota has several different nicknames. Most are not surprising. It is called, among other things:
- The Mount Rushmore State
- The Coyote State
- The Sunshine State
- The Blizzard State
- The Land of Infinite Variety
But one nickname stands out from the pack: South Dakota’s most unusual moniker is the Swinged Cat State. Wondering where such an odd name came from? You can thank (or blame it on) this guy:
That’s Arthur Calvin Mellette, the first Governor of South Dakota. In 1890, the state was experiencing a drought. Mellette was doing his best to persuade settlers to stick around. While in Chicago on a trip in which he was attempting to secure financial aid, Moses Handy, an associate of Arthur’s and a newspaperman, turned to his friend and asked, “Well, governor, how is South Dakota?”
Well, South Dakota is a swinged cat, better than she looks.
The term “swinged” is an old colloquialism meaning “singed” or “burned slightly.”
The next day, the Chicago Inter Ocean newspaper ran a story about Mellette, governor of “the swinged cat state.” And the rest is obscure history.
I’ve been blogging, on and off, for the better part of my adult life now. The platforms have changed, but writing is the one constant in my life. Since 2009, I’ve been posting semi-regularly on WordPress to Mark My Words. That blog has followed me through many ups and downs in my life and contains memories galore. However, 2018 promises to be a year of change like no other, and I feel it’s time for a fresh start.
Welcome to Swinged Cat. This blog will chronicle the journey of me and my wife, Tara, as we leave behind the Pacific Northwest and head 1,200 miles east, to the Great Plains of South Dakota. I lived in Rapid City many years ago and never imagined I’d ever call it home again, but if there’s one lesson I’ve learned over the years, it’s that the old axiom, never say never, holds true.
If you’ve been following me on Mark My Words, first off, thank you. Please go ahead and bookmark this site instead. That 8+ years’ worth of content isn’t going anywhere, but I will be shifting the focus of the blog to business-related articles.
Swingedcat.com (I kind of love the name!) will be my new home for personal posts and more. I have a few goals in mind here: I want to write more frequently, even if my posts are simple one-sentence asides. Or random thoughts. Inspiring quotes. Photos. Reposts of interesting articles. I want to focus more on the attractions of South Dakota, once we get there. The things we eat and drink, the places we go, the crazy weather we are sure to encounter (“Blizzard State,” remember?). But most of all, I want to document the experience of uprooting my entire life, at the not-so-tender age of…never mind…and start fresh. It’s big, and exciting, and a little scary. And I’m pretty sure it’ll be entertaining, too.
So thank you for following along. Buckle your seatbelts…it’s going to be a crazy ride!
Countdown: 132 Days