Into the Mystic

I was out running errands yesterday, and twice—the first time in Target, the second in the grocery store—an employee wished me a “Happy Father’s Day!”

Nice gestures, and I thanked them both, but I’m curious why they assumed I was a father. Am I giving off some sort of “dad vibe,” and if so, how do I make it stop?

“Don’t wear cargo shorts to the grocery store,” Tara suggested un-helpfully.

I mean, I am a father, of course. And I cherish my offspring. But if I’m going to give off a vibe, why can’t it be something a little more edgy? I’m just spitballing here, but how about an experimental aircraft test pilot vibe? Conventional aircraft would be fine too, as would tank commander or submarine captain. I’d even settle for a Hollywood stuntman or lead singer in a one-hit-wonder rock ‘n roll band vibe. (We could have a string of hits, too…I’m just trying not to be greedy.) If people glanced at me and thought, now, there’s a fella who knows his way around a table saw, I’d be okay with that. I’d much rather project an uh-oh, better lock up your daughters vibe than an I‘ve got a question about QuickBooks and this guy looks like he can help me out vibe. Think Indiana Jones or Neil Armstrong or Robert Plant in his heyday.

Instead of any of these, I’m Ned Flanders. Proof that life is unfair and middle age sucks. (Or so I’ve heard. I’ll let ya know when I get there.)


Inspired by last Saturday’s off-the-main-drag adventure, we decided to partake in more of the same this weekend. Our destination? We didn’t really have one, other than a general loop on gravel roads in the Black Hills. A very un-dad-like thing to do, if you ask me.

We ended up in Mystic, an actual ghost town. The place was once a thriving mining camp and railroad town; George Armstrong Custer and his peeps first explored the valley in 1874, and two years later, gold was discovered in nearby Castle Creek, leading to the Black Hills Gold Rush. A sawmill was built in 1918, and by the 1920s, the place was a bustling tourist destination; even President Calvin Coolidge passed through. Now, about all that’s left is the chapel, built in 1930 using logs from the sawmill.

/ history lesson.

Ghost towns fascinate me. Even the ones without haunted houses, like Mystic. There are a bunch of them in the Black Hills, so I envision further exploration in the future.

After leaving Mystic, we embarked upon a circuitous route that took us through Rochford and Spearfish Canyon, eventually ending up in the town of Spearfish for a late lunch at Dough Trader Pizza. They’re what-passes-for-famous-around-these-parts for their sourdough pizza crust, and it’s really good. They were doing outdoor seating only, and…spoiler alert…we wisely snagged a table beneath the tin roof (rusted!!).

Oops, sorry…obscure pop culture references are my weakness.

Only it really was rusted, because when a thunderstorm rolled through and it started raining and hailing, said roof magically sprang a dozen leaks of varying size. We and our food didn’t completely escape getting wet. But the storm passed, the sun shone brightly, and the humidity skyrocketed. And then the cycle repeated itself, as the heavens opened up and pelted us with everything imaginable once again as we were headed in the direction of the interstate.

Fun day regardless, and a very enjoyable evening on the patio, with cribbage and rock ‘n roll and booze and a blazing fire in the chiminea that inspired us to make S’mores. I give the day a 9/10 for sure.


Today marks an auspicious occasion in the history of MarTar. On June 22, 2018, we officially left the Pacific Northwest, pulling out of Vancouver, WA around 2:00 p.m. The next two days were an adventure, as one might expect when traveling 1,250 miles for a fresh start and a brand new life in a completely different part of the country. Wow, that sounded dramatic, but I mean, it was kind of a big deal. If you’ve read me for even a brief period of time, you know that things worked out incredibly well for us and we are loving it here, but we couldn’t have known that at the time and it felt like a big gamble.

Hard to forget a date like that, huh?

25 Comments on “Into the Mystic

  1. Sourdough pizza sounds amazing!

    Yeah, I guess our youth-focused culture doesn’t venerate parents. No one is screaming “Dad vibe forever!”

    On the other hand, men over 40 get plenty of work in Hollywood. Women over 40? LOL, nah.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Mark, it’s kinda like when I’m in a store shopping and the cashier asks me if I want the “Senior Citizens Discount” without me even telling them or showing them my ID. After I got over the initial shock, I said, “Sure…why not? I’d love 15% off!” LOL!

    Ooooooo….and Mystic sounds like a place I would loved, being that I believe in ghosts and ET’s! It’s like how I feel about visiting cemeteries. I find them utterly fascinating.

    What a beautiful place! Love the crosses over the graves, and the Christmas tree!

    Don’t you love how after it rains during the summer, the humidity skyrockets? NOT! 😦

    Congrats on your two year anniversary, my friend! I’m very happy for both you and Tara!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I love the church/schoolhouse picture. I live for Pioneer Villages…I don’t know how many we’ve visited when the kids were young but it was always a memorable trip.

    There is a Ghost town not far from Las Vegas we went to on a trip before the kids came. Can’t remember the name but it was fascinating. Similar sort of story with mining long gone…must dig out the photographs one of these days. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  4. 1. Into the Mystic is a fantabulous song, so thanks for putting that in my head.
    2. Wishing you a happy f.d. everywhere you went is weird. I would be quite happy if people looked at me and thought, “That svelt young hottie couldn’t possibly be a mom, but I bet she knows her way around a table saw.”
    3. Ghost town sounds cool. How is that chapel so well maintained? I mean, if no one lives there, who’s taking care of it? Perhaps there ARE ghosts there.
    4. MarTar is great. My hubby’s name is Paul. That means we’re either Baul or Patsy, which is why we stick with Paul and Betsy or vice versa only.
    5. See? This time I read the entire thing! Feel special; I’ll wait. Annnnnndddd… you’re welcome.

    Liked by 1 person

    • When I posted this, I actually told Tara, “Baul is going to be mad at me for posting another one so quickly.” Then she said, “You mean Patsy?” It was a weird conversation.

      It is a great song, and I’m glad somebody picked up on the reference! I guess there were two in this post.

      The chapel is still used for weddings and such. You can’t see it in the pics, but there are a couple of houses there. I think the population is probably, I don’t know…six? If that.

      Liked by 1 person

      • LOL!

        I must admit I didn’t get the other reference in the post. I almost commented on it, but decided not to. I felt uncool for not knowing it.

        Those six residents must be a tight-knit bunch.

        Like

  5. I love a B52’s reference! I watched Fred tell the story behind those lyrics once and it’s funny how people want to read into something that’s not there!

    Who doesn’t love a Ghost Town? I’ve been obsessed since the Brady Bunch episode!

    Liked by 1 person

      • No, the time they went out west and stopped at a ghost town and got locked in a jail!

        Like

  6. I admire you for pulling up stakes and moving on. It takes a certain kind of adventurous spirit to do that. A spirit that is often seen wearing cargo shorts…

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Life IS unfair, middle age DOES suck, but I’d say better to be viewed as Ned Flanders than as Homer Simpson.

    MarTar… I like it, but as a feminist I think it should be TarMar. Tell Tara I said so. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ha…I’m every bit the feminist too, but that sounds like you’re going to tar and feather me. It sounds better the other way around (Tara’s on board!).

      D’oh! You’re right. Better pretty much any Simpsons character than Homer…

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Pingback: Beware of Offhand Comments – Swinged Cat

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: