This past Christmas, my sister Carolyn came here from Montana to spend the holidays with me. One of the subjects we discussed often, longingly and at length, like many of our friends in the same age group, was retirement. When, (if ever) will it be possible? If we do, will we be able to afford it?

The question of where we'd live has been settled for years. Carolyn moved back to Montana from South Dakota almost 25 years ago and owns a home there. I've never been able to afford one, so the plan has always been to move there and share her home. We're both native Montanans, and I do love the state, (the western half of it, anyway) so the choice seems sensible.

But I love Sioux Falls too. I have a group of friends who have become family. I have neighbors, health care providers and a veterinarian I adore. Car mechanics I trust. There are so many things to do in this area, museums, music and theater performances, a world-class zoo, an amazing park system, endless shopping and dining possibilities, and that is just scratching the surface.

This subject started me down the path of wondering what other former South Dakotans might miss after moving elsewhere in the world. And then I found an article with a few things I had thought of, and a couple I hadn't.

  • South Dakota Sunrises & Sunsets: I have seen the most extraordinary ones while living here and in Montana, as much as I love the mountains, they almost always obscure these two events.
  • Lower Cost of Living: Believe me, I travel back to Montana almost every year and I can tell you that, nearly everything; from gas to groceries, real estate to vehicles costs more there. Why, I don't know. No they don't have a sales tax, but they do have state income tax.
  • South Dakotans Really are Friendly: I know my sister Carolyn might dispute this, but as a whole I don't think you'll find more friendly or generous people than the people here. I love Montana and the Northwest coast, but in general the populace is guarded at best and snarky at worst. My other sister Carmela, (who is reading this) lives in Pueblo, Colorado (in all honestya hellhole of a town), so don't even get her started on the people who live there!
  • B & G MilkyWay Turtle Bars: God help me, I love them so!
  • Jacky's Shrimp Wet Burrito: Heaven in a flour tortilla!
  • Falls Park: At Christmastime in particular. so incredibly lovely!
  • Downtown Sioux Falls: So extraordinarily diverse, kitschy and fun!
  • Taco Johns: Oh I know they were founded in Cheyenne, Wyoming, but I've had Taco Johns elsewhere, like in Wyoming and Montana and it is simply not the same nor as good as it is here in South Dakota!

I'm sure when and if I do leave South Dakota, I will think of many more things I will miss, and that will only assure my return to visit.

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