In 2020 a new virus appeared on the world’s stage and changed the way of life on planet earth. In the United States, many state governors failed their governing under the public health aberration. Governors of states flipped almost daily on their decrees and measures in their constant attempt to curtail the sickness and maintain their state’s population the least infected by the virus. It is a Salty-Life.
While many governors did not use common sense or rationale in their efforts to keep their state’s population the least sick and their state functioning, Kristi Noem, the governor of South Dakota appeared in the public sphere as a person who had a pretty good handle on the virus situation. With her calm and commonsense approach to the spread of the virus, something many governors lacked, Governor Noem amassed public admiration.
Living in California under governor Newsom‘s draconian measures, I wanted to migrate to South Dakota, or at least spend some time there and feel freer.
Chaos, looting, burning and statue toppling was rampant in many Democrat-run US cities during the 2020 summer months. On Friday, July 4, 2020, the United States Independence Day, former President Donald Trump held a rally at the bottom of Mount Rushmore, in the Black Hills region of South Dakota. He railed against his political foes’ “merciless campaign” to erase history by removing monuments, some claimed to be symbols of racial oppression. He also denounced the “cancel culture.”
For me, during a difficult year in every sense of the word, both, President Trump in his patriotic speech delivery, at the foot of Mount Rushmore, and Governor Noem’s most sensible governing approach to the virus phenomenon, made the best tourism ministers for South Dakota, a reason to visit.
When the situation was afforded to me, I traveled to South Dakota.
I arrived in Rapid City, South Dakota, on a very recent Thursday afternoon.
After getting settled in my hotel room, located a walking distance from downtown Rapid City, in my free time before starting my planned extensive touring and exploration schedule of South Dakota, I decided to take a walk and sightsee Rapid City’s downtown streets.
Downtown Rapid City is not the usual high buildings construct. Rather, in most cases, it is mostly two story red brick buildings with architectural style that takes the visitor some 100 years back in American history.
I walked the streets rather astonished to find out that most of the stores were already closed for business in the mid-afternoon hours, street traffic was light and the pavements rather empty of pedestrian traffic, though the tourism season was still in effect in South Dakota.
In Rapid City’s downtown streets a visitor encounters the statues of every single American president to date. I walked up and down the streets, took some pictures with the statues of some of our Founding Fathers and since there was nothing to do and there was no shop open I ended up in an outside bar-restaurant for a drink and a snack.
One store I passed by that caught my interest was “Salty-Life.” In its dress window were hanging some T-shirts with interesting messages, some with most patriotic prints. I made a note to return to that store when time allows me to do so.
A few days later, after touring the state, in the last few hours of my visit to South Dakota I took another ride to downtown Rapid City. It was on a Sunday afternoon and all downtown stores were closed. To my pleasurable surprise ‘Salty-Life’ was open and was full of customers.
I walked in and started casting my eyes over the many T-shirts and other garments on display and the messages printed on them.
The slogans and messages hanging on the store’s walls from which one can choose to print on a T-shirt are powerfully meaningful and well represent the state and the country. They are also the story of love for South Dakota and the US at large, and so are memes of kindness and caring for one another. I was fascinated. There is no way one walks out of the store with at least one meaningful purchase.
“Salty-Life” is a tourist hub at 619 Main Street, Rapid City, South Dakota 57701.
Once I chose the items I was going to purchase I approached the store’s counter and met the owner, the bubbly personality, Moses Bracha.
We became instant friends. We got to talk about life in South Dakota; my impression from the few days I spent in the state. It appears that Mr. Bracha, not an original Dakotan, loves the state and sees the great economic potential Rapid City has to offer. That was my impression as well, only if more life, more stores with local craft are open and for longer hours and some attractions and excitement are injected into downtown Rapid City itself. After all, the number of visitors to South Dakota during the summer months is in the few millions. Why not make downtown Rapid City the special tourism attraction as it could become?
However, most tourism traffic may stay in town overnight, only between the daily tours out of town. That is why I found downtown Rapid City to be lackluster.
For now, maybe, the ‘Salty-Life’ store with its wealth of slogans and messages, printed on T-shirts, a story about South Dakota, the United States and life itself is the prominent tourism magnet and a commercial hub in downtown Rapid City. Perhaps, Mr. Bracha’s effervescent personality and his vision can help infuse even more life into downtown Rapid City. Only time will tell.
South Dakota, with its history going back to the founding of the United States and its interesting and impressive tourism sites is a worthwhile visit to make. And please do not miss to stop by “Salty-Life,” a store where memories from South Dakota are made and gifts of meaning are found.