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Almost homeless

Life sometimes has a way of surprising the heck out of a person.  Just a few weeks ago, I managed to complete a grueling summer job, cooking up in the mountain sans technology – not even cell phone service, looking forward to a lazy winter, just focusing on beadwork. Yet, I write this column from the offices of Native Sun News Today on a sophisticated computer.  It all happened so quickly.

The problem is I watched too many Lone Ranger movies as a youngster.  The plots were all similar.  The Lone Ranger astride that big white horse, Silver and his faithful sidekick Tonto were often called to help solve problem situations.  I have a similar big white horse (it’s a mare though) in my mind and thus, when there is a problem situation, like to gallop to the scene dramatically saying “Don’t worry I’m here!”  That tendency has got me into some quandaries more than once.

That is why when Tim, the august owner/publisher of Native Sun News Today said he could use a little help, I mounted the imaginary horse galloping to Rapid City quickly as possible.  On such short notice, the good NSNT staff helped me locate an apartment which I took, sight unseen, trusting in their good judgement and they even secured the deposit.  I made telephone arrangements to meet the landlord upon arrival to pay the rent, sign a lease etc.  Thank goodness, I traveled light, thinking to furnish it later with my resourceful thrift store shopping skills.  One great thing about Rapid City, in my opinion, is the abundance of such shopping opportunities.

That is when a slight problem developed.  To the dismay of both the landlord and myself, the tenant who was supposed to vacate before the 1st, was still n there!   Due to COVID, it is apparently increasingly hard and certainly time-consuming to evict someone, but at last report the landlord has convinced the tenant to evacuate by the end of the week.

Hotel rooms in Rapid City are crazily expense – the cheapest to be had is at least $90 per night!  Two nights was the max for my budget with many nights to go before the apartment would be ready.

I have always been sympathetic to the plight of homeless people, but suddenly this social problem almost became reality for me.  It’s getting pretty chilly this time of year, ice on the windshield and whatnot.  For a bit, the thought of pushing a shopping cart and sleeping in a big cardboard box crossed my mind.  If so, I decided I would park it right outside of the NSNT office.

Thankfully, the NSNT crew sticks together and one of them kindly offered to let me couch surf until the apartment becomes available, now just a few days.  I guess that there are too many homeless Natives in the Rapid City area… From my recent experience, I can see how easy it would be for folks like me, decidedly low-income to slip slide into that situation.  Thank goodness for friends.


(Clara Caufield can be reached

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