“Where are you headed to?”


“What takes you there?”

“Turkey bar-b-que .”

“Is it any good?”

“It’s turkey and it’s bar-b-que .”

“Proceed, and welcome.”


Being able to fly off and travel for weeks or months is a wealthy person’s life style. We have neither the time (jobs), nor the money (jobs that don’t pay enough) to afford such a lifestyle. So when we are jonesing for travel, we satisfy our wanderlust a little closer to home. Sometimes the destination is deliberate, sometimes accidental; Lakota, North Dakota is both.

lakota bnbOur introduction to Lakota came four years ago while looking for accommodations. We found lodging in a lovely three story Victorian bed and breakfast.   While gassing up the vehicle the next morning, we spot an old advertisement in the service station’s window for the “Lakota Annual Turkey Bar-b-que”. It’s turkey and its bar-b-que, and we missed it.

Lakota, like most small communities is no more than a sign on the highway, rarely getting more than a nod of acknowledgment by those driving past. For those curious enough to pull off the highway, you’ll find a community where front yards have flowerbeds and backyards have vegetable gardens. Time is kept on the front porches while watching the children grow.

Today little has changed in Lakota, life is still as easy and sweet as the iced tea sipped on the front porches. The Victorian is still there, though it is no longer a bed and breakfast. And today is Turkey Bar-b-que.

This year the international recording band Matt Hodek’s Dakota Dutchmen supply a musical backdrop to the 52nd annual turkey bar-b-que. Shortly after five p.m., turkeys are pulled off the spits, smoked pork and beans are spooned up and the crowd is fed buffet style. Carrying our over-loaded plates, we make our way to a row of patio tables, where we squeeze in to partake in the pleasure of turkey bar-b-que.

The festivities don’t end with the conclusion of the meal, oh no. The main street is dressed-up for a Friday night street dance, or better described as five hours of dancing, music and a display of public drunkenness.

street dance

I wake up to an Ibuprofen morning, furry tongue, and a real chance of bleeding to death via my eyes. For breakfast, my wife enjoys the Four Season’s Café offering of bacon and eggs, I opt for the blue plate special of anti-acids and coffee.

Leaving Lakota, we head out in true William Least Moon’s “Blue Highways”, small roadways, easy pace. An hour into our drive, we come upon the out-of-the-way rural community of Aneta. Driving into town, the road disappears in a smokey haze. But wait, that’s not ordinary smoke. Good God, it’s a turkey bar-b-que. Where Lakota’s bar-b-que pits were large, Aneta’s are huge. A mind boggling amount of turkeys spinning in a slow-motion roasting dervish, all under the scrutiny of pit masters…..the Shriners. It may be a hangover induced hallucination, but I am sure I see Shriners.

aneta (2)

Sadly social commitments require us to continue. Lakota, turkey, bar-b-que, Shriners, Aneta are all in the rear-view mirror, and if only the hangover was as well.


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