#7. Blond Oasis On The South Dakota Plains


I still can’t get people to believe this really happened.  In 2008, I went on a mid-August vacation to the Black Hills way out in western South Dakota. On the way back, I drove on one of the sparsest stretches of highway in America….literally hundreds of miles of uninterrupted treeless grasslands. We’re talking about counties as large as the entire state of Rhode Island that have fewer than 3,000 people, and several of them on Indian reservations.  All that is pretext for just how unlikely of a place this was to stumble upon what I did.

I was about three miles away from the small town of Dupree, SD, a town of 400 people and the biggest town in a good 150 miles any direction. Standing in the middle of the road holding a stop sign was a road construction worker who, at least approaching from a distance, sure looked to be young, hot, and blond.  I thought this barren desert of a place was creating a mirage in my mind. There was no way I was seeing a hot blond construction worker in this wasteland…..right?

As I got closer, I slowed my car and ultimately stopped to see my eyes were not playing tricks on me. There was indeed a very attractive late 20’s blond holding this stop sign…and if that wasn’t enough, she was wielding a freshly lit cork filter cigarette in her free hand. As if this wasn’t enough to make my day, this chick was smiling welcomingly at me and approaching my car. I put my window down and she informed me that a pilot car would be there in a few minutes and I could follow that through the construction zone.

In the meantime, this gave me plenty of time to talk to her…and watch her smoke that cigarette which I had now identified as a Marlboro Red. She was a total sweetheart of a gal and we had a very friendly back-and-forth while waiting out there in the most barren place on Earth.  Needless to say, I was observing her smoking technique as she puffed away and doing my best to ingest the toxic chemicals she was exhaling (I was slightly disappointed that there were no talking exhales). She ultimately finished the cigarette and tossed it to the pavement, only moments before our discourse was rudely interrupted by a truck full of wisecracking Indians that pulled up behind my car and asked the girl about the construction situation from their truck. She had to abandon me and approach them to answer their questions, prematurely ending my extremely satisfying and flirtatious encounter with this nicotine-addicted babe.

Not long after, the pilot car came and it was time for me to drive away….but not without a sighting memory that will forever be seared into my mind. So if you ever want a really great sighting, I guess you need to drive out to the  most barren grasslands of South Dakota and look for a blond hottie working road construction.

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10 Responses to #7. Blond Oasis On The South Dakota Plains

  1. Darren says:

    Your story brings back some very fond memories. My family had a restaurant in the Black Hills quite a few years ago and as I worked there in the summer had more than a few memorable sightings. One that sticks out was when a family passing through town sat down with four kids. Two boys and two girls. Mom and Dad immediately lit up. The oldest son who couldn’t have been more than sixteen lit up. The waitress came over and said in mock surprise how surprised she was that they would let their son smoke. She barely got the words out before the pack was passed to the younger sister. She lit up as well and passed the pack to her yet again younger sister. She was the expert of the group and the showiest smoker as she had a very developed snap inhale style. The only non smoker was the youngest son who couldn’t have been more than ten.

  2. Smokin' Mark says:

    Excellent sighting. Thanks for sharing. Can’t even imagine the look on that waitress’s face after the pack was passed around to the younger sisters. How old would you guess the two girls were? How long ago would you guess this sighting took place?

  3. Darren says:

    The sighting was in the early eighties. The oldest was no more than fourteen by my guess and the younger daughter was probably twelve or thirteen. She had obviously been smoking for awhile as I remember she took a nice three or four second drag before snapping the ball into her mouth. And I am not talking about a small snap. This was one of those balls that somehow get forced out in front of their mouth before they suck it in. I have often wondered who taught her to smoke that way at such an age since there were no other smokers in the family with anything close to her skill level. I was eighteen at the time and have to say it was hard to go back into the kitchen and not watch this smoking family. The Mom and Dad were totally OK and acted is if this was the most natural thing their kids could be doing. The older sister was an average smoker and the older brother had obviously paved the way for his siblings. If memory serves they were all smoking Marlboro reds. BTW I would love to share a couple of my other favorite sightings in the future. I have been lucky and have many and actually married one of them.

    • Smokin' Mark says:

      Feel free to share any sightings you choose. If they are as fantastic as this one, they will be welcomed heartily. It seemed like the 1980s and very early 90s was about the end of seeing girls this age smoking openly. I got in on a little of it when I was in junior high in the early 90s. Seemed like even though smoking rates went up among teens in the 90s, the unashamed public sightings of young teens became increasingly rare.

      • Darren says:

        I agree. Most of my best sightings are from the late 70’s and early eighties as I was growing up. I have always been most fascinated with girls that learned how to snap or french inhale their drags so my sightings have a consistent theme since these are the ones that stick out. Late seventies either 78 or 79, before we moved to South Dakota I was involved in a junior bowling league. Mostly 14-16 year olds girls and boys. There was this one Mom who stopped by occassionally to watch her daughter bowl. Her smoking style was probably the most refined I have ever seen in my life. Her command of the snap inhale was without question, and maybe even to this day one of the best I have ever seen.
        Her daughter bowled in the same league. She was either 14 or 15 if I remember. Very cute California girl look. When she wasn’t bowling she would always sit with Mom at the table. I was always watching Mom when she showed up but it was very inconsistent when she would be there. The daughter never smoked but simply sat with her Mom while she performed those wonderful snap inhales when she was there. A few weeks went by and I thought I wasn’t going to see this smoking goddess again before the league broke up. Finally the week before our last week Mom showed back up, but this time there was something different. Sitting on the table were two packs of cigarettes. My heart was racing thinking the “what if?”
        Sure enough the daughter sat down and lit up. She was like a junior version of Mom smoking. Not quite as accomplished but she snap inhaled just like Mom. She had obviously been smoking for quite some time and was either caught or confessed during the summer break. Mom was obviously very cool although the daughter was clearly a little nervous smoking in public. Her teammates came up and didn’t act as though anything was different so I can only assume they knew she smoked. It was kind of funny to watch how this girl sort of flaunted the fact that she could now smoke in front of her Mother in front of her friends. I would guess they all smoked but she was the only one that was public about it.
        Anyway the Mom never came back that final week and I only got to see the girl light one more cigarette outside before it was over. Never did see either of them again after the league finished. I did however spend the next summer watching an adult woman’s league as this place became where I first smoked in public.

      • Smokin' Mark says:

        So I take it you lived in California before you moved to South Dakota. I can only imagine how thrilling it must have been when you discovered the daughter smoked.

  4. Darren says:

    One other South Dakota memory. To this day this remains one of my all time best sightings and actual interactions with a smoker from that time. Along with the restaurant we started up a small musical instrument, record and tape store. Every other weekend I worked there. There was this one guy who was probably a couple of years older than me that would come in and play the guitars. Story was he had dropped out of high school and was trying to become a hairdresser. ( I later found out he was gay) He was also a heavy, heavy smoker with a very pronounced snap inhale style. Once in awhile when he came into the store, he brought along his kid sister. She went to the junior high with my kid sister. Now this girl was your typical nerdy seventh or eight grader. I am sure she would eventually grow up to be South Dakota gorgeous but she was still a little goofy around the edges then. She started coming around on her own about every other week in the summer, brousing but never buying the tapes and records. Through this I got to talking to her and found out a little more about her. It was just her, her brother and Mom. I remember her telling me how close she and her brother were, how he had taught her dance and she hoped would teach her to play guitar. I thought this was extremely odd since I would barely talk to my sister let alone teach her to dance. In the back of my mind however, I couldn’t help but wonder if he had taught her anything else.
    Mom was a bookkeeper at one of the businesses in town. She was a little rough looking around the edges but really a nice lady. She was also a Chesterfield or Camel non filtered smoker and had a nasty phlemy cough. Didn’t really ever talk to her but saw her around town occasionally.
    Two doors down from our store there was the best greasy spoon fast food joint you could imagine. Best chili smothered deep fried burritos around! There was seating for about twenty or thirty people but I unfortunately rarely ate in the place because I was many times alone tending to the store and only had time to run over a grab takeout. It was also a magnet for teens to hang out and smoke.
    Middle of the summer, I locked the door and ran over to get a burrito. There sitting in a booth with three of her friends was this girl. I quickly spotted the cigarette in her hand as I approached the counter to place my order. Without trying to be too obvious I watched her take a massive cheek hollowing drag and slowly open her mouth. The smoke was pure white as she sucked it down. Damn I thought, she is trying to snap inhale. She passed the cigarette to a one of her friends and she took a pensive puff pushing out the smoke without inhaling it. I watched more closely as she took the cigarette back and said something to the girl. She was coaching the girl how to smoke. She exaggerated her mouth movements and the smoke did come forward from her lips this time before she sucked it in. You could see she was pleased with that drag as she passed the cigarette to another one of the girls. This girl did inhale slightly but without any particular style. I could barely get my order to the person behind the counter as I was watching this.
    Completely out of character for me I walked over to the table since I sort of knew her. The most intelligent thing I could think of watching this little display was “I didn’t know you smoked. Does your mom know?”
    Just as I finished my question I saw her look up in recognition of someone behind me. There was her Mom standing in the doorway saying she would be back in about fifteen minutes after running some errands to pick her up to go home.
    Staring at her Mom she took another huge drag and amplified her mouth movements again to get the smoke to come out before sucking every wisp back in. “Sure Mom” was all she said as she held the drag in her well conditioned lungs.
    She passed the cigarette back to one of the friends and all I could think was don’t waste it on the newbie smokers. But then again how would they learn? My order came up and I looked at the ashtray seeing four butts in there. I don’t know how long they had been sitting there but they were definitely smoking up a storm. Time for one last question without being too obvious.
    “How long have you been smoking?”
    Without any hesitation she said “Oh about a year. My brother taught me.” I wanted to ask how long her Mom knew but my order was sitting on the counter, my store was locked up and I didn’t want to be too obvious in my questoning.
    I saw her a few more times around town with her friends. I think they must have moved away later that year because I stopped seeing any of them after a few months. The couple of times I did see her she always had a pack of cigarettes in her hand or in her pants pocket. I only saw her smoke one other time a couple of months later before they went away. She was in the car with her Mom as they were parking. I saw her pull the cigarette to her lips through the car window and take an enormous drag. The size of the smoke ball that came out of her mouth and was sucked in almost made me stop breathing. Gone were the exaggerated mouth movements. Her style looked both natural and awesome at the same time.It was the way she smoked now. She flicked the butt out of the slightly cracked window and went into a store with her Mom. Maybe my best SD sighting. Although there was this one waitress….

    • Smokin' Mark says:

      I sure missed the good old days if stuff like that was going on in the 1970s and 1980s. I think what I loved best about this report is that the girl was not only smoking in close proximity to mom, but teaching her friends how to smoke in front of mom as well.

  5. Darren says:

    Yeah, it was sure different than today. I can recall at least 4 or 5 girls at the bus stop in CA that smoked with their parent’s permission. Once we moved to SD it almost was a right of passage for girls to smoke. Granted mostly high schoolers but there was the occasional junior high examples like the one I wrote about. The biggest difference I see today is the way these girl’s smoked. Very showy and with a lot of style versus what you see today.

  6. Darren says:

    Back to our restaurant and the many great sightings and experiences from that time. Putting it all into perspective, I had been sneaking cigarettes since I was twelve. Always the good kid, involved with sports, lettered in wrestling and football I sat in silent torture watching the young girls around town “come out” with their smoking while I maintained the facade of being a non smoker throughout high school. In fact I never did actually tell my parents myself but had a girlfriend at the time tell them for me when I turned 19.
    Anyway I was fortunate to watch the progression of many of the regulars in the restaurant. A lady who worked at a woman’s clothing store across the street had a daughter named Kippie. Mom came in for lunch almost daily. Kippie joined Mom when school was on break occassionally. Mom was usually joined by her friends in town that worked at some of the other businesses. All of them smoked.
    When Kippie joined an extra chair was brought up as her Mom always had three other friends join to fill the booth. For the first year no big thing, Kippie joined and Mom and her friends would eat lunch and smoke away. The summer between Kippie’s freshman and sophmore year things changed. Around July if memory serves Kippie whipped out her own pack of cigarettes when she sat down. The other ladies mocked surprise but instantly accepted Kippie as one of their own as she lit up. Kippie was very nervous that first time in the restaurant. The other women made a few comments, nothing negative but instead seemed to be retelling some of their own “when I started” stories. Kippie quickly seemed to get more comfortable.
    Kippie wasn’t the best smoker I have ever seen. In fact she was a pretty unimpressive smoker. Her drags were short and her inhales were pretty shallow. My guess was Kippie had wasted no time hiding her starting smoking from her Mom and looked like a total beginner. I was in agony watching this coming out party knowing how much I loved smoking and how many years I had been hiding it.
    Kippie joined her Mom for lunch maybe a half a dozen times the rest of the summer. Each time I saw her her smoking was advancing. Where the first time she had one cigarette with her Mom and their friends by the end of the summer she was doing about one to their two while they used up their hour break.
    Fast forward to Christmas break that year. Hadn’t seen Kippie in the restaurant since school got back in session. Mom was there as usual. Looking at the door I saw Kippie coming in. Now Kippie was a very good looking girl. Long brunette hair, fairly tall and thin and a very pretty face. She was growing up fast as most girls do in their sophmore year.
    Kippie took her familiar spot pulling up a chair to the outside of the booth. Perfect positioning as I had an unincumbered silouette view of her from my vantage point in the restaurant. The cigarette pack came out immediately. Marlboro reds of course. Gone were the kings in exchange for the 100’s. Kippie quickly brought one to her lips and lit up as if this was as natural as ordering a coke. Kippie’s cheeks hollowed as she took an enormous drag and sucked it deep down. Tilting her head she blew a beautiful cone of smoke up and across the table. No longer the novice, Kippie was a real smoker now. She easily kept up with Mom and her friends cigarette for cigarette. She had most of the taletell smoker habits now. The way she trimmed the ash in the ashtray, the hold, even the way she removed and lit each cigarette spoke volumes to how much she smoked. Now I can’t say for sure but watching her put away three cigarettes during the hour lunch break told me she was at least a pack a day gal, maybe more.
    Kippie was also good friends with the sheriff’s daughter who occassionally dropped in as well as her Mom was one of the three ladies who joined this lunch parade. Now she had never smoked during any of her previous visits.
    But on this occassion when she joined the party late it was all different. This girl wasn’t as pretty as Kippie. She was at least a half a foot shorter with a bob style blonde hairdo. She wasn’t unattractive but she was never going to turn heads like Kippie.
    Pulling up another chair, ( I never did know her name) this girl took her spot and whipped out her own pack of cigarettes. This is new I thought.
    Without any hesitation she lit up. Obviously if it was OK to let Kippie smoke, the sherriff’s wife the social stigma was gone so when this girl came out I am sure there was zero resistance. After all these girls were 15 and it was not uncommon in a town that was more concerned with pot and kids driving drunk.
    What this girl lacked in looks she made up for in smoking skills. Where Kippie was elegant in her smoking style taking those huge drags and sucking down the smoke deep into her lungs this girl was about the show.
    Her cheek hollowing drag was aggressive and she would quickly pull the cigarette from her lips and open her mouth wide. Nothing seemed to happen for a second or so and then out came this pure white ball that quickly disappeared into her mouth. My eyes widened as this girl who would never generate a second look went from a five to a smoking hot ten in my mind.
    Anyway they frequented the restaurant until my family sold it. I was only there on occassion with the second business we opened and school. I have no idea how often they came in but I did have occassion to be there a few more times when they were there. Kippie came in more often. The sherriff’s daughter I only saw one other time. Good times in the very early eighies.

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