Thursday, February 9, 2017

TBT Thursday ~ The Hermosa Madonna of the Prairies



It’s Throwback Thursday for me over here at French Ethereal today and I’m thinking maybe for a few other posts here in February as well.  Madonna of the Prairie is today's unusual and cool post about how this lovely statue ended up out in a hay field in western South Dakota and also a little bit more of the behind the scenes from our cross country trip through 14 western states last summer.


It’s no mystery that I like garden statues with angels being a favorite of mine and recently I shared how I found our little statues, “The Girls” as I’ve come to call them.  My hubby and I were on our way to visit Custer State Park hoping to see a great herd of American bison and later to eat lunch at a log cabin restaurant up among the pine trees…









Even editing this photograph, the sunlight was so strong making this photograph
appear really washed out but I wanted to share how she looked out in the field.


During the whole 5300 mile two week trip we saw and visited some really cool places and I just didn’t really get to cover those here.  We were sooo busy just driving all those 5300 miles and trust me on this: riding as a passenger and trying to type on a computer is pretty near impossible.  I did try!


First there was this bump
then that bump
then another bump.
Two hundred miles of jostling around over roads that 
swish and swoosh as you are tapping away on computer keys for
what is normally a post that takes about
two to four hours to compile
edit and add all the photographs.
It’s enough to make anyone really seasick...
You get the picture.
;)



The view from the back of our cabin ~ Hart Ranch RV Resort, Hermosa, SD

I did most of my travel writing at night in the hotels we stayed at along our prairie route.
{If I wasn’t too worn out ~ note: I did the majority of the driving.}  Then other day I was moving files around and moving photos off the computer and I came across these photos again of this Madonna out in the field there near Hart Resort RV Park {our campground for several days} in Hermosa, South Dakota {an upcoming post!}.

So… Why Madonna of the Prairie??  I asked myself this same question:
What in the world was this huge statue doing out in the middle of nowhere just standing tall and majestic in this field???

A small herd of bison grazing in a meadow at Custer State Park.

Taking a quick look about there was nothing remarkable about the land ~ just a field where hay grass had grown and recently been mown and gathered in as cattle feed for this winter.
This field would probably yield one more crop of hay again towards the end of summer in late September or early October before the first snow flurries which in South Dakota {according to my South Dakotan daughter~in~law, first snows can happen right at the end of October/very early November}.
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But along Madonna’s skirts sheaves of wheat standing up tall give us a clue.  It’s fairly easy to guess that she was put out here in this field as a visible protector against crop failures, tornadoes and any other natural disasters.  Then there’s the little sign that says that this lovely Madonna is a representation of the Virgin Mary, the mother of Christ Jesus.  I was wondering if a group of Christian women might be asking God to protect their communities, the yearly harvests,
these people's very lives and livelihoods.












The real story couldn't be more different! 


Rancher John McMahon owns Spring Creek Ranch and raises herds of cattle there along highway 79.  He is the one who put up this Madonna on this hill back around 2003.  A short article by Dan Daly of the Rapid City describes in greater detail how this statue came to be:  

Mr. McMahon, while visiting a friend in Montana sometime before 2003, was taken to see a statue of Our Lady of Guadalupe that this friend and others had had commissioned and put up along a highway there in Montana.  McMahon liked it so well that he decided to do the same thing and had this one created.  You can read Daly's article by clicking on the highlighted word Madonna, above left.  

Well, that's it!  No super mystery and my whole idea of this statue's being there as a symbol to all for protection is a bust.  ;)  However, looking back when I think of the stories I read when I was a child by  Laura Ingalls Wilder of her families’ existence on the open prairies there’s no question farmers needed all the blessings that God could provide!  Plagues of grasshoppers still happen ~ not so much since the invention of today’s modern sprays combatting them ~ but there's always a new pest out there ready to gobble up crops.  

my own little Madonna, in a way


So in some small way I still prefer to think of 
this Madonna statue as being a benevolent benefactor protecting 
the people there in Hermosa.  As the name "hermosa" implies:  
The Madonna of the Prairies 
is indeed "beautiful."
xoxo Barb :)




Will be sharing with
Feathered Nest Friday ~ French Country Cottage
Friday Feature ~ Oh, My Heartsie Girl
Home Sweet Inspiration ~ The Boondocks Blog
Inspire Me Wednesday ~ Adventures of Mel

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