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Posted 8/31/11 (Wed)


I guess this column won’t read much like my other Hat Tip articles. But I feel maybe this is important to say.
I don’t know how many of you watched the cable show “Mad Money” this past week. They did a show on the oil play in North Dakota. I’m sure that the result of the show will be more workers hitching a ride into Dickinson, Williston, Watford City, and so forth. They will be coming from the unemployment lines that stretch across the rest of the nation. They will be bringing wives, children, and carloads of memories from where their life has been a struggle.
The governor assured the nation that we are ready for an influx of people. I would suggest that he be ready to rent out the governor’s mansion, because from what I’ve seen and heard, everything else is pretty much full. And that can be good, or bad. Good if you are a landlord that is getting $2,000-$3,000 a month for a house that was unrentable a few years ago. Good if you are in the construction business in North Dakota. But pretty hard on the original residents. Especially elderly people on fixed incomes, college students looking for places to rent, and families that are not in the position to get a high-salaried job.
I don’t mean to be critical; I, like many have, will benefit from oil development. It has made it easier to pay our bills. But we are paying a price for this. And I think we should all be aware of that.
I think what made it clear to me was a couple of road trips I took last week. One day we went down to Camp Crook for lunch with grandkids. Camp Crook isn’t much. Or maybe I should say Camp Crook is a lot. There is no Wal-Mart. No McDonalds. If you take the drive to Crook, you probably won’t meet more than one or two vehicles in the drive from Buffalo. If you come south from Marmath, once you get past the oil development, you probably will go 20 miles without meeting anyone.
But once you are in Camp Crook, your grandson can bike around town without his mom worrying that he will be run over by a truck. You won’t have a cloud of dust hanging over the countryside from traffic on the gravel roads. The hay and crops along the road won’t be covered with dust. You can still write a check (they don’t take credit cards at the bar), and a dog could take a nap in the street and not get run over.
At Amidon, we attended the Worlds’ Fair! Or at least the Slope County Fair. And for the few that don’t know this, it is the longest continually running fair in the state of North Dakota. Something over ninety years!
At the Slope County Fair, you can still get a heck of a meal for whatever you can spare. They feed hundreds of people for a freewill donation to help someone in need. It cost $7.00 for an adult to get into the fair. That would include a rodeo, the exhibits, supper, a community play, visiting with neighbors, 4-H sale, and just a nice afternoon. You could spend, and we did, a darn pleasant day there. Next year, if you want to get off the beaten path a little, take it in. You’ll be pleasantly surprised.
And once you are on these roads less traveled, you may see something you haven’t seen in awhile. You might be able to loosen your grip on the steering wheel and look at the crops and cattle enjoying a summer of blessed rain. You might be able to drive leisurely down a gravel road with your window open and your arm out the window, screaming at the kids to not hang out the window too far and don’t touch the door latch.
But even in all of this, I found a smile. Many of us have seen the lines of traffic and the hours of delay with the road construction in much of our area. If the flag lady stops you, in minutes traffic is backed up for miles.
There was road construction north of Camp Crook Saturday. Carm had to stop there about 2 p.m. on their way home from the Hills. She was the only one in the line. In visiting with the flag girl, Carm found out she was the fourth car the lady had stopped that day!
Now, that’s living!