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TRAVELING JACK

Posted 6/20/17 (Tue)

By Jack Dura
Farmer Staff Writer

For years, Jamestown was a base for the Duras’ outdoor recreation.
It helped that Grandma D had an empty lot that served as a makeshift camper corral for all our relatives.
Namely, Grandma D’s RV park.
My parents and uncles would circle their fifth wheels in the grass, surrounding us on two or three sides with Grandma’s townhome to the south.
Fourths of July, summer geese hunts, weekend duck hunts, fish fries: All were based out of my grandmother’s spacious empty lot.
A few years have passed since the last camper roundup at Grandma D’s. Sadly, the venue is no more since she moved to Fargo.
But bouncing off the street and over the curb into her back lot to start the weekend is a fond memory.
Mom and Dad backing the camper in place, growling like Han and Chewie trying to fix the hyperdrive.
Singing the grass from the heat of the campfire between our campers.
Lighting bottle rockets off a champagne bottle in the alleyway one Fourth of July.
The perpetual yardwork of hacking dead branches from trees, winching out a hedge, weeding flower beds, all under the eyes of Grandma’s watchful neighbors.
They were colorful people, like the lady who slept on her porch when it was 59 degrees at night.
Or the old dude who’d walk down the street and asked Grandma for a date.
Summer afternoons we’d spend at the old Pipestem shooting range, then swim the dogs in the lake after target practice.
The old range closed a few years ago after flooding and ammunition flying close to residences. Oh, well.
Trying to spot White Cloud at the National Buffalo Museum was always fun, but more often than not we’d pick out white boulders on the hillside rather than the albino bison cow. And now she too is gone.
Grandma D is no longer in Jamestown either. After 50 years, she moved to Fargo. She and Grandpa moved to the buffalo city from Harwood as that eastern segment of I-94 was finished.
The last weekend at Grandma D’s RV park was sometime in the fall of 2015, but I did sleep on her couch a few months later on a winter trip to Watford City.
So now Grandma D’s RV park is gone too.
Well, she still owns the townhome and rents it out, but it wouldn’t be polite to circle our campers on her unsuspecting renters.
Still, the years in Jamestown were fun ones.
Watching for Uncle Jim among the clowns in the Fourth of July parade.
Four inches of rain in a day after a 52-day drought.
Combating sparrows roosting in the vents on Grandma D’s house (“Get ’em outta there!”).
Waking up at 3:30 a.m. to drive 90 miles away to hunt early season Canada geese.
And Grandma’s frustration at finding someone left her furniture cushions out on the patio overnight (“Oh, they’re all wet!”).
Love ya, Grandma.