April 1, 2009



Writing this on Monday morning. Just another Monday. A foot of new snow and 40 mph winds. Some calves are sucking their mothers, some are sucking other cows, and some aren’t sucking at all. This weather sucks!
 I don’t know if the saying originated with the old Dodge sheriff, Bat Masterson, or not, but he is sometimes credited with the saying “a rich man gets ice in the summer, a poor man gets ice in the winter.” I tell you what, we’re darn sure getting all the ice and snow I’ll need for a long time. But, remember this … We are one day closer to green grass.
I know everyone has watched the flooding with some degree of fascination this past week. We saw Linton, Beulah, Hazen, Watford City, and numerous other cities inundated with flood waters. North Dakota went from receiving national attention for a great basketball team, to a state facing disaster. South Dakota has been hammered with storm after storm. Ranchers are packing calves around, watching cows wash down the river, seeing valuable hay supplies flood, and many, seeing a lifetime of work going down Beaver Creek, Cherry Creek, the Cedar, Cannonball, or Red.
But, like I always ask my grandkids, “You know what?” And they always reply that they do, even if they have no idea what I am talking about. Well, you know what? We’re doing pretty darn good.
Fargo, a city of 100,000, had 80,000 people volunteering to fill and pack sand bags. Day after day. Night after night. 24 hours a day. Airlines were donating flights, and buses were hauling evacuees. Nursing homes, homes that had echoed with emptiness, filled up with evacuated patients and volunteers. College kids and high school kids and grade school kids left their studies and families and proms and parties and computers and video games. And worked to save a city.
And as I write this, the battle goes on. Leaks are springing up as the river recedes. A school was flooded. But the news showed people running to repair the levees. Running to pack more sand bags!
I know this is a different deal than the disaster in New Orleans. People aren’t shooting at the people trying to save the city. Looters aren’t waiting around to ransack a business that someone has put their life into. Oh, we did have a drunk lady try to drive up on an earthen dike in Fargo, but she probably wanted to see what was on the other side. She got stuck. And arrested. And I imagine embarrassed. And I heard a CNN photographer was arrested for being out on a dike. But that is about as serious a deal as has been reported.
I’ve watched this whenever I’ve been able. On youtube, facebook, TV, and papers. And I think the rest of the nation has too. And I’ve been proud to say I am from North Dakota.
The people in charge, from the President, the Governor, the Mayor, the Adjutant General, down to the moms and dads and the president of the PTO have done a job! The guys filling bags at the dome, to the guys pushing hay out to cows. The pilots in the helicopters, to the Coast Guard rescuing stranded people.
There is an old cowboy saying about someone who you can count on. “He’ll do to ride the river with.” Dakotans, “You’ll do to ride the river with!”