July 15, 2009



Writing this on a Monday morning as a beautiful rain once again falls on my freshly cut hay. Everyone was warning me that rain was in the forecast, but alas, I used my own judgment and cut anyway. But I would much rather wait for hay to dry out, than wait for moisture. Although it is hard to get put up, the hay crop is fantastic!
I’d like to thank everyone for the concerned calls after the tornado in south Dickinson last week. It was just north of us. We received over an inch of rain and some wind, but no damage. Our neighbors to the north were really whacked.
There were storm warnings coming over the TV and radio pretty steady. A neighbor called and invited us over to their basement to sit out the storm. I resisted until the sirens began blowing and I learned they had beer in the basement! Then Shirley and I headed for shelter. We could watch the wind and rain out a window in the basement, but the tornado was two miles north of our vantage point.
In the morning, we had to drive across town. The devastation was shocking. Homes, garages, businesses destroyed. Hundreds of beautiful trees, many planted several decades ago were uprooted. I was expecting to see some shingles and maybe a roof or two gone, and it was devastating to see the path of destruction.
But you know what? That’s what I always ask my grandson Evan, “You know what?” And he will always reply, “Yes!” And I guess maybe that he does. But you know what? By mid-afternoon, hundreds of people were out cleaning up. Many jobs had to wait on insurance adjusters, but people were there, volunteering their time and equipment to get things straightened out.
The Guard was in town directing traffic as the street lights were all out. They stood watch on corners to keep the congestion to a minimum. The city and county workers were putting in long days, and people were delivering sandwiches and drinks to workers all over the south end of Dickinson. By this morning, a big part of the debris has been hauled out and people are struggling in a pouring rain to get to the point where rebuilding will begin. My hat is tipped to all of you.
In the Dakotas we face many storms. Dust, snow, wind, and rain … you name it. I remember one time when I was a kid up at Berthold. We were out riding in the spring and a blizzard struck. A friend, Gary, was riding for us and got lost in the blizzard. Up at Berthold, you can’t just follow the draw home. It is a land of rolling hills and potholes. Anyway, Gary got lost, and started following these tracks he was sure would lead him home. Pretty soon he could see where a couple of riders had gone ahead of him. Then he was following three. By the time Grandpa found him, Gary was pretty sure he was following a whole bunch of guys out looking for him. He had been riding in circles for a couple hours. I believe if Grandpa hadn’t found him, he would have starved to death before he figured it out.
That’s me. Lost again.