Monday, April 9, 2012

boom town




North Dakota - $17 bucks an hour to work at the McDonald's in Williston. Now, there's the true measure of a boom town. A talk with the coaches of the visiting college baseball team served to verify the facts. Only problem is, there's no where to stay. They've made "man camps" out by the oil fields, or, you could sleep in your truck, live in a tent by a tributary of the Missouri River . . . if a fellow had a Winnebago . . . they won't let you park in the Walmart lot no more, though.

14 days on, 14 days off, working on the oil rigs. They make damn good money, too. There's construction work to be had, they're building so fast. And they need truck drivers to haul pipe, to haul water . . .

It was my father's birthplace. 1914. They still wore sidearms then, for the rattlesnakes, mostly.

Grandfather farmed and held most of the mortgages on the land surrounding the town of Rawson, population 100, give or take a few - a place that no longer exists, disappeared with the dust blown across the prairie.

At the height of the Depression he tore up all the notes, returned the land to the people settled there. Land flat and barren as an inland sea but for the waving grasses of summer and winter's boundless, drifting snow.



towering clouds
a step into Laurasia's
primal ooze




8 comments:

Pasadena Adjacent said...

I've heard this; about having nowhere to stay. Mancamps - sounds like something out of the turn of the century. Or the century before last

altadenahiker said...

My cousin works on an oil rig off the coast of Norway. Moneys great, but it's mighty dangerous.

bandit said...

I'm cousin to the royal family - 60 times removed.

Pasadena Adjacent said...

me too - but to those French royals - and look where it landed them

Jean Spitzer said...

My daughter went to school with someone named Rawson--wonder if they're connected to that town. I've no royalty to claim.

Raven said...

Enjoyed your haibun. My father was born in 1914 also.

old men now gone - wisdom lost to the ages

altadenahiker said...

I am going to take your absence from this blog as a good sign. Your days are so full of art, poetry, literature, and oversized cups of latte in the student union, that you haven't the time to give us an update.

bandit said...

chain smoking, weak eyes, bad back from peering into a computer screen, rendered catatonic using rules of inference to make logical proofs, fighting the administration on behalf of students owing thousands of $ in erroneous, fraudulent billing practices, lockstep political hacks bringing their dog and pony shows to feign empathy for student tuition causes, planning to die before paying off accrued student loan interest . . . living out of the back of a pick-up truck looks more inviting every day.