Flooded Minot, ND: September 15, 2011
I woke at 5 am, showered and packed, then left the Heart of America Hospital at 6 am to walk to the local radio station in Rugby. The temperature was 31 degrees, but luckily there was little wind.
At the radio station I met up with the DJ of the “Wakeup Call”, Dave White Thunder Trottier. Dave was part Chippewa and part Sioux, and his “day job”' was as an administrator at the hospital. From 6 am to 8 am Dave DJ'd at the radio station.
From 6.40 to 8 am Dave interviewed me and Cindy Smith and we put across the message about helping hospice: by becoming volunteers, giving donations or simply by using hospice services. At the end of the show Dave's radio buddy, Bruce, recorded me saying one liners. I had to say one that said: “This is Colin Skinner from England, with two of the coolest guys in North Dakota, Dave and Bruce on the 'Wakeup Call'.”
Saying goodbye to Cindy and Dave, I was on my way just after 8 am. The day became sunny and the temperature rose to around 70. By the roadside I saw five garter snakes and took photos as they sunned themselves. A yearling deer crossed the road and approached me, then thought better of it and bounded off into a field. By 4.15 pm I reached the Cennex gas station at Towner and phoned Judy Haman. My cell phone didn't work, but the manager of the Cennex let me use her landline. Jim Haman was soon over in the Cennex. Two young guys were playing a card game at a booth in the Cennex. The game was called 10 1/2 and Jim joined in a few hands...and lost a few dollars to the card sharks. We loaded my pack into Jim's car and trundled away to Jim's cattle ranch. For supper we ate roast beef, from Jim's farm, with potato and squash and cabbage. Judy was an excellent cook and was also looking
after two grandsons: Christian and Gavin. Christian was six and full of questions for me. Gavin was just a year old. Jim and Judy's son Mike joined us for dinner, too. During dinner, Jim had to dash off twice to
pull a friend's tractor out of some mud. With dinner done, Mike took the two boys off to their home and Jim drove me off to take a look at his farm. As we headed North, vast stretches of open water covered Jim's land. “That there is some of the finest hay land you'll ever find...except that it's now under several feet of water.” Jim said it with a smile,
but the sight of all the water was a shock to me. The Souris, or Mouse River had flooded, causing devastation to farmland and the city of Minot. Jim had to buy in hay for his 200 cattle and the land where he fed the cows during winter was mow just an expanse of mud. Jim said he hoped the flood was a 500 year flood...one that wouldn't happen again on his lifetime. On the open stretches of water storks and cranes waded around and ducks swam about, it looked like they planned on the water staying.