Tuesday, May 10: After a night in Beekeeper Bonnie’s cozy guest room, Bonnie hugs me good-bye in the rain in her driveway. I drive down the rain-soaked dirt road in my now very muddy white rental car with a huge jug of light gold Woodworth Honey!
I am excited to visit the Dickinson Job Service office! As I drive through the rain, semi-trucks roar by me and nearly drown the car in an extra layer of water on water. I start thinking about the endless job opportunities there must be related to the oil boom. I imagine walking into the Job Service office and handing my resume to a staffer. The staffer will look at it, widening their eyes in surprise and impressment and exclaim “Why Ms. Jager! Just look at your experience. Impressive! We haven’t seen the likes of anyone like you walk in here! I know at least a dozen employers who will hire you on the spot! Let me make some calls right now!”
I pull up to the Job Service office in anticipation, after passing by several restaurants with “Hiring Now!” signs. I walk into the office, which is much smaller than the Bismarck office. The silence is deafening. Only one person sits in front of a row of computers for job seeker use. None of the three staffers is talking to anyone. I introduce myself to a staffer, a tall, thin bespectacled man, and hand him my resume. We sit down and he peruses my resume in silence. “Well” he says. I think I saw something on our site at Dickinson State University (the same PR job mentioned to me by the Bismarck Job Service staffer). I feel my excitement deflating. Ok. So maybe there aren’t a gazillion jobs here for me.
We do have a productive conversation, and Bespectacled Man gives me some useful information. He also informs me that most of the oil work and jobs are still located further north and west, but that work is beginning to head south. Housing is in short supply and expensive, because of the even more severe housing shortage to the north. People are snatching up housing where they can, even if it means a long commute.
So after a less-than-expected job consultation, I sit down to use a computer. I check my email and voice mail and find messages from a Bismarck TV news reporter. Before I left Denver, I got into PR Lisa mode and sent some info about my job hunting trip and proposed blog to Bismarck and Dickinson media. A little self promotion can’t hurt! The Bismarck reporter thinks my journey would make a good story and suggests a news crew follow me around for a day as a I job search. Darn it all! My spot on News at 5 will have to wait for another day!
Time to hit the road to Fargo, a good four-plus hours away, as I will traverse the entire state from west to east! As I enter I-94, it is once again pouring rain, and at times I am immersed in a dense, milky-white fog, so oppressive it’s almost like driving through a snow storm! Luckily after an hour or so, the skies clear and the sun begins to shine on the rolling ND prairies! I take this as a good sign. I think about the actress Diane Lane in the move “Under the Tuscan Sun.” In one scene, her character is looking to buy an old Italian villa, and a bird poops on her head. She is told by the villa owner that this is good omen in Italy! Ok, so maybe it’s not the best analogy, but I digress! With the rain gone, I pick up the speed and start flying across the state of ND!
Although interstate travel has its advantages, it doesn’t allow for the same character as two-lane, rural roads. I enjoy slowly driving through the small towns and seeing the local businesses, the farmers on their tractors and the grain elevators. I also like passing the occasional abandoned farm-house or barn, which are sometimes precariously leaning to the side – a ND Leaning Tower of Barn! I especially like the old school houses, some with their bell still intact in a little tower on the roof, with the name of the school in black lettering across the front of the weathered, white buildings.
I zoom by the exit for Jamestown ND, where my Uncle Steve lives and where the National (?) Buffalo Museum is located. Sorry Uncle Steve and buffaloes – no time to stop!
As I drive further east, the terrain becomes increasingly flat, leaving the hill, buttes and bluffs of western ND behind. The closer I get to Fargo, the flatter the land becomes – flat as a pancake in fact. No make that flat as a crepe! And the water. Water is everywhere. Eastern ND has been inundated with moisture. Lakes and rivers are overrunning their banks, and large pools of water form throughout the landscape.
It’s around 9:00 p.m. when I drive into Casselton ND, just outside of Fargo. I am staying for a few nights with one of my high school gal pals, Eva, and her husband. I can’t wait to see her and catch up!
Thanks FB blog readers for all your encouraging comments! I’m glad you are enjoying my blog! I am thoroughly enjoying writing it!