I’ve always known there were a good number of North Dakotans in Colorado. At least five of my Devils Lake high school classmates live here and the state also has quite a few University of North Dakota graduates. UND alumni gatherings attract large crowds, particularly those for Fighting Sioux (yes I am still going to use that name) hockey games. Over the years, I’ve met other people from North Dakota or with ties to the state. However, nowhere has that been more true than here in Brush, Colorado.
My first week on the job, I met someone with North Dakota ties nearly every day, including the president of the Brush rodeo. When he found out I was from North Dakota, he said “my wife is from Bismarck, in fact she’s there right now for a family reunion.” He also told me that a long time pastor of a church here in Brush was from Devils Lake. The pastor has long since retired and he couldn’t remember the fellow’s name, but he promised to track it down for me. Friday of that same week I went to a rummage sale in the basement of a church. I started chatting with some of the church members and it turns out one nice lady’s husband was from Fargo. That weekend I was at the local library and one of the staff members there was from North Dakota. It certainly made me feel welcome to know I was in the midst of so many North Dakotans!
The following week was Brush’s annual rode, a huge event not only for the town but the state. I was at a rodeo launch dinner and while standing in line for some grub, I started visiting with a city council member, who also plans to run for mayor. I was sharing with him that I was surprised at how many people I had met in such a short time with ties to North Dakota, and he said “Lisa you are not going to believe it, I’m from North Dakota.” At first I thought he was pulling my leg, but it turns out he wasn’t. He grew up on a farm near Fargo, although the family left the state when he was a child. However, he still has relatives there and does return to visit occasionally.
It doesn’t end there. Just recently a man came into the office to look through our newspaper archives for little league stories back in the 60s. He served in the Vietnam war with men from North Dakota and was actually part of documentary years back about the war that was made by a television station in Fargo. Since then he has returned to the state periodically to go fishing. Not long after this encounter an elderly gentlemen came into the office who had some family in North Dakota. I once again shared how surprised I was that so many people in Brush had ties to North Dakota. He said maybe we should put a notice in the newspaper to have a “Ties to North Dakota” social gathering. You know, I just might do that!