Sunday Column: A string of headlights heading toward Boomtown…

This town we drive to for groceries and work, it buzzes and hums and creaks and groans and crashes and grows and creeps in on the neighbors and the wheat fields and cattle pastures every day.

And it’s filled. Filled to the brim with industry and progress, locals and non-locals, passers-through, brilliant minds and lost souls, people looking for a place and people who’ve found their place long ago.

It consumes us. This oil industry. The way that it kicks up dust. The way it brings wealth and eats up the landscape and changes the horizon. Some say it’s bad. Some say it’s good. Most understand that nothing comes without a price.

Nothing is simply black or white.

I allow myself to ponder it because it’s fascinating and it’s my life.

And the world seems to be pondering it too, grabbing for the stories so that they might be the mind to reveal some sort of hidden truth in the one place in America the economy is booming. The one place in America small towns are bursting at the seams.

The one place in America there is an abundance of hope that if we can all just keep working we might pull ourselves up and be able to take root and stay planted or grow wings and fly the hell out of here.

Me, I’m on the side of the roots.

So I spend my days telling my story and listening for others’. What I see in Boomtown, what I think we look like–mothers and men, children and teachers, fifth generation farm families and oil industry professionals, young men with big plans, good men gone bad, bad men starting over and women on their own, leaders and preachers and helpers and people in need, lonely people, happy people, fed up people, inventive people, people in love, people who’ve lost and people who will. not. give. up. My best friends, my husband, these kids’ future–this is not what the world gets to see in the headlines.

Between tragic car wrecks and the dramatic stories that beg to be told of the nameless men who’ve arrived in the wild, wild west in search of their cut of black gold there are people, people like us, building lives and drinking beer, meeting up for a movie, holding open doors, buying steak for dinner and loving each other.

Coming Home: Living in a town of labels, assumptions
by Jessie Veeder
Fargo Forum

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Watch: Jessie Veeder’s Boomtown

6 thoughts on “Sunday Column: A string of headlights heading toward Boomtown…

  1. We just returned home to my fiance’s childhood stomping grounds, a small oil town in the extreme northwest corner of Colorado. Never meant to be more than temporary camp, this town is now a sprawl of campers, RVs and double-wides all laid out on the craziest grid I can imagine. I have been amazed by the strange, different sort of culture and melting pot of people that the oil industry brings together. It’s something I’ve never been around before.

    Wonderful post and pictures – thanks for sharing!

  2. Hey Jessie,
    Good job. I was planning to tell my readers about that ant’s nest of economic / ecologic activity that ya’ll have going on up there but you do it better. I hope you don’t mind if I re-blog for my readers.
    When I rode AmTrak out in June I was counseled to avoid Williston and de-train a couple of hours earlier at Minot instead. During the month I spent in the grasslands at Medora, we were on the edge of all of the activity and the sunset was often obscured by the dustcloud 10,000 feet in the air drifting south. On June 23, 2013 as I drove from Minot to Medora, my “one trick pony” rental car would have been in the first photograph below.

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