Going for a ride in a boom town“Drive by the tall green one again” Julia says from the back seat. Suddenly they are all chanting, “green one, green one, green one” over and over until they see me make the turn to circle around the block. A loud cheer comes from the “peanut gallery” as they realize they will get a second look at one of their favorite new homes going up west of our place. We are on our weekly drive around town to see what is new, and believe me there is much that is new.
By: By Kevin Baisch, The Jamestown Sun
Posted June 29, 2012
“Drive by the tall green one again” Julia says from the back seat. Suddenly they are all chanting, “green one, green one, green one” over and over until they see me make the turn to circle around the block. A loud cheer comes from the “peanut gallery” as they realize they will get a second look at one of their favorite new homes going up west of our place. We are on our weekly drive around town to see what is new, and believe me there is much that is new.
“The green one is spooky” Julia says. “Yeah” her kid sister echos. “Why do you say that?” I asked. “ Oh I don’t know she says, I guess because it’s so tall and skinny.” “ Oh “ is all I can manage.
I am concentrating on weaving in between the beehive of activity and cluster of vehicles along the construction site streets. The streets are choked with pickups, utility trucks, trailers of materials and even a dump truck and cement truck. As we circle the block I notice that there are campers, backed in along side and in between new partially constructed homes. Along side them sitting on lawn chairs and next to grills from which plumes of savory smelling smoke rise are workers from the sites. They smile and wave pleasantly as if we are just one of many who drive by to look. I am sure that is the case.
We wave back and continue on down past the “spooky” green house, much to the approval of our backseat “navigators.” “ Let’s keep driving around awhile.” I say, and off we go to explore other parts of town.
As we drive we come across much that catches my eye. Much of what I see is certainly not spooky, as my daughter says, but I do find the speed at which things are changing and moving here a bit unsettling. We head down along the southeast side of town. Past the train depot. In front are standing the newest arrivals, bags at their feet, phones in hand. Some smoking, some talking to one another, but all certainly wondering what is next for them.
A little further, still on railroad property, we come across flatcars of fracking sand. Some of it a type of ceramic proppant to help hold the fractures open. A man on a forklift works to load them on to a semi trailer to be trucked to the well site. He is sweating, but smiles and waves when he sees the girls in the pickup. I notice the “made in China” stamped on the bags and wonder if the sand is from China or just the bag. I suspect the sand may come from there since I have seen some on previous swings thru the rail yard that have been stamped with the U.S.S.R. Label.
The girls have been after me to get some beef sticks and so I make the turn toward Prairie Packing and pass south of Scenic Sports. As we reach the tracks we see off to our left, more bags. This time they are labeled, “flyash.” “Wow!, look at all the bags you guys.” I say.
“What’s in them?” Marlee asks.
“Flyash” I reply.
“Fly what?” the girls say and begin to giggle.
“ Fly ASH “ I pronounce a little slower this time, knowing what they thought I said.
Their giggling subsides as I explain that flyash is used for mixing in with drilling liquids before burying in the pit. The girls are clearly bored with my explanation and so we move on.
Closer to Prairie Packing we come across a row of temporary housing. “Looks a little crowded don’t you think?” I say to the girls. A simple “ yeah” is all I am getting now. They seem to be tiring of my little tour of town.
A quick stop at the meat market and beef sticks in hand seem to brighten their mood. “ Next stop the park.” I announce.
“Yeah, park, park, park, park.” they go, back to chanting in unison.
“Which one will it be ladies?” I ask.
“Davidson!” says one, “ Harmon!” says another. It appears that we have a stalemate.
“ We have time for both today.” I say solving the problem…for now.
Some things even in the midst of this explosion of growth and activity remain constant. The good-natured rivalry of sisters.
Baisch lives in Williston, N.D., and is one of several writers sharing posts through