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By Jesse Utz 

Landslides, blizzards and family Spring Break 2014

Jess Shut Up


Last updated 4/9/2014 at 12:49pm

We decided to visit my family in North Dakota over spring break. We had never done this in all these (almost 20) years of being together. Mom and Sis were excited to have us, as was Gage (turning 6 during our visit) and Kash, who was just born in December.

We soon found out why we have never visited. A landslide on one of the passes and a blizzard on another left us going about 25-40 MPH for a big chunk of driving, and leaving us 200 miles short of our first night’s destination and searching for a hotel.

After a quick nap and shower, we were refreshed and on the way again. Soon we were meeting Kash for the first time. The family atmosphere consumed us as we forgot about the miserable drive and added different precious memories of Granny Judy, Aneeka, Colin, Gage and Kash.

Wild Rose, ND is a very small town in the middle of the oil boom. Oil rigs and tanker trucks run the roads and countryside now as small towns get big overnight. Dirt roads, one gas station, a post office, a store and a bar line the main street with a park that has seen big fireworks shows in the past. Their school is now an apartment building with kids being shipped to the surrounding areas for their education. The townspeople are just as friendly as the folks here in the Coulee. As a matter of fact, I kinda consider it our sister city of ND. So much potential.

If you’re not around your family for a long period of time, you kinda forget how important they are to you. My mom shares some of the same mindsets I have, and I see parts of me in my sister and in her kids. It reminds me of good things and my heart smiles now as I think of it.

The time Karrie and I shared with the people of Wild Rose, weather family or not, will be cherished and kept in a safe place for many years to come: Like Sophia and her fused glass, Nina and her wildlife photography. The family affair at the gas station. The clerk behind the counter at the store. Not to mention the friendly folks in Foggys. These people all remind me of the down home hospitality that dwells in our streets on a daily basis. We welcome friends and family of others we know into our hearts as if we have known them for years, and they become friends.

There is a lot of beautiful country between here and ND. But as I came home and looked around our little piece of earth, I realized more than ever that this is a good place. A majestic place. Views everywhere you look. People with smiles and hellos. Businesses open and inviting your business. Wildlife and wild characters.

Coulee Country, home sweet home.

Wild Rose, thanks for taking care of my family. Till we meet again.


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