The wind is really whipping this morning! And the forecast is for gusts over 60 mph all day long. Now, if you are a kite-flying champion, this may not be bad news. However, if you are a hay or cattle hauler, this is not good.
A year or so ago I was on my way to Lemmon for the weekly livestock sale. Highway 22 is pretty lonely on most mornings. Oh, with the wind farm and grain haulers traveling right now, it has picked up some. But still relatively quiet.
Anyway, it was a windy morning. Unlike many states, when North or South Dakotans say it is windy, it is windy. Like a Wyoming wind. Just north of the junction of 12 and 22 there was a trucker hauling half a house. You’ve seen them. Like the one I live in. Well, not really. Ours is an entire house. Not just half.
This guy was hauling one side of a house. Evidently he didn’t read the manual that says, “Don’t haul this house in high winds!”
The wind had ripped the plastic covering off the side and the roof was lifting off! He was busy strapping and wrapping. I would have helped but you can ask Shirley. I’m not much help around the house.
By the time we left the sale, it was getting dark. The trucker had gotten things strapped down and was gone. I would guess the buyer of the house was going to have problems in the first heavy rain. As we got back to Dickinson, we caught up with this poor cowboy. A highway patrolman had stopped him and was writing him up for being on the road after dark with a wide load. Welcome to North Dakota! Legendary!
A few years ago, because of high winds, they had to cancel Evil Knievels sons jump over the Grand Canyon. I was watching it with some very astute people over a pinochle game. The game of geniuses. The sport of kings. Actually, it is where lazy people meet. I go there a lot. Back to Evil Jr.’s jump. It was a blizzard. It looked like a winter scene in the Badlands. The snow was not falling. It was traveling horizontal to the ground. Or parallel. Whatever. It was going sideways.
While we were waiting for the dealer, whom we wait for a lot, an intelligent discussion began. Any discussion in our game, that doesn’t include four letter words, is deemed intelligent.
Norm. Not the Norm from Cheers, but I think they are related, began the discourse. He informed us that in Norway there was a counterpart to Evil Knievel. His name was, you guessed it, Evil Knutson. He was the daredevil champion of the country. His greatest fame was achieved when he attempted to jump over eighteen barrels of lutefisk with a garden roto-tiller.
I know. I know. It wasn’t funny. We didn’t laugh either. But we told Norm it was delivery. I guess now we’ll find out.
Meanwhile, back at the ranch. We spend a lot of days horseback. I guess that’s why they call it a ranch. Most days we ride on cows. Start colts. Leg up barrel horses. Or just ride to get away from the phone.
I’m getting too old and fat to ride good. In fact, I always was. But in the wind, it’s darn right scary. Colts are scared of their tails. I’m scared of the colts. I’ve told you the story of Wayne Brown before. The one-eared guy. We were riding together on a high ridge in the Badlands. A hundred and fifty feet down either side. And the wind was blowing like it has this week. It started to rain a little. Wayne put on his slicker. I was scared to reach for mine. I was riding a green horse that had bucked me off before. Wayne kind of implied that I was scared. I told him I just like being wet.
He said he was riding a bronc one time in a storm like this and on a hill like this. He reached back to put on his slicker and his colt blew up and bucked over the edge of this cliff. I asked what happened. He said when he got to the bottom he was wearing his slicker and riding a slicker broke horse!
He was a cowboy!
Dean Meyer is a former legislator and ranches in southwest North Dakota. He has been a columnist around the state for years.