WEST FARGO AND SOLDIER’S MEMORY LANE

113

-By Orv Alveshere-


EASTERN EXPOSURE OF FRIENDLY FLATLANDERS
Recently, my car and I hummed down Sheyenne Street for a treat.
My destination wasn’t old memories, but that’s what I’d meet.
In college days, we’d fill gas there and wave goodbye to flatland towns.
At the hills, my pony remembered me at the old stamping grounds.
Saddle up, breathe the clean Dakota air, and view the countryside.
Back to the flatlands, gas up at Sheyenne and 10 (it was a long ride).
We’d collected ‘great’ homemade buns and clean laundry, as our cargo,
When decades ago, we’re happy to see the lights of West Fargo.

SOLDIER HITCHES RIDE AT STOCKYARDS
Decades ago during peacetime, a soldier flew to Hector Airport
From Heidelberg, Germany, needing a ride as last resort.
He’s cold, broke, almost home and needing a job, and perhaps a loan.
Those were the days before night-vision goggles, CB’s, or the cell-phone.
I called a guy in West Fargo. Could he find a northbound cattle truck?
We drove to the center of livestock trade, and I was in luck.
That night the airplane and an old GM cattle truck had a cargo;
Dressed in Army green and lugging a duffle bag to West Fargo


CALLING ALL CATTLE TRUCKS (ROLLING FARMS?)
By coincidence the truck’s heater was in the shop. The big hole
Where ‘it should have been’ brought bone-chilling air, taking it’s toll.
It was after harvest. The corn was in the crib and grain in the bin.
We didn’t know beans about beans, or where sunseeds came from back then.
Before Golden Arches, Sunday shopping, I walked near a walking t-bone.
I’d saddle up, see relatives and enjoy sirloin that was home-grown.
I hung ‘round round steaks, stood eye-to-eye with standing rib-eyes. My cargo
Held Army clothes. Later with new clothes, I’d move to West Fargo.

A SUNRISE COUNTRY DRIVE
Each morning, then, was a country drive past the barns and Holstein cows;
Locally made four-wheel drive tractors, pulling Ag implements and plows.
Flowing through my mind were overflowing riverbanks; packing plant crew;
New school buildings; State Championship teams…and how the city grew.
The friendly ‘little’ country town became a friendly ‘big’ city.
It had rodeos and car shows, and Big Iron, with ads so witty.
Trucks on I-94 haul locally assembled equipment as cargo
Past the Red River Fairgrounds and racetrack at West Fargo.

ONCE WAS A WEST FARGOAN/BEEN THERE TO DO THAT
I once lived there, rode a train through town and got off a bus there.
I missed a station robbery by moments and sat in Doug’s Barber chair.
I recall graduations and memories. The barn’s cows are now history.
It’s past…passed in review. Some of it remains a mystery.
Knowing where a town ‘came from’ and it’s past, is not a ‘put-down’.
We’ll still watch the harvest activity on the outskirts of town.
Closer to sunup than sundown…I was once a cattle truck cargo.
This story is a tribute to the gifted home builders, of West Fargo.

© Copyright 7-2003, all rights reserved. by Orv Alveshere, Fargo, ND
(written for and published in book: “WEST FARGO: A WORK IN PROGRESS”)

Orv Alveshere, an award-winning writer of humorous cowboy poetry and stories, “grew up hanging on a horse.” He writes about his lifetime of adventures.