Saturday, May 31, 2008

Happy Birthday to Walt Whitman . . . and rest in peace, Utah Phillips (photo).

At the Medora poetry gathering, I sang "The Goodnight-Loving Trail," Utah's ode to an aging cowboy. I didn't know that he had passed away just hours before.

Although I never met Utah, I wrote him a letter once and sent him two of my CDs. I've been a big fan since 1975, when Dad brought home a vinyl record called El Capitan. To hear a sample of Utah's story-telling and song, listen here.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Courtesy of Christy's cell phone:

Grandpa and me at the Dakota Cowboy Poetry Gathering.

The very beginning and end get chopped off, but you'll get the flavor.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Blogger has not allowed me to post anything new to this journal since last week. It has been disconcerting.

The Dakota Cowboy Poetry Gathering in Medora was great. Christy, my peachy girlfriend, was with me all weekend. Good friends "V" from Wyoming and Susan from Montana were there, too. Grandpa joined me on stage for the "Summer of the Government Roundup" poem, which was well received. I got interviewed for North Dakota Public Radio by Merrill Piepkorn.

Today Christy helped paint my kitchen. Tonight we enjoyed a rich juneberry and rhubarb pie that Grandma made. Christy leaves tomorrow morning at 5 a.m.

I'll be trucking for the next three or four days. I am a fish hauler, fish hauler am I.

Monday, May 19, 2008

The weekend went by in a flash. Scraped old lead paint off much of my house. Salvaging a building takes more effort than building new.

I've decided to hire my friend Brandon, from Minnesota, to come here in June to help me with various projects (roofing, sanding the floor, replacing the porch, and so on). He's a 20-year-old tramp, and he plans to arrive the old-fashioned way--via boxcar!


For humor, see cowboy/cop video here.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

This coming weekend I'll be spinning a couple of rhymes at the Dakota Cowboy Poetry Gathering in Medora. I'll include a poem that my late granduncle Chris Sand wrote, "Summer of the Government Roundup." In a sense, it's a collaboration between him and me, because I altered it a bit to make it flow better aloud.

The poem takes place in 1929, when Uncle Chris was working along Wolf Creek on the Fort Peck Reservation in Montana. He meets two Indian cowboys who teach him a trick for taming a wild horse:
O, they roped 'im, threw 'im, and tied 'im
Put a pinch of black dust in each eye
And when they released him, he'd lost all his starch
And to drive him was easy as pie
Mostly the poem is a poignant reminiscence of Uncle Chris' (and Grandpa's) younger days, as in the final verse:

I'll always remember that summer
I think of it still in my dreams
I'll never get over my days as a drover
Or the flavor of Shorty's baked beans

I'm hoping that Grandpa will join me on stage to share a couple of his government roundup memories. He balks at the idea, but I think Dad and Grandma will talk him into it.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Check out my new slammin' Willie Wisely-produced jam: Go Bama Go! (It's not finished, though. Check back in a couple weeks for the final version.)

The songs on the unreleased CD I recorded earlier this year with Froseph--Rough Notes from Otter Cove--sound nothing like this. "Go Bama Go!" is as much advertisement as it is a pop/rap song. Pop-aganda?

The Froseph songs are more mystic and rustic.
Truck drivers come in every size, color, religion, and gender. There are philosopher truckers, skinhead truckers, grandpa and grandma truckers, fresh-off-the-farm-never-seen-a-city-before truckers, Hindu/Muslim/Buddhist truckers, punk rock truckers, lesbian truckers, and more. Tuesday night I ran into a Willie Nelson look-alike trucker, clip-on braids and all. Claimed to have gone to school in Hibbing, MN, with Bob Dylan.

I've seen a lot in the last six months: sunsets, sunrises, night skies, wildlife, waitresses. I've seen avalanches, aliens, gnarly road-kills, and over 20 wrecked semis. I've made good money, paid off debts, developed an addiction to taurine, listened to satellite radio, and watched over 50 dvds in the sleeper cab. I've run over 16 curbs. I've been blown off the road by 60-mph winds. I've jackknifed. I've survived.

Trucking has been kind to me.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Tonight Bull Goodall and I head to Philip, SD, to fill up with tilapia fingerlings. We'll haul them to Minnesota, then make our usual run to British Columbia. Back Friday.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

For Mother's Day I made a huckleberry pie for Mom and Farmor. I wish I could've delivered a piece out to Grandma Vi in Montana, and to my Godmom Bryher, too.

It's gently raining right now. Everyone is grateful, especially me. My lady, Christy, is flying up here for Memorial Day weekend. I want to impress her with the greenery of the scenery.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Last week I received an email from a Kansas bicyclist named April, who was looking for places to stay on her way through North Dakota. She had been given my number by a Fargo friend. Her timing conflicted with my trucking schedule, so I told her how to get into my house.

Yesterday morning, driving home, I saw a bicyclist pedaling west from Dunn Center. It was April, who'd spent the previous night at my place. I let her know that we were expecting 4" of snow, so she hunkered down at my parents' house in Killdeer for a couple days. The snow has melted now, and she heads out tomorrow morning, destination Seattle.

Happy trails, April! You've proven that not every long-distance vehicle requires a bathtub full of dinosaur juice.

Friday, May 09, 2008

Farewell, Eddy Arnold. Your days' work is done and done well.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

My 100% Norwegian Grandma Edna turns 88 years old today. She thinks this means she's getting old.

I see it more like: 8 + 8 = 16.

Happy Sweet Sixteen, Farmor*!

(*Norwegian for father's mother.)

Saturday, May 03, 2008

Yesterday was a good day. Christy arrived from Denver for the weekend; Froseph sent me my new, completed CD (my favorite one yet . . . more later); it was payday at Goodall Trucking; and I officially moved back into my Dunn Center shack.