As I have said, I did not come to the Oil Patch ‘Willy Nilly.’
Submitted by Don Krenowicz
Posted Aug. 24, 2012
As I have said, I did not come to the Oil Patch ‘Willy Nilly.’ The job I left in a town of Bonners Ferry, Idaho, a mere 85 miles each way to work, six days a week. Took this job with the intention of moving to this area. What I really did not know was that the oil boom of N.D would be the bust of this town that I was planning to move. After dodging moose, deer, elk and 14 hour days, watching the local hardware store of 50 years close, the local Dodge dealer of 50 years, two of the remaining gas stations close, and seeing 1500 men and their partners head to the Oil Patch, sales at my job were down 40 percent and the writing was on the wall.
My story and those I am with will follow.
Anyway I made a plan, had a great sale, sold my toys, my tools, my equipment, my tractor and left for the Oil Patch.
Having talked to the many minions that had gone this way from Bonners Ferry I planned for the worst conditions in the apt my sister found (sisters, that is yet another story), secured my belongings in a 3x3x6 foot 1/4 inch plate strong box padlocked to my flatbed stead and took the dash panel off my truck and stashed my grub stake up behind the steering column for safe keeping. And of course, I had the signature blue tarp of north Idaho encapsulating my most prized item of the trip, my soiled recliner from the TV room of our home. My neighbor came over to help hoist this treasure into the back of my faithful stead. Doing so my dear wife opened the upstairs window and with great giddiness said, “Oh thank God, your’re taking that awful thing away, I was going to haul it too the dump after you left.” I know she loves me, but that would have been kind of mean, don’t you think?
I landed in the Oil Patch safely after a two day drive and made plans for Monday morn. Get up, go to the post office, get a P.O. box, put money in the bank, go get food supplies and be back in New England by 1pm to take a nap and get ready for a job interview Tuesday.
So much for the plans of mice and men and my type ‘A’ personality of ‘Get’r done.
Like I said. the people of area are great in which to wait in line. I arrived at the general geograghic area of the post office in Dickinson and realized God decided I needed a little walk. Five blocks to be exact. Got in line, and like I said, great people in which to wait in line. Ten minutes later it was my turn and I asked the little old lady behind the counter (little old ladies in N.D. are not afraid of work). “I need a P.O. box.” “Honey, (that’s what they all say) you won’t get a P.O. box in Dickinson, N.D. for at least a year, would you like to get on the waiting list?” As she pulled out this giant ledger, I said, “Thank you M’am, you have a nice day,” and in due course in this part of the country, she said “Welcome to Dickinson, good luck to you.”
Next, let’s put the grub stake in the bank. Sounds simple enough. Take the dash panel off, get the money and put it in the bank. I picked a bank at random, I only need a simple checking account. Seemed I did not notice that I took one of the last parking spots.
Walked in and there is this huge line. “AURRG.”
Went to the next bank, same thing. Apparently it is a problem to put money in the bank. Of all the delays or problems my little mind could anticipate, this was not one I forsaw. Next bank, Bank of Dakota, walked in line not too long, thought to myself why? One hour later, a very (again nice old lady) named Kathy took my money, gave me some counter checks and asked me what my P.O.box was?
‘Conundrums.’ Quite a few of those in this little project of mine. “Well,” I said, “I would get back to you.”
A little advice for any hearty soul headed to the Oil Patch, make a plan, have housing, and most of all, as my dad said when he went to Alaska, “Always have enough for a round trip ticket,” and of course, “A case of chili and a bag of potatoes. It will keep you regular if nothing else.”
As a side note, my daughter Kelsey is headed to Alaska in two weeks to work in a cannery, wonder if G-Pa sent her chili and potatoes.
So after all this, I did a few other stops and headed south to the little town of New England. Passing thru town I noticed a little bank with no line and a little post office with no line, seems this little town has all one needs.
Make sure you spend your time looking for the smells. That is the big important stuff.
Signing off from the Oil Patch.
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