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Grounded in a rural life

Robin Anderson, 30, lives just west of Carrington, N.D., with her husband, Glenn, 31, and their two children. She's the marketing manager for Dakota Central Telecommunications in Carrington. He's a rancher, crop insurance adjuster, brand ...

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Robin Anderson, 30, lives just west of Carrington, N.D., with her husband, Glenn, 31, and their two children.

She's the marketing manager

for Dakota Central Telecommunications in Carrington.

He's a rancher, crop insurance adjuster, brand inspector and horse trainer.

Anderson wonders if her son, Bridger, 4, and daughter, Cedar, 2, will be able to take up rural life, or be forced to take their dreams elsewhere.

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My son is 4 years old. He decided last December that cowboys don't go to day care, so he quit day care.

He spends his days with his dad and his grandpa. I think that he truly believes that for the rest of his life he can revolve his schedule around going to the cattle sale in Jamestown on Tuesdays.

I just hope that my kids won't limit themselves to what they can do because they want both worlds. They want to have a profession and they want to live in rural North Dakota

But I worry about it.

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I tease Glenn that he'll be the next rural mail carrier if he keeps it up. He's doing what he likes to do. Even with the other side jobs his love is ranching and raising horses.

I'm glad he's able to do that and that I can work at a job that I like to go to.

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I think it would be really hard on a marriage if you had to make big sacrifices for a specific way of living and you or your spouse couldn't be happy at the same time.

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There are people who ground you and things that ground you. I guess for me -- my husband and kids ground me personally. The things that ground me are this way of life -- ranching, cattle, horses.

At the end of the day, when things are bad or things are good, that's what grounds you -- that you have stability and things like this that you can come home to.

I wonder what is going to ground Carrington. What is going to ground Binford, where I grew up? What's going to keep that town there, when people continue to die and there's no one moving back out there?

I just don't believe that you can -- 20, 30 years from now -- just have four major cities and desert in between or pasture in between.

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I think there are a lot of areas of North Dakota that people enjoy and want to come back to. I think we need to expand on those things that we have, and be less concerned about how change will affect us individually, or about other people coming in and taking something from us.

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We need to change our way of thinking and realize that we have some great opportunities to bring people to our areas and let them experience our way of life.

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I just got back from St. Louis. I talked to someone at a Rams football game. He asked where we were from, and I said North Dakota. He was all excited and said, "I was there once, to Minot.''

And I said, "Well, it is in the United States."

People talk to you like they've been to another country if they've been to North Dakota. To out-of-state people, it's kind of like that secluded little place up there that nobody goes to, because it's kind of cold and things.

I think throughout the United States there's an impression we need to change, somehow.

-- Helmut Schmidt

Helmut Schmidt is a reporter for The Forum of Fargo-Moorhead's business news team. Readers can reach him by email at hschmidt@forumcomm.com, or by calling (701) 241-5583.
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