For this Montana transplant, roots have taken hold.Posted Feb. 21, 2013
By JAMIE SPAINHOWER
Adams County Record Editor
I’ve been in North Dakota for a full year now – and it’s been like home since I walked into the office the afternoon before I started work.
A Montana native, everyone assumes I lived in the “other” half of the state – the part you see on TV commercials of Glacier Park and soaring mountains. Actually I grew up in the city in the middle of the plains and spent the rest of my adult life (with a few years in Texas) in towns pretty much like Hettinger, only usually smaller.
The mountains were there, and could be seen from almost anywhere, but mostly the land was flat, surrounded by fields, and the wind blew all the time.
So, the view is like at home.
I spent more than 12 years commuting at least 45 miles each way on two-lane twisty blacktop roads with lots of deer and no other traffic. Going to town and the nearest Wal-Mart was a day’s adventure in town. So, the drive is like at home – with only a part-time commute.
On my travels, I could leave in the sunshine, drive through a whiteout, put on the chains to get up a hill, only to take them off 15 miles later when the sun was out and there was no more snow. I have turned on the a/c and the heat in the same trip. I have started out in shorts and stopped a couple of hours later for gas and put on my parka.
The weather is just like at home.
I’ve been on deadline for too many years to count. I’ve sat through hundreds of meetings, taken thousands of photos and eaten more polish sausages at high school sporting events to count and loved every minute of it. I’ve met some of the best people in their fields – from moms to doctors and found everyone’s life is a story and worth listening to.
I’ve stood in floods, on fire lines, chased a black bear through town to get a photo and even was at a potential bomb site once. I’ve covered kindergarten poetry, judged 4-H
photo contests at the fair and on one incredible day shot state football, drove 685 miles to the state girls basketball game in the same day – and watched while we won both games.
Work is like home.
I have made some great friends and continue to make more as my coverage area is expanding. The grocery store has upped their ice cream order for me. I’ve had people stop in my driveway to put in a classified ad, and bring my dog home when she’s gotten away on the hunt of a sparrow.
Day-to-day life is like home.
But there always seemed to be some little thing missing before – I knew deep down eventually in a year or two – three if lucky – we’d be moving again as my then husband got transferred. The little roots I put down would be transplanted eventually.
The night I got here I moved into a perfect little house – room for the grandkids to visit but cozy and exactly right with real closets. And now it’s mine permanently.
Because, after all, this is home.