Damn, one week after we arrive on the prairie, the local bank, better known as the Flaxton Branch of Dakotah Bank, has closed its doors. Now, this door closing had nothing to do with insolvency. The bank has decided that it can no longer pay an employee three hours a day five days a week to keep the office open so that those of us who live in town can stop in for a chat, buy insurance for our cars, crops, homes, and health, deposit the return on our local oil well, or withdraw funds from our savings and checking accounts.
The prairie has been under attack for so long that these mananagement folks have come to believe that closing down any small town is a necessity no matter that this amazing state is in the black, unlike 44 other states in America. Business as usual means rifling small towns to enhance corporate profits.
And for those of us who live in town, all 72 of us, it means travelling 26 miles to cash a check, to ask the bank to dole out our own well earned cash sheparded by the bank in our savings accounts.
I just shook my head, stopped to talk with the bank manager, and decided to jot all my good friends, the artists of the planet, to consider working for a week end some time in the next 36 months at the Prairie School of the Arts, a new venture here in Flaxton designed to increase interest in prairie living, to give the folks who live and love here in the northwest corner of North Dakota a chance to come together to enjoy water colours, photography, quilting, decoupage, barbershop quarteting, Gaelic dancing, massage, weaving, memoir writing, tattoo, tap dancing, etc. etc. etc. with masters of the style.
Of course, the main purpose of convening the Prairie School of the Arts is to show the corporations who live and make decisions in places that are currently so red with ink that they cannot imagine a new enterprise being successful, that they need to keep their investment in small town America where a great many of us love to live.
So, dust off your travelling shoes, put on your sun glasses cause the prairie can be very very bright, and let me know when you would like to come and share your talent with prairie folks who are among the most welcoming on the planet. We'll provide a bed, a week-end full of good meals, a glass of wine or bottle of beer, laughter, imagination, and transportation from the closest airport or train station, and a small stipend to recompense you for your travel time.
You can reach The Prairie School of the Arts right here on this blog. Think about it, jot a note, ask any questions that puzzle you, and know that the first workshop will be mid September right here in Flaxton - The Memoir:writing stories of the harvest.
Keep tuned for further details.