Plains Folk

Plains Folk, a commentary devoted to life on the great plains of North America, is now a special weekly feature on Main Street. Written by Tom Isern of West Fargo, North Dakota, and read in newspapers across the region for years, Plains Folk venerates fall suppers and barn dances and reminds us that “more important to our thoughts than lines on a map are the essential characteristics of the region–the things that tell what the plains are, not just where they are.” You can hear Plains Folk once a week during Main Street, weekdays at 3 pm CT with a repeat at 7 pm CT.

To read more Plains Folk commentaries, click on the “archives” link.

Recent Shows

  • Advent Things

    Deep in the winter dark of the northern plains, when others sulk for lack of light and warmth, I am heartened by the rituals of calendar. Evenings we come together beside our home advent wreath; even the dogs seem to sense the grace imparted by its glow. The long dark before dawn, too, is a […]

  • The Scent of Remembrance

    In past columns I have defined the phenomenon of a memory trigger—some kind of sensory experience, usually involving the sense of smell, that triggers powerful memories of times past. The godfather of the memory trigger in literature is Marcel Proust, the French novelist. The most memorable element in his monumental work, Remembrance of Things Past, […]

  • What Fools We Yankees Are

    A week or so ago I was talking about this remarkable report by North Dakota’s state lands commissioner in 1923, Carl R. Kositzky. The title: A Twelve Thousand Mile Trip Around the State in a Ford Car: Short Visits with the Farmers During the Season of 1923. It’s a remarkable document on two counts: first, […]

  • Across North Dakota by Ford Auto in 1923

    A week or so ago I talked about land. Specifically, the land granted to North Dakota by the United States government, under the Morrill Act, for support of North Dakota Agricultural College, now North Dakota State University. As I intimated, this is a complicated story. It is tied up with all the other lands granted […]

  • Reading the Rings

    Joe Zelenick, extension forester for North Dakota State University, is wonderfully enthusiastic about his work. I spent some time with him the other day as he worked with one of our History graduate students, Robert Foresman, in an attempt to identify certain hundred-year-old elm trees planted on campus as memorials to soldiers killed in the […]

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