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

  • The Regional Project

    A couple thousand times since 1983 I have opened a screen to compose an essay under the title, Plains Folk. I am thankful to the readers and listeners who have sustained the enterprise. I’d like to talk with you a little now as fellow people of the plains. I think the last composition you may […]

  • On the Level

    Living a semi-public life, I get a fair number of semi-personal questions as I travel about the region. Including the common query, are you retired yet? To which I reply, not hardly. Gimme another twenty years. Life has come to the point, however, where I have thoughts like, in my threescore and whatever, How many […]

  • Oases of Summer

    Of all the drive-in oases that beckon under a prairie sky on a summer evening, I believe this one is my favorite: the Zesto Drive-In, on Capitol Avenue in Pierre, South Dakota. It is enough, perhaps, that the Zesto offers good drive-in fare with hokey names–like “The Palmer,” its name for a supersize footlong hotdog, […]

  • The Prairie Garden

    Our property is host this summer to a family of serial killers. A Cooper’s hawk raised a clutch of little Coopers in an ash tree overlooking our garden and supervised their hunting lessons in the willows on the creek. Now we have hawks continually wheeling through, seeking targets of opportunity. This makes songbirds less numerous […]

  • Heritage Trails

    Where a tire track curves into an open pasture, we call that a prairie trail. Where the section line is graded only occasionally, and the traffic is mostly just farm machinery, that’s a minimum maintenance road. Other section roads are graveled, and a step up from that, some county roads get the asphalt treatment. Then […]

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