This month, we asked our readers to submit replies to the following...

As we give thanks this month, what makes you most thankful

about living in North Dakota?


A North Dakota farm boy at heart, my husband readily responded that he’s most thankful for the “fresh air” in North Dakota. I pondered the question with this final realization: “I’m thankful for the genuine heart of the people.”

Let me share an experience from earlier this summer. Our city residence is 250 miles from my husband’s home farm, land that we now rent to others. While repairing pasture fence there, I was my husband’s “errand girl” to drive to a farm supply store about 20 miles away to buy a replacement handle for the manual posthole digger. The store owner earnestly met me at my pickup box to measure the existing damaged equipment and then showed me optional handles that might work. He then initiated phone calls to another hardware store (25 miles in another direction) to check its inventory for me.

Meanwhile, my married name surfaced in conversation with the half-dozen customers in the store. Questions were asked, family connections were made, and I was even asked to attend a home party by a complete stranger! A handwritten receipt confirmed another aspect of small town living that I’d forgotten. Upon leaving, the owner assured me of two things: the handle could be returned if it didn’t fit and secondly that everyone in this small town would know in three days if it did or not!

I was sincerely warmed by the genuine heart of the people. “I was a stranger and you welcomed me.” I left with a laugh and a wonderful memory.

Joyce Wagner, Member of McLean Electric Cooperative



Besides our clear blue skies and wide-open spaces, I’m thankful for our four distinct seasons. I know winter can get a little long, but it makes spring that much sweeter when it does arrive with bursts of color and new life. Summertime brings endless warm days, sunshine and outdoor activities. By the time fall arrives with its palette of golds and red, I’m ready for its slower pace and pause to reflect on the passage of time.

Winter arrives with its blanket of white and chilly temps, but it’s also a time to gather with friends and family and dream of those spring days when the earth awakens with birds and blooms, and the cycle of seasons continues!

Deb Larson, Member of Capital Electric Cooperative



There are many reasons why I am thankful I live in North Dakota. I am thankful for the sense of family here. With a population of approximately 750,000, anyone you meet on the street could be a relative. When you meet a car with North Dakota license plates in another state, there are smiles and waves. Or if you’re headed for Frisco, Texas, there might be some horns up.

I am thankful for “North Dakota nice.” When our family was staying at my grandparents’ house, it was my job to shovel snow. There was ice under the snow, so I was slipping everywhere. The neighbor came over with his Bobcat and cleared the snow for me!

I am thankful for the wide-open spaces and flat prairies of North Dakota. When my family takes trips, we always exclaim over the mountains, deserts or forests of other states, but we also want to come home to the beautiful, flat prairies of North Dakota.

I am thankful for the four distinct seasons of North Dakota (fall, winter, spring and road construction, or summer). Just as I am getting sick of sweating, fall comes and nips my nose. Winter keeps the riffraff out of North Dakota – at least that’s what my grandpa says. Spring comes just when I start to wonder if grass really exists. Beautiful North Dakota summers are what keep us here. Never take living in North Dakota for granted!

Ruth Dramstad, Member of Cass County Electric Cooperative



I love where I live! I have lived in this area my whole life. I never tire of seeing the beautiful sunrises and sunsets.

Each season here offers its own unique colors to the horizon. In North Dakota, we are able to experience all four seasons in a unique way.

Spring brings a little more sunshine and an excitement of planting the garden or seeing the farmers work the ground.

In the heat of the summer, we try to squeeze in some time to watch the kids enjoy playing at the lake or going camping with friends and making many fun memories filled with laughter – and good food.

My most favorite time of the year is fall. Fall adds some beauty that can only be created by God. The amber waves of grain bordered with the green soybean fields makes a beautiful landscape. There is a slight coolness in the air allowing for a nice comfy sweatshirt to be worn.

Most of us don’t look forward to the cold that the winter months bring, but it is always nice to have a light snow fall on Christmas Day. It adds a little glisten to the day.

I am thankful for the prairies and potholes region of North Dakota. We have all kinds of wildlife making their way through our area. In the early morning or late evenings, the quietness allows nature to harmonize together. Thank God for the beauty in North Dakota.

Vickie Rudolph, Member of Dakota Valley Electric Cooperative


Vickie Rudolph shares a photo of a North Dakota sunset.



North Dakota is a very quiet state, at least if you live outside of city limits like I do. Living out in the country, away from the bustle and noise and chaos of crowded urban life has always been a blessing for me as a lover of solitude. For my mind to flourish, I need to be alone with my thoughts sometimes, and walking down a dirt road listening to the corn rustle or sitting on a fallen tree in the backyard with no cars or voices in earshot is an ample opportunity for me to sit back and let my imagination soar. North Dakota is definitely a state like no other, full to the brim with the comforting sound of silence which gives one an ample opportunity to gather inspiration from the stunning sunsets and wide-open prairies that can be found in the Peace Garden State. 

Leona Petrovic, parents are members of Verendrye Electric Cooperative


I find myself in awe at the end of the day as the sun begins to set across the vast horizon. North Dakota is at it again, stunning me with her most notorious signature – the sunset. I pause a few moments to watch the dazzling array of blue, pink and orange sun-kissed clouds and sky stretch out along the horizon. It is truly a breathtaking sight and one that has delighted photographers, vacationers and myself time and time again. I am thankful for them and for all the natural beauty that North Dakota has to offer.

Aside from nature, “North Dakota nice” is a term that has been coined in recent years to describe the mannerisms of the people in the state. It is not ungrounded or misleading. There is a rich and deep heritage here. When it is time to harvest, we work hard; when it is time to celebrate, we play hard. Folks are not afraid to help one another, often lending a hand even when it is not convenient for them. We smile and greet each other in the stores and on the streets. And we haven’t forgotten how to say “thank you” or “excuse me.”

So as I sit and watch the sunset again, I give thanks for the many blessings I have in my life in North Dakota! I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Susan Schmitt, Member of Slope Electric Cooperative



What makes me thankful to live in North Dakota? That’s a tough question. Could it be the wide-open prairie where you can see for miles or the beauty and intrigue of the Badlands? Could it be the clean, fresh air or the changing seasons that keep life from being monotonous? Maybe it’s the breathtaking sunrises and sunsets or the thunderstorms rumbling in on a hot July day with lightning splitting the sky in jagged streaks. It might be the smell of rain after a long period of drought or the sight of a golden wheat field ready for harvest.

While all these things are wonderful, I think I would have to say I am most thankful for the people. You can’t visit a local store without running into someone you know and having a conversation. When misfortune strikes, they show up with comforting hugs, boxes of tissues, casseroles, work clothes and equipment. There are no strangers when someone is in need. Everyone is your neighbor and that sense of community is what makes living in North Dakota great.

Sandra Dingfelder, Member of Slope Electric Cooperative



I’m thankful for living in North Dakota, a place where we have four seasons. At times, winter is not my favorite due to the cold and snow, but we still have the good fresh air. We are fortunate not to have the severe weather of floods, hurricanes or earthquakes.

There are no other places like the wide-open plains to raise a family where they have freedom to run, work and play and there is less crime than larger cities.

North Dakota is a friendly state. Neighbors are more like a family and willing to help each other anytime.

Darla Hagen, Member of Northern Plains Electric Cooperative



Traveling and seeing the world is such a passion of mine, and I hope and pray when the day comes that I retire, that it gives me more of those opportunities.

In the past, the traveling that I have done has shown me some of the most breathtaking scenery and buildings that are astounding, but there is one thing I always love, that cannot compare to any other place, and that is our North Dakota skies.

Whether it’s seeing all the stars in heaven, where city lights would drown them out, or the sunrises and sunsets on the prairie, nothing ever compares to the beauty from my own little home, out on the prairies of North Dakota. The Northern Lights, when in view, make me just stand in awe. I am very thankful to God for the individual color paintings displayed, all new and all different and all beautiful in display.

Cathy Unterseher, Member of Northern Plains Electric Cooperative


Cathy Unterseher shares her photo of a North Dakota sky.



I am so thankful for the clean air, and the spring, summer, fall and winter with the open spaces. I have been to states outside of North Dakota. The big cities, the traffic, noise, crime, people all over. No, thank you. I cherish the quietness, the friendly people and the style of living. God bless North Dakota!

Carol Schumacher, Member of Capital Electric Cooperative

DECEMBER: What is your favorite Christmas event and why?

Deadline for submission: Nov. 12