Burgers and hot dogs were sizzling, soda was bubbling, sun was shining and horns were blowing as around 100 people gathered for the summertime concert Tuesday evening at Harmon Park.
The Korner Lions grilled burgers, First National Bank & Trust provided soda and ice cream bars, and the Williston City Band, along with the Williston Drum and Bugle Corps provided music to onlookers.
As the Williston Drum and Bugle Corps played “Just a Closer Walk with Thee,” Bartley Hill sat on his backpack and belongings in the shade, just “enjoying the music.”
For Hill, it was time to relax, reflect and contemplate his next move.
Hill hitchhiked to Williston from Morro Bay, Calif., via Oregon, Idaho and Montana — a 2,100-mike trek.
“I started in Morro Bay, went to Newport, Ore., then across the southern part of Idaho and Montana,” Hill said. “I didn’t want to hitch across the desert.”
Hitchhiking isn’t what it used to be.
“Truck drivers can’t pick you up ... insurance,” he said.
As for getting to Williston, Hill said, “I had no allusions of what to expect, just knew the job market was good.”
A welder by trade, Hill, in his early 50s, also worked in seismograph years ago.
He’s been doing odd jobs for the past month and a half.
“I have ID, birth certificate ... just no driver’s license,” he said. “That’s an issue for many jobs. You need a driver’s license.”
With no family commitments, he said he’s willing to wait for the right job. “I didn’t come here to work for nothing,” he said.
“Hopefully Monday I’ll have a job,” he said.
Hill said here, “experience is not an option. They ask, ‘Can you show up and work every day.’”
Hill said he will be persistent “until I find something.”
He said he’s hopeful his last interview will be the right one.
“I’ve been kind of disappointed,” he said, but is optimistic and maintains a positive attitude. “Part-time work is not what I need to do.”
One comment Hill made about North Dakota are the skies. “The skies are beautiful, the reds in the morning ... and at night, it stays light forever.”
As for living arrangements, Hill said, he gets by. “I don’t hang around homeless people and I don’t drink. You get in trouble that way.”
He said he believes he made the right choice in hitchhiking to North Dakota. “It’s a good opportunity if someone gives you a chance.”