Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Population 1

You may have seen Buford, Wyoming in the news last week (here, for instance). The town, population 1 (one), was recently sold. I stopped in Buford in the summer of 2010 while I was on the road doing research for my current project, Locomotive, which is about the transcontinental railroad. (Yes, this book has taken an inordinately long time.) I had pulled off the interstate to look for where a spectacularly rickety bridge once stood, and also I wanted to find an H. H. Richardson pyramid, built to sustain the memory of two brothers whose fortune, made from the sale of shovels, helped fund the railroad. (One odd thing leads to another in the transcontinental railroad story. This has been part of my problem.) 

Anyway, Buford. There was a flinty woman behind the register when I stepped in to the Buford Trading Post pay for a tank of gas and, I hoped, to buy a good local map that would help me find those local sites. “Do you sell maps?” I asked. “No,” she said. I was surprised. “No maps?” I said. “No maps,” she said. I handed over my credit card to pay for the gas. For reasons that escape me I attempted small talk as I waited for the card to be approved. “Are you the population of one?” I asked. She shook her head. With a stoney straight face she said, “I’m from out of town.” 

1 comment:

Marc Tyler Nobleman said...

Any post that uses the word "flinty" is alright by me.

If the population is one, presumably that person is (among other things) the mayor, so next time try Town Hall.