There was a time when I was an absolute news junky. Read newspapers, listened to morning and evening news shows… no longer. Now I want to shut out the nonsense, the ugliness, the tradgedies happening here at home and abroad. The best way to do this? Get out there on the highway and drive. My favorite drive is on Nebraska highway 2 of course. Westward bound. Up to Halsey National Forest. On to Mullen. Maybe out to Crawford and the beauty of the Pine Ridge area of Northwest Nebraska. Open spaces. Big skies. The feeling that you can go forever into solitude and nature. And escape the noise of the civilized world that’s not so civil these days. How about you? Where is your favorite drive?
It seems looking back that Nebraska highway 2 has been my mother… she raised me… sent me soaring to the faraway horizons…
We grew up not far from the farmer immigrant germans who settled near the mighty Missouri river where the roads rolled up and down over hill after hill. Our lives were in the city but our center was a small town in southeast Nebraska and we traveled that highway 2 almost every weekend. We were going “downhome” as my father said. Downhome was a small farm on the outskirts of a small town. We could walk into town as we grew old enough. Grampa was the town barber and for a few years he and Gramma owned and operated the town hatchery and the town Variety store. We also rode our bikes back and forth from the farm to town when we were permitted. There were no worries about child kidnappings or busy roads. We enjoyed a freedom children today have no idea of. Even the city life we lived was one without fear. Playing outside after dark, taking the bus downtown alone, walking or riding our bicycles anywhere in the neighborhood. Now, we keep a close eye on our children at all times, accompanying them on their neighborhood journeys, having them check in consistently, it is a different world then what we grew up in.
Family vacation times are important for ourselves and our children. Exploring our home state or traveling to places farther away, experiencing new horizons and meeting the great people living in the small communities is so important in developing a sense of place for our families. The world is out there to be explored and for memories to be made to take back home and relived.
Each of the communities along Nebraska Highway 2 are planning events for you to share in. Visit the community pages on www.nebraskahighway2.com to help you plan your travels along the highway and make some memories!
Things have changed. That seems an obvious statement but really, things have changed. In the past it was expected that once the farmer’s child graduated from high school they went on to college or university and settled in a large town or city to make their way. Few returned to the farm or small town where they were raised. There weren’t enough opportunities to make a living for themselves and their young families. But now! There are so many opportunities to work from home via the internet and to live in rural areas and on farms or ranches. And where there are young families there are opportunities for other businesses to grow and thrive to meet the needs and wants of these young families. Have you considered moving to a small community. A peaceful, clean, community focused home town? And just why not?
The summer has whispered good-bye and brilliant golden October is upon us. I hope you took the opportunity to travel our place in the world, so much to see and so many people to meet here in Nebraska.
The weekend of October 16th through the 18th will be the annual Sandhills Journey Byway “Follow the Rails Art Trail”. Visit the website at http://followtherailsarttrail.com. Meet artists and the communities that support them. The weather looks promising and will be a work of art itself.
It’s the middle of June and the gardens are planted and the Farmer’s Markets are going strong. Families are traveling towards vacation spots across our lands and striving to make memories for the young and for the old.
Our family had a get-to-gether at a horse arena to watch one of our young lovelies race her horse around barrels against a clock.
Was a relaxing laugh filled horsey time sitting in on those metal seats in the stands and around the “Look for the white trailer pulled by the white and black pick-up”. Inside joke. There were a thousand or so white trailers and white and black pick-ups. It got some of us wondering if those instructions were purposely anti-instructions? Just kidding Pat!
City kids joining with some country kids and enjoying it all together. Petting the horse and getting to sit on the horse while being led around the parking lot.
Big smiles and some hiding behind Nana’s legs and Noooo I don’t want to ride on the horse thank you.
A late Mexican restaurant supper afterwards. Delicious food and drink and a server that was outstanding in his abilities and hospitality in taking an order for 18 at ten minutes before closing time. Was a wonderful evening full of laughter and stories, many pictures and some great memories were made.
Why our fascination with numbers? Today’s date is 5-15-15 and as many have pointed out, all the dates this week are the same backwards and forwards. “They” say music is numbers, the universe is numbers, but aren’t numbers created by humankind to count and designate? What is a natural number? Anyway, I ponder this date mostly because it is my mother’s birthday. She is an ageless 81 and active and alert as anyone would hope to be at her age. I wonder if when you are 81 do you wake each morning full of surprise and thankfulness or with disappointment that you are facing another day? I hope to wake thankfully until I wake no more.
I may be dwelling on death today in light of the passing of BB King yesterday. He was 89 years old and for a blues man that is a good long life. I heard BB King play live twice in Lincoln, Nebraska and he was an incredible musician. I am grateful I had the experience to hear him. His music lives on and many musicians credit him with their love, obsession and pursuit of creating music. Music speaks to us on so many different levels. I know in my own life music has been a constant companion through my days and nights. Lying awake in my parents’ house late at night listening to my bedside a.m. radio, singing along, annoying my sister who shared my bed and dreaming of growing up and living the lyrics for myself. Emotions and dreams stirred up upon hearing a long-ago song.
Now these days will find me driving across the plains of Nebraska listening to my own personal choices of music for hours through the magic of a computer thumb drive. Upon arrival at a campground I can then turn on the laptop computer and create a background for stargazing or fire cracklings.
Sometimes it is nice however to turn the man made music off and listen to the sounds of the night. Nature plays some beautiful tunes of her own and we should listen.
Today nature is loud and wet all across the State of Nebraska. One should remember that Mother Nature can become quite violent this time of year as many have already witnessed so pay attention to what is happening overhead.
What was that? I think I hear BB King playing some soulful blues up there in those clouds. Yep, that was definitely Lucille. Rest in Peace BB King. We loved you.
Glad the hot weather did not stick around very long. Much much too early for that kind of heat. Now this feels like Spring, 40 degrees and sunny skies. The tulips are up and here and there are a few purple hyacinths. Spring is lovely when its cool and the blooms open up. The flowering trees with their cotton ball white flowers and those with their bright yellow blooms are everywhere in this neighborhood.
Since January I have been taking yet another class from the local community college. As a liberal arts university student I have found that I was lacking in business education even though I have worked in a law office for 25 years. My paralegal education touched on businesses but mostly business law. There is not much marketing in a law office business as it mostly word of mouth and the bookkeeping I did relied on the software packages on the computer. Delving into an entrepreneurship class has opened my eyes to many aspects of running a business and acquiring customers and keeping those customers happy and provided for. The small town communities need thriving businesses in order to survive and tourist dollars will add to improving economics in small town communities. Due to the internet, many young people are returning to their small town roots to live and raise their families. But they still need amenities close to home and businesses need to grow. Please support small businesses. They support many wonderful people, things and places.
Today, the Spring road is beckoning again and as everything is greening up it seems a great time to get out and explore Nebraskahighway2 and meet people in the communities and make some new friends! Happy Oestre and welcome Spring!
Early spring in the central Platte river valley brings birds, hundreds of thousands of birds. Coming to see this mass abundance of birds are visitors from all around the world. The big draw are the Sandhill Cranes and the Whooping Cranes. The Sandhill Cranes are usually more easily found than their taller, white brothers, the Whoopers.
This early Spring weekend Murphy, my nebraskahighway2.com traveling companion, and I set out to watch the spectacle of the cranes leaving the river to move out to the cornfields to eat.
To make things more interesting, it was the weekend that time SPRINGS forward. Time doesn’t actually change but our clocks do. Or should. Do I set the clock forward before going to bed or after I get up in the morning. Would thisclock change interfere with my sleeping pattern over the night? I opted to leave the clock alone and determined when I wanted to be at the river according to when the sun would rise and the cranes would begin to move. I chose to ignore the clock/time thing and move according to the sun.
Sunday mornings are usually quiet and few if any others are on the roads at sunrise. This was true in town but once we arrived at the river park with its viewing bridge we found a small population with cameras, binoculars and cups of hot coffee. Being as there were too many vehicles to park close to the river we found a parking place further away from the river but the birds flying overhead had no concerns about parking places. In the early morning dim light the noise was almost deafening of honking geese and chortling cranes. The waning full moon lit up the western sky and illuminated groups of birds flying across it.
I attended the Tenth Annual Nebraska Agri/Tourism workshop in Kearney, Nebraska on February 24, 2015. First I have to say the drive from Grand Island to Kearney was spectacular with the thousands of geese and cranes rising from the Platte River and exercising in the warmth of the rising sun. The sky river of birds extended for miles and miles.
Our morning workshop was with business growth specialist and author, Joe Calhoon. Joe was fantastic and highly motivating! He reinforced my belief that business is about people and meeting their needs. Not just your business’ customers/clients but the employees of your business as well. A book, “On the Same Page” was provided and I came away with many pages of notes and ideas I wrote while listening to Joe Calhoon speak.
I shared my table with two hospitality and culinary students from Central Community College in Hastings, and Garry Clark, the executive director of Cuming County Economic Development in West Point, Nebraska and Betty Sayers of Nebraska Rural Living and the Chicken Dance Trail based in Holdrege, Nebraska.
There were representatives from the Nebraska Economic Development Commission, the Nebraska Tourism Commission and many agri/tourism business owners from around the State of Nebraska. The agri/tourism businesses included a lavendar farm, a nature retreat, a bird watching farm, several wineries, bed and breakfasts, breweries and more.
We had a working lunch listening to speakers including Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts. Governor Ricketts emphasized “Growing Nebraska” by cutting taxes to encourage new business growth and an emphasis on education. I was most impressed by our Governor with what he did after he finished speaking and returned to his place on the podium. The following speaker was from the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission and a few minutes into her presentation she began to struggle to clear her throat. The Governor discreetly asked for a glass of water and took it over to her. Returning to his seat he looked out at the audience and commented, “I am a full service Governor” much to our delight! It was a thoughtful, caring thing for him to do.
Joe Calhoon returned as the keynote speaker and spoke to us about how to “Build a remarkable business and live an extraordinary life”. He reminded us of how lucky we are to live in this time and this place and to have the opportunities we have to make the world a better place for ourselves and for others.
Four different sessions were held in the afternoon with different focus and concerns including safety, financial opportunities for your business, farm transitions and how a “little” farm business can become world known.
It was good workshop and I thank the Nebraska Tourism Commission for putting it all together.
Nebraska is a wonderous place in the world to live.
The new beginnings of the year 2015 resonate with positive feelings and great hope of what is to come. No resolutions this year only a more enlightened way of thinking and dreaming of traveling the roads of Nebraska. When the roads are clear and free of ice. I am thinking a lot about the weather and those travelers on the roads that will be controlled by it. I hope everyone checks the different weather forecast sources and looks ahead to their travel ways and how it will intersect with wintery mother nature.
We had our own encounter with wintery mother nature last weekend when what usually is an hour and 1/2 drive turned into an overnight stay only 40 miles from our home. I did not check the weather forecast, only the darkening skies, and we headed out into the dry late afternoon. Soon there were little drops of moisture on the windshield and the drivers on the opposite side of the interstate were creeping along at a very slow pace. Soon an suv pulled up on our left to pass and then —- zing!!! across the road right in front of us and off to our right he or she slid……. made me think of the Wizard of Oz and the house inside the tornado and different creatures flitting by. Then a second vehicle… only this one spun around and was facing us and then … zing… off the side of the road he (or she) went. Thankfully the cooler headed driver was at the wheel and we were able to creep to the next off-ramp which happened to be a town with motels and such. We crept crept crept off the road and slid against the curbs like a pong game. I YELPED and found a motel directly across the road from where we were and yes they did take dogs… We were landed for the night.