June 11, 2010

Why Nebraska?

Because if you pull up to a stop sign at the same time as another car crossing the intersection, most likely they’ll wave for you to go ahead of them. And most likely you’ll do the same for them. And yes, eventually everyone gets across the intersection without too much lag.

Because it’s not flat. Okay, parts of it are flat, and if you drive on the interstate you’ll see all of those parts. But trust me, it’s not flat.

Because I’ve never felt scared walking home at night, even when I knew I should. Of course, that could just mean I’m naïve.

Because the Sandhills is the last majorly intact prairie ecosystem in the Great Plains.

Because we don’t have an accent.

Because if your car gets stuck in the snow, and it will, three perfect strangers will stop and help push you out.

Because people driving on dirt roads wave to each other as they pass, whether they know one another or not. And they generally do.

Because people passing each other on the sidewalk make eye contact. And they usually nod and offer the “I acknowledge your presence” half smile.

Because summer thunderstorms are the most beautiful event in nature. Period.

Because there are no six degrees of separation. There’s just two and a cousin. And there’s always the cousin.

Because if you leave, wherever you go, you’re unique.

Because when you meet another Nebraskan outside Nebraska, it’s like coming home.

Because it means you always have someone to argue with who’ll still invite you over for pie later. It’s only polite. And because there’s always pie.

Because Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo is one of the best in the world. Seriously. Over 17,000 animals representing 962 species is some of the largest indoor habitats, including jungle, desert, and swamp, in the world. Rocks the socks right off San Diego and any other zoo I’ve ever seen.

Because the ice cream shack on the corner of Highways 2, 71, and 20 in Crawford (population 1,107) makes the best loose meat sandwiches in the world. They smoke them in the shed next door. And make their own barbeque sauce. Sigh.

Because Sandhills cranes simmer like a silver storm in the sunlight.

Because we have the only unicameral legislature in the country. There’s no point in paying twice as many politicians to do half as much.

Because the wind in the grass is as unrelenting and as uncaring as the waves in the sea. It reminds us.

Because you’ll never be more than twenty-minutes from a really good steak. Unless you’re in certain parts Cherry County. And don’t feel like butchering that steer standing next to the road yourself.

Because Nebraskans epitomize practicality.

Because what other people call gossiping, we call visiting. And it’s only polite.

Because someone as poor as me can still afford a view of one of the seven wonders of the architectural world (circa 1927).

Because the State Capitol building is completely open to the public. And there are no metal detectors or security checkpoints.

Because Shakespeare on the Green is free.

And because it’s home.

1 comment:

John said...

When I lived in Iowa for seven years, I missed Nebraska almost every day. A place can just call to you.