Eli’s General Store
In the northern part of Cherry County lies Eli, NE on US 20. The town is still shown on the state highway map, but no population is given. This town is so small it doesn’t even rate a standard green sign for the highway that says “unincorporated”. The town had to make its own sign.
But, Eli has a general store;
it must be busy at times, it has a parking meter in front. And, there is a fire plug to keep the local dogs happy.
Eli has its own very well-kept church. The sign on its front said, “First Western Church.” The church and the store, both were in good condition and looked in working order, but I saw nothing to call home.
Thought for the Day: Home is the nicest word there is. Laura Ingalls Wilder
Nebraska Sand Hills
The Nebraska Sand Hills are basically a grass-stabilized desert, with gently rolling “dunes” that cover a quarter of the state. As barren as the land appears on the top, below it sits the Ogallala Aquifer, which is the largest body of ground water in the world.
The hardy prairie grass is well suited for the harsh climate and makes for excellent cattle grazing. However, the prairie grass has only a tentative hold on the sandy soil and any disturbance allows wind erosion to create “blowouts”, like the mega-sand trap above.
The Cherry County rancher that owns this land has tried to minimize the damage by stabilizing the blowout with timbers and old tires. It looks like Mother Nature has the upper hand.
Thought for the Day: The goal of life is living in agreement with nature. Zeno (335 BC – 265 BC)
Say whaaat? Does this sign make any sense? Do you see any trees? In the middle of Cherry County, Nebraska, known for its wide-open spaces, I came across this sign.
I double-checked the map and made sure of my position. Yup, smack dab in the middle of Cherry County. Then, I took a 360 degree view of the horizon. Not a tree in sight. I’ve written about Cherry County before (click here and here), and it’s certainly not famous for its trees.
I continued my drive, composing in my mind a liar-liar-pants-on-fire letter to the feds about their misleading sign, when I came upon some trees. To be fair, lots of trees, but not my idea of a forest. You could actually see the forest for the trees. The feds probably felt sorry for Nebraska’s reputation as a flyover state and lowered their standards for this one.
Thought for the Day: Where is there dignity unless there is honesty? Cicero (106 -43 BC)
A sad story, Whiteclay. The northern city limits of Whiteclay, NE is the state line between Nebraska and South Dakota. The Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, on the SD side, abuts Whiteclay’s northern city limits. Alcohol consumption and possession is prohibited on the reservation.
The 2010 census lists Whiteclay’s population at 14. There are 4 liquor stores in Whiteclay, which sold 4.9 million cans of beer in 2010. That averages over 13,000 cans of beer per day. Just beer! Who bought all this beer?
I was on US 20 traveling east near Rushville, NE when I saw the sign to Whiteclay, 21 miles north on NE 87. What the heck, I was never going to be this close again, so I took the turn and pulled into Whiteclay around 8:30 AM. The town seemed deserted, but it had an “edgy” feel to it. As I approached the north end of town, I saw the graffiti-marked blue building and immediately felt unwelcome. I turned around, putting Whiteclay in my rear view mirror at 8:42. As I headed south, I was thankful that I saw Whiteclay while most of its visitors were asleep … in the street.
Thought for the Day: First you take a drink, then the drink takes a drink, then the drink takes you. F. Scott Fitzgerald
What’s it like to be alone? Really alone. Not sitting by yourself at the bar, but really alone.
That feeling struck me when I was driving on a county road in the middle of Cherry County, Nebraska; Nebraska’s largest county of over 6,000 square miles. I left Merritt Reservoir at sunrise and hadn’t seen a soul since … that was over two hours ago.
About then, I came upon this lonesome tree and we became BFF’s. I let him cry on my shoulder, while he told me of his dreadfully lonesome life. No kin in sight. No movement except the clouds. No smell except for a fresh spring rain. Wildlife passes through, but no one stops to visit. No human interaction; horseback riders check the fences in the spring and fall, but they’re always in a hurry. Reluctantly, I left my new best friend and headed on down the road feeling better about my own life. Nothing beats a good cry.
Thought for the Day: So long as you can sweeten another’s pain, life is not in vain. Helen Keller
Grandkids – 2014
I have a yardstick nailed to the wall, and every July 4th I mark the height of each of the eight grandkids. Its been going on now since 2002, probably one of our best family traditions; definitely my favorite anyway.
In the summer of 2002, there were only three to measure; they were too young at the time to appreciate its value, so I had to put up with quite a bit of whining. Now, the older ones look forward to it and their excitement infects the younger ones, who technically aren’t tall enough to even make the chart, but the toddlers like to imitate the older kids so I still record their height. Growing like weeds, today the ages range from 15 years to 15 months, and the heights from 5′-5 1/4″ to 2′ – 7″.
What made this year extra special was the group picture of all the grand kids. This is the first group picture ever where one of them isn’t crying. Now, THAT’S progress.
Thought for the Day: If there is no struggle, there is no progress. Frederick Douglass
Young Bird Watcher
Nebraska’s Schramm Park Aquarium and Nature Center has an area for bird watching. Sitting comfortably within spitting distance to several bird feeders, several binoculars are available to observe the birds.
Additionally, there is a small video screen that displays close-up photos of all of the bird varieties that come to the feeder. This makes for easy identification of what you are watching through the binoculars.
This little guy decided the easiest way to use the binoculars was to view the video screen directly. You know, cut out the middle man and go directly to the source.
Thought for the Day: Gratitude is the heart’s memory. French Proverb