I’m a Nebraskan. I now live in Colorado and yet there’s something mystical that exists in all of us as we refer to our home. It may not be a physical place, it’s more understanding where your roots took hold, no matter the location, and mine took hold in Nebraska.
Time after time, quip after quip, people relay how absolutely boring it is to traverse I-80 across Nebraska. I might have entertained that idea if I hadn’t grown up there. But it’s home with a river running beside the Interstate, often out of view. The Platte holds my memories there – the joy of seining for bait, hopping onto every size of sandbar with my siblings, followed by jumping into the shallow summer water, splashing each other while our parents and grandparents dragged fish nets through deep water holes hidden near the banks, hoping to capture minnows.
Home is the fall harvest and childhood years of riding on top of corn ears piled high in the wagon as my father drove the tractor down the dirt lane leading to corn bins for storage. The sun and crisp air stirred across my face as I wore my plaid flannel shirt, my eyes closed as I inhaled the world surrounding me. These memories are stored deeply, rarely withdrawn, but always there if needed to remind me of who I am and where I belong, even if far away.
Home is Nebraska football. There’s probably not a Nebraskan who hasn’t experienced the packed stadium loaded with people donning shades of red and a never-ending hope this season will be the good one, even though last season’s hope was squashed in Ireland by the Northwestern team, with my family present to observe it. At least the pep rally was fun.
Home was Thursday night and the girls’ volleyball team filling the stadium, setting a record for attendance at any women’s sport – in the world! As so many said, the night was magical. The excitement was palpable, even if my husband and I were sitting in our usual recliners. Even more profound was knowing the fans were there to watch women play. Women. It gives hope that women’s sports will thrive even more. It’s clearly happening, and Nebraska is leading it. Who would have thought? And that’s home. So, maybe driving I-80 across Nebraska isn’t so boring after all. You just have to know it.