The family and I took our annual excursion to Platte Center, Nebraska for the 4th of July weekend last week. It did not disappoint.
Along with the expected, yet incredibly entertaining festivities--including tailgating for the parade on Main Street, drinking, the kid's tractor pull (pedaling, of course), Super Savers Fried Chicken, the demo derby, and more drinking. It's America at it's finest. It's a remarkable celebration that is simplified to small town standards. Nothing fake--just a pure Nebraska farmland holiday. It's basically a John Cougar Mellencamp song. And I love it.
Before the 4th's festivities, though, there was work to be done. Farm work. Although I grew up in the country and have my fair share of brush hogging (that's mowing a field with your tractor) hours logged, I have never manned a rig quite the size of the John Deere 4550 that I had the pleasure of moving hay bales with.
Driving this "Cadillac of farm tractors" was therapy for me. It was just me (and my nephew, Beck, at times), country music on the radio, air conditioning on (yes, air conditioning), and acres of hay bales that needed transporting. For me, it was a different world. No people (except, once again, for Beck), no worries, no stress--just work to be done.
I like Nebraska. And I love the farm. It's where my wife was raised. It's where her sister was raised, her dad was raised, and where memories of her family are everywhere. It's simple, real, and doesn't contain much bullshit. It's a place where my brother-in-law and father-in-law and I shoot guns at Coors bottles. Where my nephews catch toads and set crawdad traps at the creek. Bee-bee guns are at a six year-old's disposal in the bed of Papa's pickup. The three year-old has a mountain of sand to waller in for hours. Looking out the enormous front window of the farm house is looking out over hundreds of acres of land. You can barely see your closest neighbor. It's an island in itself.
One day I hope to write a post in this blog about incorporating the farm into my life more. It needs to stay in the family for years to come, and by "doing" hopefully that will be accomplished.