Friday, July 30, 2010

North to Nebraska

Looks like I've been neglecting my blogging duties lately, but in all honesty, I've been trying to get these photos loaded for a week now and blogger hasn't been very cooperative. Even now, its been slow going.

A few weeks ago DH's uncle passed away and we made a super fast trip to Nebraska. DH has a huge family and although we keep up around the holidays, none of us are very good about keeping in touch the rest of the year and its been 18 years since we've been up there, with the exception of DH flying up in 1999 when his grandfather passed away. Why is it we only get together during weddings and funerals anymore?

So, other than we wish the reason for our trip had been more enjoyable, it was wonderful to catch up with everyone. All the kids have grown up and another generation is being added to the family tree since our last visit. Heck, I think I'm just now getting all his first cousins lined out and connected with the right set of parents! Being an only child, I was quite overwhelmed when I first met his family. He only has 2 siblings, but his grandparents had 7 children on one side and 5 on the other and they all had lots of children.

Once DD was asking DH about his cousins and DH told her to get a piece of paper. She returned with a notebook sized piece and he grinned, "Get a bigger piece." LOL!

I love his family. They are all so hospitable and story telling is both near and dear to their hearts and apparently it has a very strong dominance in the gene pool. No worries about it becoming a lost art with this bunch! My how the stories did fly! I don't think there's shy one in the bunch!

Suddenly his cousin, Steve, brought up one story about how he remembers DH telling about how I looked like a turtle when I was about 8 months pregnant with DS and trying to get out of the water bed in the mornings.

You've GOT to be kidding! I looked at Steve and said, "Out of all the stories you have to tell in this family, you have to remember THAT one?! Gee thanks! Just how I like to be remembered! LOL! I guess I should be honored that I've earned a place in the storytelling, Makes me feel as if I've been grafted onto the family tree...even if it is as a turtle!
DH is really the quiet one, but I've never heard him talk so much as I did during this trip - and we've been together for 26 years! Although I still think he listened more than he talked.

With the exception of a stop at Cabela's to stretch our legs (like we need an excuse to stop there!), we pretty much went from point A to point B on this trip. I took along my hexagon flowers and worked on getting them on their blocks when I wasn't driving. My powers of persuasion must be diminishing because I was unable to convince DH to work on them when I did drive, but I managed to get about half of them stitched on. Some of my stitches are quite wobbly though. Driving along highway 76, through Colorado, was interesting. We pretty much rattled the entire way. I have a bone to pick with the Colorado Highway Department! If I had had any fillings, they would have been shaken loose! Gave dirt roads a run for their money! DH got tickled watching me and then when I got the giggles, it became even more challenging.

We stayed in Alliance, NE that night. DH was born there and we enjoyed touring his old stomping grounds although most of the stomping he did there was along the sidewalks while he waited for his Mom to finish her shopping. Alliance is a quaint little town with the original cobblestone streets still in tact:

The little pharmacy/drugstore he remembered was still in business too. I love little towns like this. They have such character.

After being cooped up in the truck for so long, we were tired, but not ready to call it a night at the motel so we stopped in at the local Subway and enjoyed our supper at dusk in the local park.

Which by the way, was very impressive! It was green and peaceful and clean and charming.

I wish we had arrived earlier in order to snap more pictures. I missed the impressive flower garden and playground area. There's a huge pool too with a water slide and extensive biking and jogging paths as well.

I was shocked to see this fabulous fountain in the midst of this peaceful place and although I was just bemoaning the fact that it was too dark for pictures, this little gem made me change my tune.

Looks very Parisian to me.

It was a nice way to wind down before hitting the sheets. I was exhausted, but DH wasn't even a bit tired. He says that he didn't do anything all day. He's not good at kicking back. Even in motel rooms, he's up before daylight and ready to go. There's not much I would change about that man, but this might be the one area that could use some work! Grin!

We then traveled east about 75 miles to a little bit of a town called Ashby and then Hyannis. That's where DH grew up. Just a few hundred people and I'll bet most of them are related to him!

The service was really nice and celebrated the life of a man I wish I had known better. It was good to spend time with his 4 children and his one daughter is fabulous! What a neat gal! She sure had to learn to hold her own with 3 rascally brothers!

We spent the next night with DH's cousin, Dave and his amazing wife, Mickie. They have a beautiful place:

The boys saddled up and rode across the sandhills the next morning while Mickie and I enjoyed a morning of fellowship, chatting, a nice walk, and a tour of their home place. The sandhills put Ireland to shame!

We come from alfalfa country and I was so impressed with all of this natural grass they bale. The mown paths look funny. They're all wobbly and wavy and it looks like someone took an extra nip of moonshine but they have to avoid the marshy areas that pepper the pastures. I've never seen so much green!

The sand just sifts through your hands like silk. Not a rock nor a pebble to be found. The amazing marshes were covered with a vast variety of waterfowl and I would have loved to throw a fishing line in the water.

You can dig down 20' and hit water in that country!

I adore Mickie! What a wonderful blessing she is! They're expecting their first grandchild and I can't wait to get started on a baby quilt!

We reluctantly pulled out at noon and headed back south. Dave lent DH a packing saddle and I told Dave that he would get it back on one condition - they have to come and get it! Grin!

On our way back, we passed by Lake McConaughy, just outside Ogallalla. I love that name. I don't know why, but it just rolls off the tongue. I'm wondering if I was ever meant to be a beach bum because I sure am drawn to shores and I really just wanted to jump on the back of this guy's jet ski as we whizzed across the bridge:

We left on Thursday and after a total of 1658 miles, we rolled back onto the ranch on Sunday morning. Whew! So good to be home! I sure do wish Nebraska wasn't so far though!

I wasn't sure things back home would look very green after being in the sandhills, but it looks awfully good! The weeds are alive and well and my mower is calling my name! Guess I'll just have to close my eyes and tell myself its a jet ski.


NaomiG said...

Aw! Sounds like a lovely trip... other than the reason, of course. It was really fun to look at all the pics of scenery too... I love scenery pics, in case you hadn't noticed on my blog. Can't wait to see how your quilt's coming along. :-)

Shelly said...

Thanks for the trip! My Cowboy LOVES Nebraska. In fact, he almost took a job in Alliance a while back. He still talks about moving up there . . . I'll have to let him see this post!

BK said...

Funny, we just got back from a gigantic family funeral too. Not funny about the funeral but funny about the coincidence... We have a huge family too! SOOOOO many cousins and everying it's crazy

Tracy said...

We drive through Nebraska on our way to's a loooonnng state! Usually we only see it or at least the eastern half of it in the dark as we get up and leave by 5 AM. We drove over half of it one time and never passed or got passed by another vehicle!
We checked out a few farms/ranches there and in Wyoming too, but it wasn't meant for us to move there.
But it is beautiful and that small town looks like a perfect place to live!

Brigid said...

This is such a small world!! My dad was born in Alliance, but most of his mom's family was from Hyannis. Their last name was Egan. I absolutely love the sandhills & you described them so beautifully!! I also loved your pictures of the fountain in Alliance...I always thought it was pretty cool as a kid when I went to visit my grandma in Alliance.

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