Life in a “Fly Over” State…

I was born and raised in a “destination” state…

I live and will grow old in a “fly over” state…

For those of you that are Country Western music fans, Jason Aldean has a new song out.  It is entitled “Fly Over States”.  My girls and I heard it on the radio last weekend, and I loved it.  It talks about the Great Plains region of the United States—at first from the perspective of someone flying over at 30,000 feet from New York to LA, and then later from someone who actually lives in a fly over state.

From the city to the farm…

My middle daughter indignantly pointed out that Nebraska did not make the song (apparently, even as fly over states go, Nebraska does not rank high enough in popularity to be mentioned).  My oldest daughter (a dedicated college football fan) just plain sputtered as the song ended having talked about Texas, Oklahoma, and Kansas (home to our biggest rivals during the years of the Big Twelve) but no mention was made of Nebraska.  As my oldest continued to dramatically expound on the unfairness of being forgotten, her littlest sister, stated “Its ok, Ashley, WE know how important we are!”

The perspective of a “farm kid”…Tractors and barn cats!

I simply stood there, laughed, and marveled at the pride that my children have in their home state.  They, quite honestly, cannot fathom that anyone would think that their beloved state was simply:

Just a bunch of square cornfields and wheat farms,
Man it all looks the same,
Miles and miles of back roads and highways,
Connecting little towns with funny names,
Who’d want to live down there in the middle of nowhere…

To them the middle of nowhere is home—and the town of Cozad most certainly does not have a funny name!

Home to about 4000 people, and proudly marked on a local grain elevator…

The gravel roads that we drive on…

Our house is down this road and behind the trees…

The fields tended by their daddy and his crew…

The rural version of a “Jaguar”…

The cattle that they learned to care for long before they had ever ridden in an elevator…

A view that greets us every morning…

The small town where they go to school…

Learning life lessons on teamwork and community pride from teacher and coach mentors…

The sunrises and sunsets that will literally take your breath away…

God’s paintbrush…

The view out their bedroom windows of sky and fields, and the vast expansiveness of the Platte River Valley…

Our valley, aglow with life under the summer sun…

Home is a place where cattle out number people 4 to 1, and 93% of the state’s land (45.6 million acres) is utilized by farms and ranches.  Home is a place where natural resources and Mother Nature determine the realities of life.  Home is a place where heart and soul and pride are all rolled up into one expression:

The Cornhuskers

We all define “home” in different ways, just as we all search for something unique as we journey through life.

I remember telling friends at Dartmouth that Matt and I were moving “home” to Nebraska after graduation.  Amidst a sea of surprised faces came the comment, “Nebraska, that’s right next to Kentucky isn’t it?”.  My favorite wedding gift was a map of the United States where my friends marked the routes “out of Nebraska” and back to their homes on either coast…

I am captivated by ranch windmills…They are so simple, yet so beautiful and functional…

My life is no longer full of traffic and beaches and shopping malls and movie theaters.  I traded those for tractors, cattle, corn, alfalfa, horses and prairies. Although Nebraska has never been termed a destination state, it is my final destination.

**Your homework this weekend is to look at the map of the United States and find Nebraska!  It should be easy to note that it is NOT right next to Kentucky..

 

13 Comments

Filed under Family, Foodie Fun!, General

13 responses to “Life in a “Fly Over” State…

  1. Bill

    Tell your girls not to worry about the song. Nebraska has the President boxed over the Keystone XL Pipeline issue. It is a heck of a way to promote the state. You all should be proud.

    You’re also OK, no matter where you go, as long as you have access… or think you have access… somewhere… to hydration. Tell me that isn’t so. Tell me you don’t look when you go somewhere new. I bet you even had a subconscious eyeball looking in Kenya. (Did you see any in Kenya?)

  2. Scott Reynolds

    Anne,
    Great comments about Nebraska. Quick question though: How did you forget to mention your teams mascot, the HAYMAKERS, along with the CORNHUSKERS!!!
    Have a great day Anne,

    Scott R.

  3. I have a well worn route to get BACK to Nebraska!

    The Rancher always jokes and says the best thing he ever did for me was get me out of Nebraska. He also says he has NEVER met a group of people that are so proud and love their state more than Nebraskan’s.

    Excellent post Anne! I am proud to call you a fellow Nebraskan.

  4. Being from the Great State of Kansas I appreciate the backhanded compliment :). Rock Chalk and EKAW!

  5. Herbert C Gibson

    It is a destination for us and our four legged friends. Dad

  6. I agreed with every word you said. It’s great to be from Nebraska. My brother moved to the east cost after college. He’d give anything to find a good job like he has there and still be able to live in Nebraska. His wife (from Pennsylvania originally) also loves coming back to Nebraska. As far as the pride of being Nebraskan, my brother had a Huskers football helmet cake for his groom’s cake at their Pennsylvania wedding. God Bless Nebraska!

  7. I’ve never been to Nebraska, but welcome to the B1G conference. Boiler Up!

  8. Robert L. Gwilt

    Loved our visit to your state. Was amazied at the meuseum on i-80
    at Kerney Nebraska. Our stock broker is from there and told us about
    it. Also the mueseum at Minden iss greatt great.
    Bob Gwilt
    Nutritian Consultant-Gro-Ted Inc
    Liberty,Indiana

  9. Jim Cooper Grant NE

    thanks for writing this, I am your “neighbor” from about 100 miles west. My family came out here to farm in 1904 after a scouting trip in 1988 including get caught in the Blizzard of ’88. When people ask why I stay here I just tell ’em we are “slow learners” I guess. Truth is I wouldn’t trade if for the world……

  10. Carol

    Awesome post. I loved it!

  11. Chris

    Found this post when Googling for others’ thoughts on the song. Your post made my eyes tear up with pride.

    I’m originally from Georgia, but am still quite familiar with Coastal snobbery.

    To me, the genius of the song is that after the opening scene, he never goes back to the judgmental folks.

    Each time I hear it, I’m filled with pride over knowing the things he sings about, but also a mix of sadness and anger over folks who do easily dismiss us.

  12. Jake

    As a fellow Nebraskan I just gotta say bravo. The best time of my life is driving home to Lincoln from Rapid City every few months, and get to see the country changing with the seasons. The coasts don’t know what they’re missing.

    • Thanks, Jake! I appreciate the read and you taking the time to comment. Nebraska is a wonderful place and I wouldn’t trade it for anything.

      I hope that you will keep reading!
      All the best,
      Anne

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