A Family Trip To Nebraska
I know that this doesn’t sound too interesting at first glance. Nebraska???? I have to thank my husband, first, for keeping me in touch with my family. I am one of those people who, if you’re not in the room with me, you may or may not exist. It’s not quite that bad, but I am horrible at keeping in touch with my family and friends. Before I got married, I only saw my poor parents a few times a year, mandatory holidays maybe, even though they were about three hours away. Shame on me.
All of my friends, from childhood on, I have totally neglected. My three best friends, the three who stood up with me at my wedding, I am barely in touch with. The only reason I saw my grade school friend this year is because she got married. And that was an impressive move for me, because there certainly would have been times in my life when I wouldn’t have even managed to make the wedding, even though it was in the same state.
My best friend from high school I communicate with only on Facebook, even though she now lives in the same town as my parents. My excuse? She’s a dancer, and for the past several years I’ve been too embarassed to have her see me this fat. Now that I’ve lost 25 pounds, well, maybe a visit is in order.
My college friend, I seem to keep in touch with only by text. And she’s only an hour and a half away! We do enjoy sending each other sarcastic random texts at odd hours though, in a (usually successful) bid to make each other laugh. And when something significant happens we’re texting away. We both have extremely questionable senses of humor, inappropriate mostly I would say, and I can share my conversations with her with very few people, mainly my husband. That’s why he’s my husband. He gets it.
Back to Nebraska. Odd vacation spot, I know, but both sides of my family hail from there. I am three quarters German, one quarter Czech. And both my folks were born and raised in Nebraska. They went to college there. They got married there. We have family there.
Before my husband came along, all the family was forgotten. Once my grandparents were gone, it was easy to drift away from aunts and uncles and cousins. Until DH came on the scene, I hadn’t seen most of these folks in years. Fortunately, my husband likes to visit family. Even inlaws. He managed to find a speaking venue for his profession in Omaha, and once a year now we go back so he can lecture (and write the trip off as business) and so we can visit both sides of my family.
We usually visit my mom’s side (her sister, mainly) for a couple days in Grand Island, and hook up with my dad’s brother in Omaha. Now that DH has sold the plane, we have to fly commercial, but I kind of like that better anyway. It’s a lot of work to get a plane packed and ready to fly, and a small plane is a little choppy for my taste. And the reality of only one engine is a little unnerving.
This year we arrived Thursday and drove to Grand Island. We spent the day visiting my aunt and uncle, my cousin and his wife and two boys. Here were some “goings on”:
The following day my aunt and I packed up and went to Ravenna to take my great aunt (the last surviving sibling of my grandmother) out to lunch. She’s in her eighties now and has a bit of trouble getting around. My aunt played a little trick on her and sent me to the door to get her when we went to pick her up. She was gambling that she probably wouldn’t recognize me. She didn’t. She looked a bit concerned when she answered her door and saw this stranger standing there. I reminded her who I was, and fortunately, she remembered.
On the way home, I spied this beautiful barn and persuaded my aunt to stop and let me shoot pictures of it:
Once we got to Omaha, DH went to give his lecture, and A and I took off to local kid attractions: the Children’s Museum and the zoo. I admit, children’s museums are a particular type of hell for me. They all seem to be exactly alike. They all have some kind of chutes-play-in-the-water-doohickey that gets your kids all wet. They all have messy paint and glue, to create lopsided wet sticky constructions which your kid will want you to carry around until the end of time. And worst of all, they all have some ungodly plastic ball machine where you stuff balls into numerous machine orifices and watch while the balls are pumped/rolled/pushed/bounced from one place to another in the gadget. And there is always a part of the machine that sends all the balls cascading down, so that your kid can stuff balls into it again. And again. And again. And again. For two hours. Existential hell. So here are some pics. Notice that there are none of the infernal ball machine. But I promise it was there.
Next stop was the Omaha Zoo. They have a fairly nice zoo, but I do have one gripe with it: the walks between attractions are way too long, and way too empty. So between displays, there are seemingly endless hikes along loopy sidewalks with nothing to look at, and the place is so convoluted that you can’t really find yourself on the map. At least, I can’t. But I’m not too great with maps. We did see some cool stuff at the zoo:
We went out walking the last night in the Old Market area of Omaha, which is really cool and funky. We had hoped to meet my dad’s brother and wife and daughter there, but they had gone to the University of Nebraska Spring Game that day in Lincoln. We did get to meet up with them a bit the following morning before we had to hop our plane to get home.
I think my hubby is just the greatest for getting me out to see family and friends that I would otherwise never get around to going to see!