We went to a place where “all the women are strong the men good-looking and all the children above average”! Oops that is Garrison Keillor’s Lake Wobegon. No we went to the Cattlemen’s Ball and all the men were tall muscular and lean, the women lithe and pretty as a picture and few children to be seen. Yes a more reasonable description was of a crowd of prosperous people. Most dressed in western fashion with jeans, shirt and boots. The ladies in skirts, western blouses, boots comfortable and practical. Everyday wear intimating a life of success.
Grannie Annie and I were more than favorably impressed with our area’s effort to raise funds to pay for research to defeat the scourge of cancer. Set in a hay field a few miles below the Enders Dam the site was accommodated with a number of large white tents. Big! The main tent was some 400 feet long, 185 feet wide and filled with tables and chairs for the guests to dine and a separate cook tent beside it. A History Tent displaying pictures and artifacts of the surrounding area as it morphed from Indian country to the modern pivot irrigated farm fields and good pasture of today. A tent just filled with items donated for a silent auction. Another really large tent with a dance floor, the stage for entertainment, countless round tables and chairs and the ever-present bar at the end. Outside food stands, one in a tent, and soft drink stands were very popular even though a huge beef themed evening meal was part of the price of admission. A spotless “Big Iron” semi-van complete with an ATM. A merchant’s tent selling their wares. A rodeo arena and a parking areas for campers. Acres of parking directed by riders on horseback. Walkways were covered with wood chips and porta potties conveniently present. A huge effort to put into place for the Friday and Saturday event and all to be gone by the time you read this.
Oh the 90 degree temperature seemed hot with very little breeze but it was a beautiful day—perfect.
Such an event takes backing and MNB of McCook arose to the occasion guaranteeing the expense of the operation and many of their employees working in a variety of tasks. Merchants and individuals from miles around donated valuable goods to be auctioned. We are talking a shiny new semi grain trailer for example. Countless individuals donated their time to coordinate and work the events to make it all a smooth running success. Entry fees were a donation—sure a tax write-off but still it is money that could have been used for other purposes---selflessly given instead to a good cause to make our world a better place.
Grannie and I seeked shade to rest our weary (sweaty) bodies so we attended a big event the “style show”. Some 30+ individuals of all ages, the majority ladies, crossed the stage as the announcer described each person’s struggle with cancer and recovery to a near normal life. Your writer had little clue that the disease is so prevalent in today’s population. Yet seeing persons that we know and hearing the stories of recovery and remission from the ravages of the disease for so many others really highlighted the reason for the whole fund raising event. People helping people with none left behind. It seems that our risen Christ would be proud.
This old gent is a longtime lover of our Bible’s Old Testament. In Proverbs 11 King Solomon addresses the concept of generosity. He wrote: “A generous person will prosper; whoever refreshes others will be refreshed.” There is no doubt in my mind that those who gathered to organize this great event and all those who donated to the cause will in our lifetime be “refreshed” and it may come as a cure for that dreaded disease. Yes it may come to you, me or any of our fellow men. The ancient hope of a cure is still very much alive.
Grannie Annie and I departed the scene early due to ominous storm clouds promising to rain on the event. Vain hope as those who stayed were indeed treated to wind gusts up to 40 miles per hour. None of the tents were blown down. It happened during the evening feast. Volunteers sprang forth to secure the tent sides keeping the dust out and the rain came down. Then in typical Nebraska fashion the clouds parted, the sun came out and the guests, most of whom stayed, were treated to a superb evening of music and comradery. There is no place like Nebraska!
That is how I saw it.