Opinion

It's about community

Tuesday, September 20, 2022

Grannie Annie and I traveled to Curtis to attend their annual Harvest Festival. Curtis is a bit close to our hearts because that is where Ann and Dick first met at a 4-H Camp 70+ years ago. Then too Ann’s mom was a long-time “Boys Dorm Mother” at the Ag School there and loved the life.

First, stop the firehall for breakfast. It was a fundraiser for medical expenses for one they cared for. Pancakes, sausage and a friendly group to visit with as we ate. One was a dad from out of town with his two young sons that he home-schooled. the mom was at home with a new baby sister. Grannie loved it.

I searched out Rural Fire Chief Tim to get a tour. Things have changed/improved since this old guy served on our local Red Willow Western Rural Fire Department for a decade or so. Rural departments, contrary to our own McCook City Department tend to be all volunteer. They operate on a tight budget and are good at finding used but serviceable equipment or making up their own. Their tanker truck was a huge six-wheel former military truck outfitted with two large water tanks holding 3000 gallons. Rurals tend to be in locations without water hydrants and hence have to supply or scrounge their own. Their pumper truck had previously been used at the twin towers in New York during their disaster but refurbished still looked like new. Grass rigs were handcrafted by their crews and were four-wheel drive pickups with a modified Besler bed to include a water tank and Honda powered pump. They had also crafted a large truck mounted cargo box outfitted with communications for a command center and all sorts of tools like hydraulic jaws of life, stretchers, airbags for lifting wrecks and lots of other tools that “might come in handy”.

In my experience, pride, rural fire units are exemplary in helping at other fires near and far. Chief Tim told me that in this time of drought dry grass and crops his unit and each of his side-by-side neighboring units all three will respond whenever a call comes in. They also helped out in this spring’s fires down around Cambridge and Arapahoe. Now that is cooperation!

Our next stop was to a large quilting display in the Methodist Church. Grannie was to meet one of her Highschool best friends. Carol was a bit late due to water problems in her rural home but all the dedicated to their craft ladies were happy to visit. Ann’s mom was an avid quilter, all hand stitched, and those pieces are works of art. Oh the hours that it would take to complete one of those masterpieces. Beautiful.

The centerpiece of the morning was the traditional parade. With pride the American Legion carried the colors. Typically old guys as younger veterans don’t seem to want to join. The streets were lined with patriots who showed honor and respect which is a hallmark of the patriots that choose to live in our part of the States.

Following the honor guard came the Medicine Valley High School marching band. Sharp-looking uniforms and a flag corps behind. Obviously, the town takes pride in their band and local school. Nice touch. The rest of the parade was the usual fun collection of tractors, old cars, politicians, horse and riders, and their older and wiser Class of ’72 reunion members on a big float. As per tradition, the local fire department brought up the rear.

The City Park hosted a collection of vendors. Booths for clothing, knick-knacks, a large display of homemade baked goods and more. Food trucks too. A large screen had been set up for a crowd to watch the Nebraska vs Oklahoma game. We left by the time that it started so I wonder how much that was enjoyed!

A typical small-town celebration. Scads of volunteers made everything happen to show off their town. About every town or village in the surrounding area has a similar, but with local flavor, celebration each summer or fall to evidence pride in the town they call home. It is just fun to join in and help them celebrate whether you know anyone there or not. Typically, all are welcome and if you happen to leave a little cash behind that is also a good thing. Stratton is next on our list to attend this coming Saturday—their parade starts at 4 o’clock P.M.

Long live the Queen. About every TV program one happened to tune in, the last several days, showed the huge celebration of Queen Elisabeth II’s funeral. This old military vet is totally impressed with how well the Brits do military pageantry. No one is better in the world and this was their best of the best. It all came off perfectly. Actually, I also remember her coronation but that was by radio with short bits shown at our movie theaters. I was a bit interested at the time because the new Queen was about the same age of my oldest sister. Queen Elisabeth made her mark on the world as evidenced how even small towns like McCook flew their flags at half-staff in her honor. There will never be another like her. In my opinion, the world was blessed because of how she conducted her reign. God Save the Queen!

That is how I saw it.

Dick Trail

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