Life in the Burg: “Nebraska Summer” Vol. 2 Art. 7
Step outside early in the morning and you can almost taste the pollen hanging in the air. You never really know if you’re going to walk into a coolness that subtly reminds you that fall is on its way, or if you’ll be greeted by the stickiness that defines a Nebraska summer.
This time of year, the pulse of the community is heard even more so than seen. Mowers, trimmers and shredders take over the daytime hours while bass-thumping, slow-cruising cars and shrieking children are heard late into the night. It’s an energy that pulls just about everyone outside.
Like most people, this is also the time of year for traveling to see family or vice versa. Last week, friends and family made their annual trek to visit us in Petersburg. This was the first time they came for an entire weekend—Friday through Sunday. I should have known better but I momentarily feared that they would be bored after the first day and begin to wonder why we live here. However our guest from Omaha approached me on Saturday morning with a very different perspective. She said that coming here, even if it’s only once a year, is a great reminder of what she doesn’t necessarily have in a larger community.
“You know everyone, which is actually refreshing to me. There’s always someone to visit with and to ask for help if you need it. That has to be comforting.”
It took me a moment to respond. There are times that knowing everyone and hearing things that you don’t necessarily want to hear can be overwhelming. But she was right. That stuff can easily be ignored and even laughed off. Knowing the people in your community, and their children, is a good thing. In a world where relationships are becoming defined by social media platforms, it’s nice to know that we can still rely on walking over to the neighbors or across town when we need something.
Summer camps and activities are another reminder of this. Everyone is invited and children of all ages have no trouble playing together. When it comes to swimming lessons, the bus no longer loads up and hauls the Petersburg kids to Elgin but that same sense of community among our children lives on. Like their parents and grandparents, they’d go to bat for one another in a heartbeat.
While no community is perfect, knowing one another and working together seems to be rubbing off our children—and that’s somehow very comforting.