Day 4: Start the day very worried about our cat, Karen, who ran out of the house just before we had to leave for the airport. She usually comes back eventually but not immediately so I figured she’d come in for Andrea who is looking after the animals. But messages from Andrea for the past 2 days tell us she hasn’t shown up.
Today we are going down to Lincoln so Tami can meet up with her college boyfriend, Carlton, whom she hasn’t seen in 35 years. Rather than the interstate, I like to do the blue roads, so we set off down route 77.
Anti-choice signs in cornfields are big around here. Holier-than-thou farmers’ wives have a mission which they see as saving lives but is actually just their way of being catty toward women who were getting some when they weren’t gettin’ any. The lives they purport to be saving they are actually condemning to struggle and strife because the only person who really has any control over this zygote’s fate knows full well that she can’t handle it right now and needs to wait, but can’t because these catty church ladies insist on doing everything they can to shut down every clinic and harass every doctor who would help her to exercise the control over her body that God has given her. God is not going to judge her for making the choice that is clearly the best for her family; only the church ladies are.
I’m sorry if this sounds harsh but the moral bankruptcy of the Christian Right in America is dragging this great country into the sewer. And my cat is missing.
But besides these signs, the Nebraska landscape in the drizzling rain is sublime. It’s flat, mostly, vast cornfields straddled by bug-like irrigation machines that pivot in great circles around a water pipe. Today, in the November rain, there are no machines running. The corn has been harvested and the husks are brown.
We drive through Indian reservation towns where you can get cheap cigarettes and gasoline. Right now their Water-Protector brothers are being frozen by water cannons and humiliated by tear gas up at the DAPL. The American shame just keeps coming and coming.
Each little town has a sign listing all the churches in it. A town of 500 may have ten different houses of worship. But they all get along for the most part.
We pull into Lincoln, the capital of Nebraska and a college town. A new basketball arena sits to the right and the Huskers stadium towers on the left. This state runs on Huskers football and the stadium represents it monolithically.
We go to Haymarket and meet Carlton at Laslo’s. He’s a good guy with a nice smile and a positive attitude. After a Templeton Rye, I leave them to catch up and I go off to the music stores.
In the first one, CGS Music, a sprawling independent outfit, half of which is devoted to repair and thus is strewn with myriad instruments in various states of disrepair. Of particular interest is a 7 string fretless hollow-body bass from which the bridge has detached. I would love to see this thing in all its glory. In the 2 instrument rooms there are Weissenborns, Dobros, Pipas, Charangas, Ukelele basses, and upright basses, along with the usual complement of guitars and ukes. The proprietor tells me that in the large space he has downstairs, he has different community events-a Ukelele group tonight, a blues jam tomorrow night. I tell him this is the model many independent bookstores are using now: being a community gathering place for all kinds of groups. This fosters loyalty and repeat business.
We all go out to lunch at a steak house, Misty’s, which brews its own beer. Carlton and I got ribeyes while Tami got a prime rib. While there, I got a text from Andrea saying Karen (“that slut”) returned and was fine. This picks up my spirits immensely. We drove back on the Interstate, hitting Omaha right at rush hour.
(Photo by Tami Kander)