Monday, October 18, 2010

Lincoln, the Capitol

After a poor nights rest and not enough sleep, I decided to pass on the golf and slept 'til 10am....It was pretty chilly and windy early this morning but by Royal Dublin Golf Club standards in my teens, my dad would have thought it a glorious day. So much for that.

My friend Jan and I headed into town around noon and I was given a tour of the various neighbourhoods in Lincoln and different decades the homes were built. We went by the house where the first serial killer on record in the US killed a family of three just because he liked the car in the driveway. That was shortly after he killed his girfriend's parents and she didn't seem to mind...can't remember his name but Martin Sheen played his character in the movie "Badlands". Yes, I took a picture of the house....took a picture of Warren Buffet's house in Omaha the other day, too !

We spent most of the afternoon browsing the Nebraska Museum of Natural History. I learned a lot about the Great Plains, the Native American tribes and their migration, the railroads and there is definitely a strange feeling atmospherically here, when you realise there's no salt water for fifteen hundreds miles east or west. For someone who grew up on a small island there is a strange vortex claustrophobia about it.... I'm standing in the middle of America.

Having never visited here before it is interesting to pick up on some of the stories of the Great Depression from the locals. We have all heard of or read Steinbeck's classic "The Grapes of Wrath", which tells the story of the Jode family migrating west to California and the hardship they endured. I have met many old folks throughout my years in LA that came out on freight trains and any other way they could. But, there are the stories of those who stayed behind and stuck it out. The land was first destroyed by plouging up the prairie to grow wheat and corn , this being a Government decision only to be followed by the wrath of God with no rain for years, only wind and storms that destroyed just about everything living. I was given a book to read "The Worst Hard Time" by Timothy Egan, about the dust storms that destroyed this region in the '30's known as the Dust Bowl, parts of Texas, Oklahoma, Colorado, New Mexico, Kansas and Nebraska. The most amazing story was that of Black Sunday, April 14th, 1935, the day of the worst "duster" of them all.The storm carried as much dirt as was dug out of the earth to create the Panama Canal. The canal took seven years to dig, the storm lasted one afternoon. More than 300,000 tons of the Great Plains topsoil was airborne that day. People were hospitalised with dust pneumonia or "brown plague" they called it. They had no weather warnings in those days, can't even imagine it....Actually, the air is lovely and clean here but there is a strange almost Stephen King feel about the place.

I think I had better go to bed, I'm starting to check the backs of my hands !! Just kidding, maybe it's all the Halloween stuff here, they are very big on giant spiders hanging off the sides of their houses.

Did go to Misty's this evening and had a big end cut and a baked was very good, but my own "Prime" prime rib roast last Thanksgiving from Costco, which I dry aged for a week in my refrigerator was much better...

Tomorrow I will head southeast to Nebraska City for more exploring and then north to Omaha for the concert at Castle Barrett...until the next episode, be safe wherever you are....

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