I have a confession to make.
My name is Amanda and I am a proud Nebraskan.
Tis true! I love where I am from. Kearney, Nebraska is special. It’s located in what the good ol’ boys would call ‘God’s Country.’
I spent my childhood and adolescent years embarrassed of my heritage. South central Nebraska? Might as well have been from Mars, if mars were a backwoods planet where all the people are uncouth and strange. I wanted nothing more than to get out, leave and fly away.
I don’t recall why this is. Nobody was proud to be from Kearney. You said you were from Nebraska with a roll of your eyeballs or a dismissive gesture. Why? Why??
Why are Nebraskans quick to reject their homeland? People from all corners of the country are fiercely proud of where they are from. Don’t believe me? Just ask a Coloradan.
Maybe Nebraska, especially the west of Lincoln portion, is not exactly cosmopolitan. But you know what? I like it that way.
I am from a one high school town that has over six major grocery stores. I have never lived on a farm, but I have driven by enough fields to appreciate a good crop when I see one. I am from a place where you can see the stars just as if you were in a planetarium. The sky is big and expressive. I didn’t deal with traffic or smog. I was never fearful of violent crime or gang members. I was taught to say hello to strangers and wave at the garbage man from your car. I love this place. I love my family. I love my friends and my dog. I love having a huge backyard and listening to cicadas on the back porch. And I absolutely LOVE hearing a train whistle as it passes through town.
I believe bigger places are waiting for me in the world. Notice how I didn’t say ‘bigger and better.’ Can it get better than here? Maybe a tie will be allowed, but my nostalgic self will never let me forget where I am from.