Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Back where I come from

Welcome to the closest thing I have to a hometown-Lance Creek. I actually grew up 25 miles north of this bustling metropolis, but it is the closest town of any kind. There is a gas station, post office, bar, elementary school, church and some oil industry stuff-basically everything necessary for life.

(Photos courtesy of my mom)

To get to the school you actually need to turn and go past the Lance Creek sign about 5 miles. What you can see in the photo is the gas station on the right with the red roof. The building further back on the right is the bar. Between the two and out of site is a post office.
There ya go, you can get a tank of fuel, mail a letter and grab a beer on your way through town (not that we act like we're from the middle of nowhere or anything)
I much prefer being affiliated with Lance Creek than the larger town (population a whopping 2,000 or so) and country seat, Lusk. There is something unique about Lusk, and after spending so much time there I still can't decide if that is a good, or a bad thing.

Now, before you start thinking Lance Creek has nothing to offer, let me make my case.
First, we have celebrities. This billboard is sitting literally on the side of the road where no one can read it without stopping. In addition to Jason Miller, we have his family, which consists of a Justen Miller, Jeff Miller and about 15 other J names.
Second, we have traffic issues. Right across from this sign is where Rex lives, along with several dozen wild turkeys, some geese, chickens, dogs and additional random bits of wildlife and domestic livestock. Once our bus ran right over one of Rex's geese. It came out the back flapping its feathers and little dirtier, but otherwise fine. The turkeys are the greatest hazard, you need good breaks if you're going to speed around Rex's corner, which most people do.
We don't have a lot of cops this far out, so the speeding thing I mentioned is fairly common. When you live over 50 miles from school you have to be innovative. What takes the non-speeder an hour to cover my brother and I could do in just over 40 minutes. So could the neighbor kids, and their parents.
We have entertainment. No-actually we don't- forget that
We do have excitement. There are floods, prairie fires, theft, people driving through that don't know how to speed properly and wreck or have issues at Rex's corner.
Perhaps topping the list is Moses (not that one, this wasn't during a flood) Moses was little off his rocker and killed a farmer in Nebraska and stole his pickup before arriving in Lusk and driving right through town with every cop in the place on high alert.
He ended up out by Lance Creek on a ranch. A father and son caught him that night. They called the cops, invited him into their home and fed him supper while waiting for the police to arrive.
Another guy (we get a lot of odd folks passing through) went missing clear out north of where I was raised. His van was found on the side a desolate road literally in the middle of nowhere. A search was conducted and he wasn't found. The following spring a rancher found him while riding.
We also have wide-open spaces, livestock, wildlife, bar fights, friendly neighbors and a great church. The school consists of a two-room building and while my brother and I attended there was an average of about 8 students total, grades k-8th.
Definitely a small, agriculture oriented community. But for being so small, the meat, wool, horse and oil products produced in northern Niobrara County are used all over the world in a variety of ways.