We have been to two reunions and completed a road trip from Nebraska to NC via Chicago in the past week. We have enjoyed wonderful visits with family and friends. I sold or verified the sale of thirty books! Everywhere we went people asked me, “when is the next book coming out?” I wish I knew, but I am sure that it won’t come out until I finish the revisions and that’s where I’m stumped today. I am tired. My brain is fuzzy. I just don’t want to do anything! So, sitting next to me is what I hope is a cup of motivation, coffee!
While I wait for it to kick in, let me tell you about the discovery of Greeley, Nebraska. Oh, it’s been there a long time but it is new to us. Last summer when we traveled west with the camper trailer we found that the trailer prefered the back road highways to the interstate. When we left Broken Bow headed east we took a north-eastern route across Nebraska to Blair where we crossed the river. It was a part of Nebraska I didn’t remember seeing and it was beautiful. This year we decided to repeat the experience.
When we came to a particular Y in the road the GPS told us to turn right, but it didn’t seem correct so we turned left. The GPS was correct, but as is usually the case it wasn’t the end of the world. After all, this was an opportunity to explore another small area of Nebraska. The first town we came across was Greeley. The sign on the highway pointed right to the cluster of buildings. It declared that they had food, gas, etc. Since we needed a restroom and thought we could get gas we decided to explore. Another sign notified us that there were two churches in town, Catholic and Methodist.
Very quickly we began to see the history of the town unfolding itself. The first was Fynn’s Bar with a shamrock on the sign. When I spotted another shamrock on a building my mind started combining the puzzle pieces and came up with. . .Ta! Dah! This was a town settled by Irish-Catholic immigrants. We drove downtown, then over to the Co-op because they had a gas pump. The nice lady hurried out and told us that if we didn’t have a Cenex card she couldn’t sell us gas, but she did have a restroom. She also had homemade chocolate cake on the counter.
I asked about the Irish heritage and she smiled and nodded. “Greeley has the highest percentage of Irish per capita of any place in the United States.” With slightly less than 500 people it isn’t a huge number but the Irish have the upper hand, that’s for sure. She went on to tell us that they have an Irish Festival there every September that draws 25,000 people. They bus them in from Omaha and Lincoln and people come from all over the world. It was an amazing thought.
After leaving the Cenex Co-op we drove around a little more and found a large Catholic Church with a parish house and school. Amazing for such a small town out in the middle of no-where, so to speak. We drove away feeling like we had experienced a special connection with a special place. I hope someday we can plan a trip out there for the festival. I would love to get to know that town a little better.
If you are interested in the Greeley Irish Festival, it is happening September 18, 2010 and you can find more information at www.greeleyirishfestival.com
I don’t know where we will explore next time we travel. My grandma was right. She said she didn’t feel the need to go overseas. “There is so much of America to see why would I need to get on a plane or a boat and go across the ocean.”