Wednesday, June 28, 2017
Hello there, readers of the Crow's Nest.
Seward, Nebraska is a special place. One of the most special things about it is how my grandparents, aunt, uncle, and cousins know just about everybody here. Every conversation is peppered with names that I remember from decades of stories. There are also many Czech last names with their double consonants, which are so common here and few other places in the U.S. We lived here when I was in first grade, so there are places etched into my kid-brain, like big old Seward Middle School (formerly the high school, and now a Christian community center) and the concrete path down to Plum Creek Park (where I used to dare myself to ride my bike with no brakes until once I hit a tree), and other familiar names, like that of an old friend from middle school (now a prominent real estate agent in town) and a childhood best friend (now a supremely talented photographer). It is thrilling to come back and see what people and places have "made of themselves." There are things that I miss, too. What happened to the roller rink? The Ben Franklin five-and-dime store? Why does the bandshell look so small now?
All of these changes seem so drastic, in part, because I don't get to come back and visit as much as I wish I could. We moved away when I was 11 or 12. When I do get back, the youngsters are a bit older and the oldsters are talking about their legacies.
This trip, I have especially loved hanging out with my Grandma and talking about her childhood or teenage years. We've spent a good amount of time looking through her genealogy research, which is a treat for me as a historian and as a grandchild. We also talked about cooking and Czech recipes and embroidery. I have great plans to adapt a bunch of Czech recipes to make them vegan. I have also really loved cracking jokes with Granddad (you readers already know his clever sense of humor). Seeing the unique home and garden that my Aunt Carolyn and Uncle Ben have created and curated was really cool. My cousin Julie and her husband (John) have a new house on the edge of town where their two kids (Sadie and Jack) let me chase them in their plasma cars. Special evening walks with my Dad around familiar residential streets where I used to ride my bike were a real highlight, as was a trip to Lincoln's best bookstores and coffeeshops.
But unless you know my folks, you can't have this kind of fun in Seward.
If you do get a chance to visit Seward, Nebraska, here are some things you should make sure to do:
1. Wander around the town's many beautiful parks and its historic downtown
2. Wave and say hello to everyone--it's what we do here
3. Browse Chapters bookstore on the town square
4. Eat some Mexifries at Amigos (spicy tater tots! so good!)
5. Keep an eye out for the many birds that make their homes here
6. Eat a kolache
Thanks for reading, folks!