Sunday, November 28, 2010

'Papa's Angels' - a review

I know it's a little strange to write a review of a play when there is only one performance left, but I was so saddened by what I saw tonight(Saturday, Nov. 27), that I felt I had to do something.

I estimated the Neville Center for Performing Arts was perhaps a third filled tonight. How discouraging!

The weather couldn't have been better, so what's the problem?

It's not a big-name, well-known show - at least to most of us. "Seussical," the first production of the 2010-2011 season, is a hard act to follow. "Papa's Angels" doesn't have well-known songs in it.

So, that's what it doesn't have. Here's what is DOES have: A tender story of the Jenkins family who live near Highlands, N.C., in 1935. Grins and Sharon Jenkins have five children. The story begins by showing a loving, close-knit family - which includes Grammy - full of joy and music.

Tragedy tears at the soul of the family and one wonders if the family unit will be able to survive.

Indeed, the family does survive but only after some tense and heart-wrenching moments.

Did you like "The Waltons" on TV? Then I think you would like this production. So much of the play seems reminiscent of "The Waltons."

North Platte is so fortunate to have a talented and dedicated theater group. The talent in North Platte and the area is amazing. How sad that after weeks of study and rehearsals, the actors have to perform to such small audiences!

If you have a couple hours or so this afternoon (Sunday, Nov. 28), please consider seeing this play.

The play is at 2 p.m. in the Neville Center for Performing Arts, Fifth & Dewey. I'm sure there will be seats available so just show up at the theater 20 or 30 minutes ahead of time to buy your tickets.

When the play is over and the performers come forward for the curtain call, clap loudly for them. In fact, give them a standing ovation. We did Saturday night.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

The AHA Moment

Almost every Christmas I have an "Aha moment" where I see the true spirit and meaning of Christmas shining.

Sometimes it's in a play or a song, other times it might be in an act of kindness.

Today I saw it while ringing bells for the Salvation Army in North Platte.

The day was perfect to stand at the southwest door of Walmart. Just a light breeze, a bright sun-filled sky and the temperature was very comfortable with just a light winter coat.

I greeted people with a "Hi! How are you?" and said "Thank you" and "Have a Merry Christmas" to those who stopped by to put a some change or a few dollar bills in the recognizable red bucket with the Salvation Army name on it.

A modestly dressed, short lady, leaning on her cart for support, approached our post. A child - I'm guessing a grandchild, maybe 11 years old or so, but taller than she was - accompanied her.

After receiving some money to put in the bucket, the child reached out to put the money into the "X" slots in the red bucket.

"No," the lady said. "Wait, I want you to think about what you are doing."

"They are collecting money for the Salvation Army. It helps people who may not have food to eat or don't have a good place to sleep.

"When you put the money in the bucket," she continued, "I want you to think about all you have and I want you to put the money into the bucket with gratitude."

The child nodded thoughtfully and reached over to put the money into the red bucket.

"Thank you and have a wonderful Christmas," I told the lady and child.

"Aha!" I thought to myself as they walked into the store, totally unaware of the gift they had given me for the Christmas season.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Another important vote

Ace Hardware in North Platte has six specially decorated Christmas trees inside the store at Parkade Plaza.

Decorated Christmas trees aren't unusual at this time of year, but the difference with these six trees is that they were decorated by six nonprofits in North Platte as fundraisers.

Now it's up to you to help choose the winner by putting your dollars and loose change in the bucket beside the tree you like best. There are big buckets beside the trees and when I looked the other day there wasn't a lot of money in any of the buckets.

These organizations - Rape & Domestic Abuse Program, Lincoln Connection (homeless shelter), Food Pantry, Bridge of Hope, Children's Museum, and the Lincoln County Historical Museum - have needs to be met all year long. They don't get to take a day or a week or a month off; their needs continue every day.

So do me a favor and stop in at Ace Hardware and vote with your money.

However, you'll have another chance to help these organizations. Wednesday, Dec. 1, at 1 p.m., these trees will be auctioned off, with Brad Stickelman as the auctioneer. If you don't have a tree at your office or home yet, here's your chance to have a pretty tree AND help a worthwhile nonprofit.
Lincoln Connection (homeless shelter)

Lincoln County Historical Museum

Food Pantry

Children's Museum

Bridge of Hope


I rarely read my horoscope, mainly because I don't believe in them. I think they are written by people - some may be well-intentioned - to be so general in subject that some part of the horoscope for the day could fit just about anyone's day.

However, on occasion, while I am working the crossword puzzle, I will let my eyes glance to the right a little and read my horoscope for the day.

I only remember one thing mine said for today: I should be careful because money could slip through my fingers. Hmmm, no money, no plans to shop. I should be safe on that one.

On a whim, I stopped at the Westfield SunMart and bought some food. I was chatting with the clerk and took out a dollar bill to pay for my purchase when it was my turn. The customer ahead of me and the clerk and I were talking about a recent fire in North Platte, when the customer told me "you dropped your money."

I looked on the floor and couldn't see my dollar bill, but then looked behind me and it had fluttered a foot or so back of me. As I bent down to pick it up, I had to chuckle. I guess this was one time the horoscope did get it right.

As I chuckled, I explained to the clerk about my horoscope.

"Well, now that I've let money slip through my fingers, I guess I don't have to worry about it for the rest of the day," I told her smugly.

I got out coins to finish paying for my purchase.

I reached out to hand her the 60 cents - two quarters and a dime. A quarter slipped from my hand and landed on the counter.

I'm glad to report I've had no further incidents with money slipping through my fingers. Of course, I haven't bought anything else either.

Monday, October 25, 2010

"Heaven is for Real" - a review

Editor's note: The book is available on and may be available in Christian bookstores within the next week or so.

A little boy, a few weeks shy of his fourth birthday at the time, has given a glimpse into Heaven to answer that age-old question: What is Heaven really like?

Colton Burpo of Imperial was on a roller coaster of being ill, then better, then ill again. By the time he reached Great Plains Regional Medical Center, Colton was in serious condition. Dr. Timothy O'Holleran performed emergency surgery to remove Colton's appendix, which had probably ruptured five days earlier, and had abscessed.

During Colton's surgery, his father, Todd, pastor of Crossroads Wesleyan Church in Imperial, was in a small room in the hospital alternately praying desperately for his son to live and crying out in frustration and anger to the God he so faithfully served.

When Colton's father and mother, Sonja, saw him right after the surgery, Colton looked at his father and said, "Daddy, you know I almost died."

Little did Todd know that was the first glimpse of things to come in the weeks and months ahead.

The book, written by Todd Burpo with Lynn Vincent, presents glimpses of the mystery of Heaven through Colton's own words. Much of what Colton tried to describe were of things for which he did not yet know the correct words.

Over the next months, Colton tells his father and mother about talking to family members who had died long before Colton was born. He gave details he could have learned through no other means than actually seeing and talking to them.

He doesn't tell his experience all at once, but in bits and pieces, sometimes - no, often - taking his parents by surprise with the depth and passion of his revelations.

Colton's story is amazing and to tell you any more would spoil the book for you.

His story rings true. It's told with the innocence of a child who accepts whole-heartedly with faith that what he experienced is real.

As you read Colton's story, you'll believe also. If you ever had any doubts about God and Jesus and Heaven, you'll dismiss those doubts.

Colton means it - and so will you - when he affirms: Heaven is for Real!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010


Red Cross Blood Drive

Friday, Oct. 1

12:30-6:30 p.m.

B & McDonald
North Platte

Open to the Public
Walk-ins will be accepted
but appointments are preferred

Call 308-520-3614 to make an appointment

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Raising the Woof

PAWS-itive Partners Humane Society is spearheading the drive to help raise $15,000 towards construction of a quarantine area at the North Platte Animal Shelter. The cost is $12 and all shirts are white with black lettering. Cash donations are also being accepted and can be sent to PPHS, P.O. Box 1145, North Platte, NE 69103.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Storm clouds overhead

Fast-moving clouds sped past the caboose where I work. They didn't look the best but nothing came from them.

I really do hate summer storms. I imagine it comes from the years on the farm when I was a little girl and trips to the cellar were not drills but to get away from the real thing - tornadoes!

My dad always watched the clouds and told us when to head for the cellar, which was maybe 150 feet from the house. The only problem was that Dad waited until the storm was there and THEN told us to head for the cave. Many times we made it just as the storm was hitting.

One night Mom and Dad yelled up the stairs for my brother and me to get downstairs immediately. As we ran down the stairs we could hear the roar of a tornado and bricks from a chicken house in the yard were slamming against the side of the house. The house wasn't damaged that much but a brick chicken house that had been described as indestructible was leveled and bricks were found more than a mile away. I don't remember what happened to the chickens, but I suspect they didn't fare very well.

I can tolerate summer storms a lot better if I am at home and in my basement. My house is old but it is built solid and it takes a tremendous storm for me to feel it.

Luckily for me, storms in this area usually happen after 7 or 8 p.m., so I've been home an hour or two before the storms hit. The other day, though, storms moved through about 3 or 4 p.m. The clouds looked threatening but I counted only 5 raindrops on the caboose window.

Much ado about nothing.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Two photos and a rant

Two volunteers outstanding in their field.
OK, dumb joke, but that's what came to mind when I saw these two corn stalks towering over a field of soybeans.

This little fellow lives somewhere around the caboose/tourist information center where I am working this summer. Every afternoon he ventures out to nibble some tender blades of grass. He blends in quite well, doesn't he? He doesn't let me get very close, so thank goodness for a camera that lets me zoom in on him.


THE RANT: About 7:15 p.m. yesterday I was at the grocery store. According to the thermometer on my car it was 88 degrees outside.

When I came out of the store, there was a van two cars down from me and inside were two dogs. The one may have been a bulldog cross and the other was a beautiful German shepherd puppy, maybe 6 or 7 months old.

The owner had left the driver and passenger windows down about 7 inches or so. Both dogs had their noses out the open windows. Can you imagine how hot it was inside that car?

I sat and watched as people came out of the store with their packages.

Surely it was these two teenagers who had so thoughtlessly put their pets in danger. No, they walked right on by.

A disheveled man with a scruffy beard came out of the store. It had to be his dogs. No, he walked on by, too.

The well-dressed woman didn't look like she would be carrying dogs around in her car and certainly not exposing them to the heat. I was right. She walked on by.

One of my purchases had been a bag of ice cubes, so while I waited and watched, I found a pair of pliers in my car and picked up an ice cube (I wasn't sure if they were friendly or not). I tried to give it to the dog through the window. The boxer took a few licks but didn't offer to take it. The puppy would have taken it but I couldn't reach him in the back seat.

After 20 minutes I decided to drive around the store and keep returning until I could see the dogs were OK. I actually considered calling the police, but I didn't.

As I was driving off, a middle-aged woman came out with her cart full of groceries and began putting them in the back of the van. I wanted to confront her, but I also didn't want to create a scene in a public place.

I do, however, have the name of the ball team her daughter (or granddaughter) plays on and her son's name and what soccer team he is on. I'm not psychic - there were stickers on the back window.

According to an article on

Leaving your dog in the car during the summer (even when it doesn't seem all that hot to you) is similar to putting your dog inside of an oven! Seriously. The temperatures heat up so quickly that your dog becomes completely helpless when trapped inside the car on a hot day.

Believe it or not, leaving the windows partially open is NOT enough. Parking in the shade WON'T keep the car cool enough either.

They sweat differently too. Dogs sweat by panting and by sweating from their paws. However, a dog trapped in a hot car cannot effectively rid its body of enough of the heat by panting and sweating -- simply because there's not enough cool, fresh air to replace the heated, stale air.

You can read the complete article here:

If you are going to be getting out of your vehicle for even a few minutes in the heat of summer, please, please leave your dogs at home.

Monday, July 26, 2010

One Bite at a Time

One Bite at a Time

by The FlyLady, Marla Cilley

It is so much easier to clean in a room without clutter.

Don't get overwhelmed by all the clutter; it only takes 15 minutes a day over what you do in your routines. I know you don't think this is going to work, but I promise that those 15 minutes of concentrated decluttering every day will make a difference in your home and your attitude. It is the consistency of eating the elephant one bite at a time that will slowly make the whole elephant disappear.

I have a story to tell you about my Sweet Darling. He is the king of the one-bite rule. Several years ago he had a British sports car, an MG. In fact, the car was always being worked on. After a minor car accident, the MG was totaled. So he bought a second car the same model for parts. He is pretty good at fixing anything. It took both cars to keep just one running. He was left with only the stripped-down parts car.

Over an entire summer, he systematically cut that car (with a hack saw) into dinner-plate-sized parts and sent it to the landfill one plate at a time. It was his goal to do something to dismantle this car each day. At the end of the summer he was finished. It was almost therapy for my sweetie: the car had betrayed him. That car was a pain and he got rid of it one bite at a time. Beware of the anger of a patient man.

The reason I mentioned this story, is because in our impatience to see our homes clean, we overdo. Then we get overwhelmed and we QUIT.

I want you to do a little every day and not crash and burn. BabySteps, 15 minutes of decluttering and consistency will be the keys to your clean home and your peace. If you are not being consistent with your routines, even small ones, then you are not going to have your goal of a clean and peaceful home.

This hit-and-miss attitude is what got your home in a mess to start with. You clean like a banshee for two days because of guests, and then when they leave, you let things go to pot because you are worn to a frazzle.

This has got to stop. I want you to enjoy your home, your family and your guests. You can't do this if you are exhausted. I want your pledge to stop "crisis cleaning"; that you will commit to doing your routines DAILY, and that you will spend 15 minutes decluttering each day.

I am not the drill sergeant that many of you think I am. I don't spend all day cleaning. Even when I was decluttering I only did 15 minutes a day. I used the 27 Fling Boogie to declutter our home. It was almost as if I didn't clean at all. After three months of decluttering every day and doing my routines, our home became a paradise, instead of the pig sty that is was.

Every morning I walk into a clean and shining home and it is still a big shock and a GO ME moment for me. I walk into my clean kitchen and just smile. Some of you know what I am talking about. It is a pleasure to not be greeted by mystery water and yesterday's dirty dishes that make you feel like you are behind before you even make your coffee.

I want you to smile when you walk into your kitchen each morning. Visualize your clean and peaceful home. Let go of your perfectionism and impatience and take babysteps. You can do this if you will just eat this elephant one bite at a time.

For more help getting rid of your CHAOS, check out her website and join her free mentoring group at or her book, Sink Reflections published by Bantam and her New York Times Best Selling book, Body Clutter published by Fireside. Copyright 2010 Marla Cilley

Thursday, July 8, 2010

20th Century Veterans' Memorial

The entrance to the 20th Century Veterans' Memorial looks interesting, perhaps it could be described as impressive.

But it is through the words and raw emotions of the veterans who stop to tour the memorial that you finally see the true heart of the memorial.

The memorial is the highlight of the little park where I spend several afternoons a week, visiting with travelers in the caboose tourist information center. It is directly across the dirt road in front of the caboose.

People from all over come and go all day into the evening hours. Some will stop at the caboose to tell of their delight in finding such a beautiful memorial tucked away in North Platte.

Others express their joy at finding memorial bricks of loved ones, while others share their pain and sorrow in finding the brick honoring a fallen comrade or relative.

Whatever emotion is released, their heartfelt message is always the same: "Thank you for building this memorial."

As tourists get out of their cars, the first thing they see is the larger-than-life sculpture "Defenders of Liberty," by North Platte artist Ted Long. The six bronze statues on either side of the walkway depict the military service of men and women during the Twentieth Century. Most of the statues are by North Platte artist, Ted Long, a Korean War veteran, North Platte. Following Long's death, Sandra L. Johnson of Cambridge made the last two or three sculptures.

A closer view of the bronze group statue, "Defenders of Liberty."

The south wall of the memorial is a remarkable brick bas-relief mural by Images in Brick of Denton, Nebraska. It measures 15 by 40 feet and represents the five major conflicts of the Twentieth Century. There are two side panels (not pictured) that honor five major ethnic groups and the women who served in the military during the Twentieth Century. It is amazing when you consider that this wall was made of separate bricks in Denton, shipped to North Platte and then built on the site.

If you are headed down Interstate 80 through Nebraska, please stop at Iron Horse Park in North Platte and walk through the memorial. When you see the thousands of names etched on "bricks" lining the walkway, you'll be so thankful for their service to our country.

(Photos are continued in the next four files)

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

20th Century Veterans' Memorial

The Canteen lady's basket of goodies.

This is Rae Wilson, founder of the North Platte Canteen. This is worthy of a blog post all its own so I'll just introduce her here and will tell you more about her and the canteen in another post.

20th Century Veterans' Memorial

(Continued)World War II Army Air Corps

U. S. Navy

Nebraska Army Medical Corps

(continued in next file)

Veterans' Memorial in North Platte

Three more of the individual sculptures at the Veterans' Memorial
Marine Corps
Coast Guard


Tuesday, July 6, 2010

My view from the caboose

I can watch the strength of the wind as it blows this flag that is across the highway from the Union Pacific caboose where I am working this summer. As you can tell, there was a slight breeze Friday when I took this photo.

On the other side of the caboose is Interstate Lake. A lot of people fish at this lake, and quite a few bring their dogs for some water fun. It is surprisingly shallow in some spots. A water polo club meets there on Thursday evenings.
So now you have seen my view from the caboose to the west and the east. Tomorrow I'll try to write about the view across the street from the caboose. It is most beautiful and moving.

Friday, July 2, 2010


Grandson Chris, 11, had the misfortune to be involved in a fireworks accident a few days ago.

He was visiting a friend, planning to stay overnight. The two boys were lighting some small fireworks - I'm not sure of the name of this particular one but they whirl around and around, shooting sparks out as they whirl. Sometimes they hop up and down or move forward as they whirl. As fireworks go, this is a fairly innocent item when used properly.

Chris' friend's grandfather was supervising the boys closely. They were standing away from the fireworks. They were handling the fireworks responsibly.

In other words, they were following all the rules and doing everything exactly right.

However, after lighting this particular item, it took off, flew up and hit Chris in the neck. He grabbed it to get it off his neck and in the process he also burned his right hand.

This could have been so much worse. The fireworks could have hit him in the face or eyes, or it could have become lodged under his shirt, so there is much for which to be thankful.

This truly was an accident. There was no neglect, no disregarding the safety rules, the boys had perfect supervision - and yet it still happened. There is always that unknown factor that cannot be controlled: Was there a slight wind gust that blew the fireworks toward him? Did it hit a rock that tilted it toward him? There's no way to know exactly why the accident happened.

There are, however, some things you can do to better your chances of avoiding a fireworks accident.

1. Read all instructions on all fireworks and know and understand how they are to be used. Do not use them in any way other than instructed.

2. This is sort of a DUH! - Do not smoke while handling fireworks.

3. Always use fireworks in an open area.

4. Check on the wind direction and speed. Another DUH! - Don't set off fireworks in strong winds.

5. Have a bucket of water close by and/or have the garden hose turned on and readily available in case something goes astray. It wouldn't hurt to have a fire extinguisher handy either.

6. Do not put fireworks, like fountains, on grass. If you must put it on a lawn, first lay down a piece of plywood.

7. Do not wear loose clothing. One person told me she knew of an incident where some fireworks went up under someone's blouse. You may think it sounds funny - until it happens to you.

8. Wear non-flammable clothing such as cotton. Never wear clothing made from nylon or polyester (I'm guessing these products might melt onto the skin if hit by burning fireworks). Always wear long pants and always wear shoes - no flip-flops, no sandals.

9. Wear safety glasses or goggles. Regular glasses provide little or no protection.

10. For years we thought sparklers were the proper fireworks for our small children. Who knew they burn as hot as 2,000 degrees F.? We were very lucky they never suffered anything more than a burned finger tip.

11. NEVER attempt to relight duds. Wait 30 minutes and then drop them into a bucket of

12. Another DUH! moment: Never dispose of the duds in your fireplace or a bonfire.

Follow all the safety rules you can find, including those that come with the fireworks. However, understand that even then you may have a freak accident and get hurt.

Finally, perhaps the best advice is to forego the fireworks at home and go to displays put on by organizations or companies.

Have a happy Fourth of July -- and a very safe one.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Cody Park animals

I'll leave it to the animal experts to come up with the identity of these animals. The park has the animals listed on signs on the fences but the gnats and mosquitoes were so bad I wasn't going to try to find the information. The animal above is the mother of the baby shown below I would guess. Anyway, she was quite protective as I was taking the photos.

A real cutie

You might think they are up to their necks in cool water, and you'd be correct. It was about 98 degrees yesterday, so they probably were cooling off. Perhaps more importantly, the flies, gnats and mosquitoes were enough to drive anyone/anything crazy. Standing in the water eliminates some of the area the bugs can get to on the animals.
If you haven't been to Cody Park, stop out. It's nice especially in the evenings, when the rides are going for the children and the snack stand has its delicious soft-serve ice cream available!

South Platte River June 28

Just goes to show how much difference a week or so can make in a river. I rather liked it running full.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Golf Courses and Rivers

So what DOES happen when you build a golf course along a river?

Most of the time, not a single thing. Most years the South Platte River trickles along lazily to the point you would almost have to work hard to find a place deep enough to get your ankles wet, I'd reckon. However, once in every 12 to 20 years you get a wet year, like this year, and that's when boundaries between the river and the golf course get a little blurred.

Speaking of blurred, this next picture is a little blurry but I included it anyway to show you how full the South Platte River is right now. I even saw someone canoeing on the river a couple days ago.

The picture below is on the southeast corner of the golf course.

More standing water on Iron Eagle Golf Course. It is rather pretty though, with the trees' reflections, isn't it?

And yet more standing water. If you look back of the trees and the grassy area, you can see just a tiny bit of the river showing.

You know, I look at all that standing water and I wonder how many and what size mosquitoes are going to be hatching out there.
However, the mosquito problem is a topic for another day. Just be sure to wear repellant, and wear long sleeves and long slacks - forget the stylish shorts and sleeveless tops.

Worth Reading

What, you might ask, do those who write blogs read? Other blogs, of course.

Here are four I read fairly regularly, or as often as they post.

Meredith writes The Ryan Files. Meredith's son has autism and she blogs about the small triumphs and joys in Ryan's life, but she also blogs about the frustrations of everyday life with Ryan. I do not know anyone with autism or whose child has autism, so I can understand only superficially. Meredith writes beautifully and honestly. I always come away from reading her blog having learned something new, and to celebrate tiny successes and achievements, no matter what the potential level.

* * * * * * *

What happens once you enter that stage of life known as "middle age"? Sometimes a person drops into a deep depression, or goes the other direction and lives as if there is no tomorrow. Others may get back into the work force now that their children are grown and out on their own, or they may throw themselves into volunteer work. J.R. Davis tries to blog through all that, and more. It's a new blog, and easy reading.

* * * * * * *
Muriel, who works at the North Platte Convention and Vistors Bureau, writes beautifully about the southwest/western part of Nebraska. Of course, much of what she writes has to do with events that are taking place at the time. The link above takes you to the Buffalo Bill rodeo and gives you a photo tour of a top-notch rodeo during NEBRASKAland Days. Tomorrow she may be blogging about wild flowers or making homemade bread. It's always a surprise, but it's also always interesting.

* * * * * * *
Jo is a newbie to blogging, but she does it so well I hope she continues. Jo is a member of PAWS-itive Partners Humane Society in North Platte and is one who doesn't just talk, but also puts her heart into action. Jo's speciality seems to be taking in abandoned, pregnant female dogs and helping them get through the birth of their puppies right up to the time the pups are old enough to be sent to their new fur-ever homes. Jo's love and compassion for abandoned and abused dogs shines throughout her blogging and you can't help but smile at some of her stories.

* * * * * * *
I hope you'll take a look at these blogs. I think they are worthwhile reading.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Secret Shopper

I wish I could have been a secret shopper this afternoon (Sunday, June 20).

I stopped at a favorite fast-food place for a sandwich. A man and his son, maybe 10 or 11, were ahead of me. The father held up a small electronic item - maybe a DVD player - and asked if there might be some place they could recharge the battery. He said he had looked in the dining room and couldn't see any outlets.

The young clerk looked at him rather blankly and said she didn't think there were any outlets in the dining room (remember, the father had just said there were not).

The father took it a step further. He nodded toward an outlet on the wall behind the clerk. There wouldn't be any place like that where we could plug this in, he asked.

Obviously what he was trying to do was give this teenager the hint that she could plug the item into that unused outlet.

She looked at the outlet as though seeing it for the first time. No, she repeated to the father, there are no outlets like that in the dining room.

The father looked at his son and said, "Sorry, Son, I guess we won't be able to charge this here."

Same restaurant maybe 2 minutes later, another man is talking to the cashier about what items came with the meals.

"Is there anything else you want on this?" another clerk asked the customer in what I would describe as a rather soft voice. He did not hear her as he was engrossed in his conversation with the cashier.

"Is there anything else you want on this?" the clerk asked him again. The man still had not heard her.

The clerk just shoved the order over to the cashier.

In less than five minutes, two clerks had failed to provide good service to customers. I'm quite certain the one who wanted to charge the battery on his son's electronic item was a tourist. The other customer probably was also as there were mostly out-of-state vehicles in the parking lot.

What do you think these customers will say about the service in this food establishment?

In connection with my job at the tourism caboose, I was required to complete the "Red Carpet Service."

This is an educational program that helps people who are on the front line - often service staff in restaurants, motels and hotels, and clerks in stores - learn how to promote tourism, identify and respond to traveler needs, and promote their community in a positive way.

The best way to drive tourists (and their dollars) away is to respond to their question of what there is to do in your town by saying in a monotone voice, "There's nothing to do around this place."

Let's go back to the first clerk. When the father asked if there was an outlet to charge his son's electronic toy while they ate their lunch, the clerk could have said, "I'd be glad to plug it in back here for you. We aren't using the outlet at the moment."

My guess is the father and son would have left the place with a charged battery and smiles on their faces and only kind words for the people they found in North Platte.

With the second customer, the clerk rudely tried to interrupt his conversation with the cashier. Not only that, but she did not speak up in a slightly more assertive voice when there was a break in the conversation.

She could have just as easily taken two steps to the left so she was directly in front of the customer and spoken louder and more clearly, "Would you like anything else on this?"

Employers, who have employees dealing with the public, should make sure their employees understand how the dollars tourists spend contribute to the local economy - including THEIR wages.

Little of This, Little of That

The Sower
This balloon is "The Sower," a replica of a sculpture that sits atop the Nebraska Capitol dome. The sculpture was completed in May 1930 by Lee Lawrie. It was raised to the Nebraska Capitol dome April 24, 1930. The bronze sculpture weighs more than 9 tons and stands 400-plus feet above the ground.

The Nebraska Humanities Council annually honors individuals, institutions, businesses and communities with Sower Awards. These awards are for contributions to public understanding of the humanities in Nebraska.

The Hub Bar float was a-smokin' and a-smellin' for quite a ways before it arrived in front of the crowd. Turned out the float wasn't on fire, just a smoking kettle.

However, if the Hub Bar float had been on fire, it would have been handy to have North Platte's new ladder truck available.

Politicians always like to make it to the parade

There Were Horses Of Course

No parade is complete without horses and rodeo queens.

A beautiful Morgan horse.

A Logan County queen representative waves to her fans.

A parade in western Nebraska isn't complete unless it has horses and a stagecoach.

Youth on Parade

Like hundreds of other youngsters along the parade route, this youngster picks up candy thrown by the parade participants.

There were drill teams....


and more dance teams.... plus bands.