I was driving through Minatare, Nebraska, population 816, on my way back to Scottsbluff to file a story. A Nebraska State Patrol car passed me and turned around. He flicked on his lights and sirens.
Category: Stories Page 1 of 5
The lights appeared out of nowhere in my rear view mirror. “What the hell?” I said. I was driving through Banner County, Nebraska, which is all wide open plains. I somehow missed seeing the police car.
I looked down at my speedometer. 80 mph. That’s only five over the speed limit. I pulled my car over to the side of the road, turned my four-way flashers on, and grabbed my documents from the glove compartment.
I was returning from Cheyenne, Wyoming, where I had taken my Hyundai Accent in for a new clutch. The Accent made it 99,950 miles with its original clutch. The Hyundai dealership provided a loaner car until mine was fixed. I assumed something was wrong with the loaner car and that was why I was pulled over.
As a 17-year old high school senior, my English teacher, Ms. Prather, assigned me and my classmates the task of writing about our bedroom and what we saw using as many adjectives as possible. It could be real or imagined. My story was a mix of both. We were also supposed to let the details do the work – show don’t tell – through the use of metaphors and similes.
We spent a week working on the assignment before turning it in on March, 4, 1988. After working on the suggestions Ms. Prather made on my third rough draft, I was confident I would receive a good grade.
Starr stood on the edge of the field and called to her horses. She looked left, then right, then called them again. On the third call, you could see them running toward her from a great distance. With my trusty Nikon in hand, I prepared to capture the moment. As I watched the horses, partially concealed in the tall grass, gently kicking dust up into the air, I regretted not bringing my 300mm with me and regretted more that I didn’t have an even longer lens.
About a week or so before my seventh birthday, my family climbed into my grandma’s gold station wagon. We were headed out to the Fair Oaks Drive-In to see this new movie everyone was talking about. It had opened on May 25, 1977, but this was the first time my mom could take us all.
Anyone who has seen me during winter for the last three decades has likely seen me wearing my green sweater. Shortly after moving out of the dorms at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and into my first apartment, I had a conversation with my grandmother about being cold. I was on a budget and heat wasn’t high on my list of priorities. Gram wondered if I couldn’t afford to turn the heat up, why didn’t I wear a sweater. I didn’t have one. I didn’t have the money to buy one.
By the time I left her house in Middletown, New York, I had a pocket full of cash to buy a sweater of my choosing. It took months to find a sweater I liked.
There was still a little bit of light outside. I suspect in a week or two, it will be dark outside at 6 p.m. Fall is in full swing and winter is nipping at the edges of the day, anxious to arrive and take over. The temperature was in the mid-forties. I parked my car in the empty K-Mart parking lot, got out and dialed her number.
I sat on the cold, concrete parking bumper. The chill instantly went through my blue jeans. I was shaking, but I wasn’t sure if it was because of the cold or everything else.
She answered on the fourth ring.