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My parents both grew up in rural, southwestern Nebraska. They moved to the West Coast before I was even a sparkle (or short circuit) in their minds.

Since Dad was a railroader (eligible for travel passes), our family would ride the rails every summer vacation to visit the rest of the family (those childhood train-riding adventures would fill a small book!). Not many of the aunts and uncles still survive. Of the 26, only 3 are left - one had her 95th birthday last week. So, I responded to the announcement of her party with a surprise visit (I wish I could have driven my Enclave, but time didn't permit...).

My last visit had been in 2002, and prior to that, it was 1996. With 88, 89 and 95 year-old aunts, my visits will need to be more frequent.

My relatives (and I have several cousins, as well as the aunts) live mostly in the McCook-Holdrege areas of Nebraska and north-central areas of Kansas (Belleville, Clyde, Odessa). I came away with many observations of life in America's Heartland...

First, it is flat and brown. Coming from the Seattle area, flat and brown are rather shocking and dreary.

Second, time stopped moving in the 50's. I just love it! The same houses are there that I remember 50+ years ago as a child; the same stores and abandoned buildings; the same trees, railroad tracks, museums; the old, abandoned farmhouse where my Mom was born and raised; the same city parks where we held family reunions in the 50's and 60's; the same (well, maybe new ones) dead skunks on the roadways.

Third, Buicks everywhere! It seemed like every other car was a buick sedan, driven by gray- or no-haired people, probably also pushing 90. That's age, not highway speed! I chuckled to myself when I saw so many Buicks. I didn't expect, however, to see any Enclaves. In my mind, those are upscale, youthful (in spite of how many of the readers of this forum are far from youthful - including myself) autos, probably more often found at the Country Club or pricey restaurants. Was I surprised! I spotted my first one just west of Belleville, Kansas (a nice red one). Then more! In all, in five days, I saw five Enclaves - two red, a white, a sliver, and a black one. I have only seen one other in the Puget Sound area in 2+ months! (Of course, we have a large foreign luxury SUV/CUV mentality here - Lexus, Acura, BMW... - Only saw one Lexus in Heartland, and not a single MDX.)

Fourth, people wave. If you pull out in front of someone, they wave, If you let them go by first, they wave. If you move off the road a little to let a farm tractor go by, they wave. They are just plain, good, sincere, real poeple.

Fifth, just try to find a nice bottle of wine! No chance! Or a Mexican restaurant that will serve a margarita (found one - it was awful!).

All in all, it was a fabulous trip. I was so glad to see my relatives, and to see that Buick is alive and well!
 

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Great story Rocky!
Here in NJ, by contrast, builders buy 1/2 million dollar houses and tear them down,
at least 6 in my neighborhood in the last 2 years.
Oh well. I guess that's progress, if you call it that.

MRBUICK
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
MRBUICK said:
Here in NJ, by contrast, builders buy 1/2 million dollar houses and tear them down,
MRBUICK
In Clyde, KS, I have a second cousin living in a very nice, 50's home. Well kept, large, two story home. Across the street is a smaller home, but also very nicely maintained, neat as a pin, for sale. I asked him how much it would go for, expecting $110-130,000. He said "oh, about $25,000". Yep, only 3 zeros! Sheesh, I could sell my house, pay off my mortgage, write a check for that place, and live happily on my social security!

Amazing!! :eek:
 

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Hey Rocky: Thanks so much for the observances and bringing me back to some scattered memories of all you wrote about.

My first husband was from Nebraska. Back in the 60's we visited his relatives and we told them about Tacos. They wanted some. We had to drive to 2 towns, ending up with frozen tortillas, finally, so we could make some for them. Back then, in the small town of Hebron, NE, if you wanted to go into the liquor store, you went in through the back door so no one would see you and if you wanted to dance, you went to the next town. I do not make fun of these people, for they are the heartland, good Americans! I just remember their culture back then.

I guess nothing much changes, because now, my stepson, a doc freshly out of the Army, took a position at a clinic in Holton, Kansas, about 30 minutes from Topeka, which started Nov 1. He has already given them notice and is going to work in Colo Spgs, where he lives and presently commutes from there to Holten via air. He couldn't handle this little town of 4,000.

As far as waving is concerned, would you all believe that there are places in California that wave at you when you pass and also they have their rifles in their gun racks. When I visit No. Cal. where my Dad lives, people still wave at you. 30 years ago when he first moved there, everyone waved whether they knew you or not. I think they thought they knew you because the area was so lightly populated. I, too, love it.
 

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I must say I lived in Indiana for a few years and do miss the friendliness and warmth and genuine NICENESS of the people there. And when Nebraska fans came to town, they were EVEN NICER than the people in Indiana! I swear, they would give you the shirt off their back if you asked and were in need.
I remember sitting at a stoplight while a teenager was learning how to drive a stickshift...he just could not get that car to engage (or whatever a stickshift has to do to start)...and everyone just sat behind him and patiently waited...as the light changed a few times.....not one person honked or drove around him...that was when I knew I loved the Midwest! That would never happen here ;D
 

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That's why the saying goes, "There is no place like Nebraska." You won't find nicer people anywhere in the U.S.
 

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Actually im pretty sure its.. "theres no place like home" which is from the wizard of oz which means Kansas :thumb:
 

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and i love living in the midwest!!! i could not stand living in the big cities and stuff.. i was in DC just last week(first time there) and it was pretty cool but i like looking out my window and seeing nothing but grass trees and feilds and wildlife :) :)
 

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My last visit had been in 2002, and prior to that, it was 1996. With 88, 89 and 95 year-old aunts, my visits will need to be more frequent. My relatives (and I have several cousins, as well as the aunts) live mostly in the McCook-Holdrege areas of Nebraska and north-central areas of Kansas (Belleville, Clyde, Odessa).
Great yarn, Rocky. Our planned 2009 Enclave will also be used to visit my wife's aging and other relatives in NC and NW KS -- Beloit, Glen Elder, around Phillipsburg and so on. Another difference between the built-up coasts and "out thar" is that here, hardly anybody is related, whereas out there it seems like one person in ten is some sort of cousin!

In any event, the Enclave seems perfect for the vast expanses of the central Midwest; not only is it a great travel vehicle, but being GM it can be serviced nigh anywhere.
 

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rockyp , Right on and well put! When I travel to rural Forest, VA for visits, it's as you describe, Heartland America. I don't think anybody even has a 3rd, middle finger on their hands ;) What they drive, shows they remember what made us a great nation!

Living in a densely populated, suburban area, I see the sacrifices and values I hold dear, coming mostly from our "Heartland" areas. No offense, city guys/gals. JMHO of how different venues can affect peoples mindset. I give you all the credit in the world. I couldn't do it...........

The old Green Acres TV show says it best for me: ......."keep Manhattan and give me that countryside!"

THX!
 

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I absolutely agree.

I love to drive in KY: rare to use the horn and never the middle finger. Much more relaxing.

I can't say as much for the "values" here since a significant number in power are still fighting the Civil War.

TM
 

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I live in a town like you describe. Lots of Buick sedans (older) and NO ENCLAVES but mine, as of now. Everybody says hello to everybody. No traffic lights. 4 churchs and 4 bars, so far, that's a tie. One mile wide and one mile long. 8) [/color]
 
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