Featured post

Chaos Explained

This page is a combination of three blogs. This is where they all live, not necessarily in harmony, since they are all listed in the order that I posted them on this homepage rather than any sort of order that makes sense.

Blog 1 I currently write a weekly library column for a paper which, I have been told, has 151 subscribers. I know my mom reads the column, and sometimes dad does, but I want some more exposure. If you are here for the library stuff, I recommend clicking on the Library Column tab.

Blog 2 Presumably I will have something to write about that is not library-related. It will be posted under the Personal Blog tab.

Blog 3 I started a blog in 2007 on a wonderful site called Xanga. Xanga went broke in 2013 because they grew too fast and weren’t prepared, either financially or technologically. I no longer have access to edit the site where the posts are languishing, but I can repost my archived blogs. I am going to pick through the backlog and post what I believe is still of general interest.

As a stay-at-home mom, I had three kids and nearly four. For privacy reasons, I called my kids by their middle names. I am planning to fix that as I post them here, but I may miss a few instances. I miss the babies, but not the husband of those days. If you are here to walk down memory lane and marvel that my children have survived their childhood, this is your place. Click on the Archived Blog tab for peek into the unraveling mind of a woman who preferred reading to housework.

Library and Information Studies

When I tell people that I am working on my Master’s Degree in Library and Information Studies (MLIS) I hear, “I didn’t know that was a thing!” Actually, larger libraries require a master’s degree for most full-time positions.

The State of Nebraska does not require that a director of a library the size of Gering’s Public Library have a library degree. Scottsbluff’s library, however, is large enough that the director must have an MLIS for the library to be state certified.

I am attending the University of Wisconsin at Madison (the other UW) and if all goes well, I will graduate in December. Colorado, Missouri, Kansas, Texas, and many other nearby states have library schools, but the University of Nebraska does not. I’m taking classes online, which was a learning experience in itself. I chose Wisconsin because the classes are entirely online and I can watch the recorded lectures when I have time.  

UW requires everyone in the MLIS program to take three particular classes. They can choose electives in their specific interest for the rest of their classes. In the first class we learned organizing and searching information. The second class focused on social, ethical and legal issues surrounding information. I am currently taking the third required class which covers research for library professionals.

The MLIS candidates at UW also have to complete an internship in another library. I worked for the Western Library System, a state entity with the purpose of supporting libraries in Western Nebraska. During my internship I updated their website then developed guides to help area librarians do things like start book discussion groups.

I took an elective class called Collection Development that focused on how to select books for the library. When someone complains that a book in the library offends them, I think to myself, “I often choose books for the library that offend me, because other people want to read them.” A library should provide information to everybody, not just the people you agree with.  They say a good library has something that will offend everyone. 

One of my favorite classes was Genealogy. I chose to research a family friend’s background and I learned some interesting things about how to look for your ancestors. For assignments, the professor pretended we worked in a library and “asked” us to find out about her family. Historical records aren’t always accurate, and the instructor found confusing information for us to learn from. One of the challenges was how to find the right person among misspelled last names, like Diffenderfor and Deffenderfer.

After taking a class called The Public Library, I developed the Adult Learners at the Library (ALL) program. I had been tossing the idea around for seven or eight years, but I was unsure how to take the first step. After taking this class, I realized how I could make it work. A big part of it was just stepping out into the unknown and trying.

I’ve taken a variety of electives in topics like Budgeting, Grant Writing, and Services to a Diverse Population. Unfortunately, I will graduate before I can take all the classes I would like to. I plan to see what Madison’s policy is on graduates auditing classes, so I can keep learning. The more you learn, the more you realize how much you don’t know.

The Women of Chateau Lafayette by Stephanie Dray

“The Women of Chateau Lafayette” (2021) by Stephanie Dray follows three women through four wars. One thread that connects the novel’s characters is Chavaniac, or the Chateau Lafayette, the marquis de Lafayette’s childhood home. Another thread is the women’s commitment to Lafayette’s ideals of freedom. The three women of Chateau Lafayette include Adrienne, a noblewoman, Beatrice, a former dance-hall girl, and Marthe, an orphan.

Adrienne and Gilbert Lafayette married in 1774 when she was 14 and he was 16 years old. Three years later, a pregnant Adrienne sent her husband to fight in the American Revolutionary War. While in America, Lafayette made a name for himself as a hero. He then brought his ideals of freedom for everyone to France where they were met with mixed results. Dray’s book then follows Adrienne through the turmoil of the French Revolutionary period.

Socialite Beatrice Astor-Chandler worked to support France before the U.S. entered WWI. She used her connections to raise large amounts of money to purchase supplies for the French soldiers. Eventually she and her husband purchased Chavaniac, turning it into an orphanage.

Marthe was raised at the Chavaniac orphanage during the latter part of WWI, then went on to teach at the orphanage. She used her artistic talents to make her corner of France a better place in spite of WWII and the Nazi presence in France.

If you don’t like reading a book that moves through different time periods, this is not the book for you. The chapters are short, and rotate through each woman. Sometimes the women are tackling similar issues through the rotation, including relationship trials and facing down enemies. Each woman has her own distinct personality. 

I found all three of the women’s stories equally interesting, so I didn’t enjoy one storyline more than another. However, I did read “The Women of Chateau Lafayette” with a Wikipedia tab open. I discovered Chavianic is a real place, and further explored the history of some of the more remarkable characters.   

The author was kind enough to include an Author’s Note explaining which characters were real (most of them were), and which events actually happened. “As in all my historical novels, the most outrageous bits are true,” says Dray.

I would recommend “The Women of Chateau Lafayette” by Stephanie Dray to anyone who enjoys women-centric historical novels, particularly those that happen during war-time. You can find this title at the Gering Public Library on the shelf next to “America’s First Daughter” which Dray wrote about Patsy Jefferson Randolph. Dray joins a number of authors writing about women during war-time, including Lauren Willig, Martha Kelly, and Kate Quinn.

Read With Jenna Jr.

Have you noticed that most libraries across the U.S. have the same summer reading program theme? Each year the Collaborative Summer Library Program (CSLP) choses a theme, then develops artwork and programming suggestions that support the theme. This year’s theme is “All Together Now.” “All Together Now” makes me think of music, but this open-ended theme allows us to include community helpers and art into our programming as well as other fun topics like friendship. 

Living up to their name, the CSLP collaborated with Jenna Bush Hager as a celebrity partner this year. Hager hosts a book group with NBC’s “Today Show.” Hager talks about how reading to her children, or with them, encourages them to continue learning through the summer. 

“I’m so excited to be partnering with CSLP to promote summer reading! I come from a long line of book lovers (my mom was a librarian!). Summer nights, cuddled up with my mom or grandmothers and a book are some of my most precious memories. I can’t wait to encourage other kids to do the same– to dig into the pages of their first chapter book, get lost in a picture book or pick up their first earlier reader and let their imaginations take them away!

All Together Now is a beautiful testament to what I hope books can do for us all: connect and encourage acceptance of many different types of people.

I’m so happy that Read With Jenna Jr and CSLP are partnering for the summer to encourage kids to check out a book and start reading! I’m honored to be this year’s Reading Champion and promise to encourage library visits and beach reading, all summer long!

As we read All Together Now this summer, I know we can help shape strong, empathetic young readers!!”

A Litter-ary Opportunity

When I was a kid, my dad would drop my brother and me off at the top of the hill by our house with a couple Jirdon feed bags and have us pick up litter while we were waiting for a cattle truck. We would fill the bags on the way down the hill, picking up everything from pop bottles to diapers.

According to the “Star Herald,” tourism to the Scotts Bluff National Monument in 2022 added $15 million to our local economy and supported 179 local jobs. This number probably overlaps a little with other tourism opportunities like Oregon Trail Days, or the High Plains (Rat Rod) Riot. With local stops on the Nebraska Passport and other promotions throughout Scotts Bluff County, a lot of visitors drive through our area.

Chasing balloons or bikes or ball players brings a lot of families to our community. What nicer way to greet our visitors than with clean roadsides? This would further show off our beautiful landscape for travelers as well as residents.

If you are interested in picking up some litter on your daily walk, you can check out a litter kit from the Gering Library. Each kit contains a bucket, some bags, gloves, a very fashionable safety vest, a scale, and a litter-picker-upper stick. 

If you would like to make a longer term commitment to a cleaner Scotts Bluff County, you can contact Keep Scottsbluff Gering Beautiful (KSGB) and they will set you up with a highway to keep clean. The director, Cassidy Baum, can be reached at 308-632-4649 for more information. KSGB will even pay you to do it!

A group I belong to recently adopted a highway on the edge of town, and we went out to pick up litter last weekend. We walked half of our designated road before we called it a day. Nine volunteers spent three and a half hours picking up over 400 pounds of litter. It had been a while since this stretch of road was cleaned up, and it was a mess. We picked up tires, an entire set of clothing, home decor, drug paraphernalia and an air-pistol, along with hundreds and hundreds of little shooter alcohol bottles. 

On a side note, I did some research and discovered that most of these tiny bottles of “Fireball” sold in gas stations are not actually Fireball Cinnamon Whiskey. They are labeled to mislead people into buying a malt liquor beverage rather than the original distilled spirit. Either way, these companies are making a killing and should be ashamed of the behavior of their consumers.

I grew up in the days of Woodsy Owl, who said “Give a hoot – don’t pollute!” I think it was more the experience of dad making us pick up litter than the spokes-owl, but this weekend reinforced my determination to not contribute to garbage in our ditches. I encourage you to take advantage of our litter pick-up kits and keep Scotts Bluff County beautiful.

Libraries are for Everyone

With a lot of help from Captain Jason Rogers

Years ago, I worked in the Scottsbluff library. I remember one winter when a family of children would come in right after school every day and stay until we closed the building. They would head off into the dark on foot when we locked the doors at 7:00. I think there were about four of them, the oldest being middle school aged. They were nice kids, and well-behaved. 

Suddenly, those kids quit closing down the library every day. In fact, they quit coming in altogether. Shortly after this I remember reading in the paper that a woman had died and left behind four children with the same names as these kids. I don’t know how the kids were spending their nights, but they spent their evenings through supper-time in the warmth of the library.

People use libraries in different ways. Some people are here to check out items to use at home, others come to use the wifi or printing equipment, and some to read the newspaper. Others use libraries as a means to keep in touch with what is going on around them. Some people come to the library because they feel it’s a safe space, and others because it’s temperature controlled, and out of the elements.

People find themselves without a home for a variety of reasons. Some reasons may make sense to us, and other reasons may leave us scratching our heads. Economic changes, abusive home situations, substance abuse, and untreated mental health illness are common circumstances that lead a person to become homeless. According to statistics from the National Alliance to End Homelessness, on any given night over 2,200 Nebraskans are homeless. If you look further into these numbers, you will see that 6% are veterans, and 5% are people under age 25.  

These numbers don’t account for the many people who have insecure housing, or live in their vehicles. Examples of insecure housing are a person living in a camper on another person’s property or frequently staying at different people’s homes (commonly referred to as couch surfing). 

When it comes to people who are experiencing homelessness, Scottsbluff and Gering have the same problems that larger cities do. The lack of housing and homeless shelters in our area exacerbates the stress homeless people experience.

Hunger is another issue many people in the area face. Every day of the week a different church hosts a free meal for those who can’t afford to buy food. Unless people know this information, they could go long periods of time without any nutrition. 

Untreated mental illness is often a driving factor for homelessness. Mental illness increases the difficulty the homeless have of accessing resources. It also complicates implementing life-changing treatments. All of these issues can, and do, drive the homeless to commit crimes that they might not otherwise commit. 

They are simply trying to survive. 

Libraries are for everyone, and many different demographics of people take advantage of our services. Folks may find themselves beside someone they would not otherwise encounter in their daily routine. It’s a good reminder that we are all in different places in our lives. We don’t what to forget that sometimes kids experience housing insecurity too. 

Public libraries are one of the few places people can hang out without the expectation of a purchase. They are warm in the winter and cool in the summer. The public part means everyone is welcome. 

Book Groups

I always wanted to join a book group. I love the chance to discuss books with people-it’s one of the job hazards of being a librarian. 

According to the newspaper, this month marks the fifteenth year of the Food For Thought Book Group at the Gering Library. Former librarian Sandy Strey held a book discussion of “The Innocent Man” by John Grisham during the Adult Summer Reading in 2007. People enjoyed it so much she made the discussion a monthly program. Through the years, Food For Thought has had several leaders. The only remaining founding members are Carol Enderle and Wanda Mowry. 

Each month from 8-15 people gather in the Library Community Room to discuss what they liked or didn’t like about a book, and what they learned from it. 

Louetta McHenry said, “I like the chance to read something I wouldn’t ordinarily read.” This is very typical of book group members anywhere. Another long time member, Peggy Fegler likes hearing other people’s perspectives about books.

If you are interested in joining or even launching your own book discussion group, start at the library. We have resources like interlibrary loan, general book questions and book suggestions that can help a new group get on its feet.

I have a list of most of the 180 books Food For Thought has discussed through the years. These books hit nearly every genre out there, from science fiction to nonfiction, including poetry, graphic novels, and children’s books.   

Book Club recommended books include “Ordinary Grace” and “This Tender Land” by William Kent Krueger. “Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine” by Gail Honeyman was also popular.

Books that members didn’t like to discuss included short stories and books that touch topics that are too close to home for some readers. Some members really liked “The Dust That Falls From Dreams” by Louis de Bernières while others didn’t care for it at all.

Food For Thought has read each year’s One Book One Nebraska, with the exception of one year. In August, this year’s One Book One Nebraska Author Jonis Agee will be in Scottsbluff. She will be talking about “The Bones of Paradise”in a joint meeting of the library book groups.This author talk is open to the public, if you are interested.

The group enjoys in-person chats with authors. In the past few years, Craig Johnson and James Kimble have spoken to the group about their books. 

Carol Ackerman summed it up well. “I enjoy the Book Club because I get to meet new people.  I enjoy how each of us have such diverse thoughts and reactions to the same book that we all read.  Plus it introduces me to new authors and I find new genres of books I’ve never read before.

A doctor or a lawyer will generally ask you to make an appointment during work hours when you ask them for advice concerning their profession. A librarian will often be happy to talk about books with you outside of work. Try it and see!

Baxter Black

This weekend cowboy poet, columnist, and extraordinary human being Baxter Black passed away. I saw Baxter Black in 1985 at the Garden County Fair. He climbed up on the arena fence and sat there telling stories – some of the stories were in verse. What wasn’t funny was touching. Most of what he said was both. In his own words, “It is a gallows humor in a world where catastrophe is riding on your shoulder.  And…on stage and in books it far out-sells serious poetry.”

Black’s popularity as a cowboy poet started in the 1980s. He rose to fame with the Cowboy Poetry Gathering in Elko, Nevada. In the 1980s he was on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson. By the end of the ’80s he was a regular Monday morning commentator on NPR’s Morning Edition. You are probably familiar with his column “On the Edge of Common Sense”which ran in over 100 papers, but he wrote novels as well. He published 30 books of commentary, poetry and fiction.

The funniest book I ever listened to was “Hey Cowboy, Wanna Get Lucky?” read by Baxter Black himself. Black tells the story of Cody and Lick, two rodeo cowboys. They are determined to make it to the National Finals Rodeo in Oklahoma City. As they compete in rodeos across the west, these friends find themselves in all sorts of predicaments- hilarity ensues.  

Rather than just write about how funny Baxter Black was, I am going to share some excerpts from “A Commotion in Rhyme” by Baxter Black. It’s one of the books we have in the library- a combination of poems and commentary, one section I liked was

Cowboy Curses:

  • “May you cough at the wrong time in the sale barn and buy 26 head of broken mouth Shetlands…
  • May the choreboy use your good rope to stake the milk cow out in the bar ditch
  • May your only good dog get caught in the neighbor’s hen house…
  • May you notice your missing wedding ring as you put the last scoop of wheat in the elevator”

Here are some book titles Black suggested “one might find on the Barns & Stable Bestseller List”:

  • “Herefords are from Venus- Angus are from Mars:
  • “Chicken Soup for the Freshly Weaned Ruminant’s Soul”
  • “The Joy of Artificial Insemination” 
  • “The Sheep Whisperer”
  • “A Power Line Runs Through It” 
  • “Feedlots of Madison County”

Finally, some Public Signs Black proposed.

  • “HOME COOKING: Today’s special: leftovers, microwaved to perfection just like you get at home
  • No Hunting or Trespassing: Violators will be shot, ground into chorizo and fed to the barn cats.
  • EASY MONEY PAWN SHOP! We lend cash on anything of value! All we require is proper identification and a member of your family as collateral.”

I heard Black called the Will Rogers of our time, and that seems like a fair assessment. He did a good job of explaining agriculture to folks who have no experience in the field- and also to those who do have ag experience. Through this mission he managed to entertain everyone. 

If you would like to take a trip down memory lane, or if you are discovering Black’s works for the first time, you can find several items by Black in the Gering Library, including books and DVDs. If you would like to read or listen to something we don’t have, just ask. I can track it down on Interlibrary loan for you.

Kira Perez

We have a new Youth Services Librarian at the Gering Library. I asked her a few questions so you could get to know Kira Perez a little better.

Tell me a little about yourself and what your plans are.

I grew up in the valley and graduated from Gering High School.  I went on to get an Associate of Science from WNCC and a Bachelor of Science from the University of Nebraska. In the fall I’m starting a master’s program in Library and Information Studies online through the University of Alabama. During college, I worked at the Gering Public Library as a library assistant. I’m excited to be back and to get started with children’s programs!  Weekly storytime and LEAP programs will continue, and I’m planning to expand library programs for elementary age-children.

Favorite follows on social media?

My favorite Instagram accounts are @thekneadtoread and @tylerthrasherart. @thekneadtoread is an account dedicated to making food inspired by books. Sometimes the food is based on recipes within the book, sometimes it’s based on the cover art. Her photos and food are vibrant and colorful and always make me hungry. Often times I get book recommendations from this site.

@tylerthrasherart posts a bit of everything, but it’s all a mashup of science and art. Tyler Thrasher’s page focuses on all of his creative projects, from variegated plant propagation to cicada plushies to crystallized flowers.  I love his account because it’s weird, it’s creative, and it’s wholly unique.

Why did you want to be a librarian?

The simple answer is that I love what libraries can offer. They have programs, information, and entertainment that are available for free to the public without any qualifications. I wanted to be a part of that.

Which children’s book character would you most like to spend an afternoon with and why?

I would love to spend an afternoon with Pete the Cat.  In all of his books he’s very laid back and doesn’t let anything get to him, and I think spending the afternoon with him would be very relaxing.

Favorite chapter book and teen book?

This took me a while to decide, but one of my favorite middle grade chapter book series is the A Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket. A Series of Unfortunate Events consists of 13 books, but throughout the main story are the ramblings of Lemony himself. These sections talk about the author’s sensationalized personal life and are filled with big “dictionary words” that I didn’t know. Even if these sections were fictional, they made me feel like I was in on a secret when I was a kid. Throughout the books, the author also hid several messages in oddly capitalized letters and similar ciphers. This made me think that all books would have secret codes (and I wish more would). Tied for a close second are A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle and The Voyage of the Dawn Treader by C.S. Lewis.

My favorite teen/tween book is Everything Sad is Untrue by Daniel Nayeri. It’s a semi-fictional memoir about the author’s experiences growing up in Iran and moving to Oklahoma as a refugee.  Nayeri weaves his own story into many different forms. The memoir gets tangled into Persian folklore. He discusses his family’s past, their reasons for leaving Iran, and his experiences in Oklahoma.  Everything Sad is Untrue ignores the traditional western method of storytelling. Instead it becomes a continuous and beautiful story of a middle schooler in a foreign land trying to tell his story.

What are you looking forward to working on after summer reading is over?

I’m looking forward to creating programs for elementary kids, and to working with our fantastic library assistants Lexi and Hayley to continue to build the teen program.  I’m lucky to have stepped into a great team, and I’m excited to continue to build up the youth services.

What did you want to be (as an adult) when you were 10?

For most of my childhood I wanted to be an artist when I grew up. I was pretty stubborn about it.

Do you have pets?

I do! I have two black lab mixes, Draven and Fable, and two cats, Dahlia and Count Chocula.

Code Breaker by Walter Isaacson

I am not sure when Walter Isaacson started researching “The Code Breaker: Jennifer Doudna, Gene Editing and the Future of the Human Race” but it takes a lot of research to fill a 500 page book. Jennifer Doudna (and Emmanuelle Charpentier) received the Nobel Prize for developing a genome editing tool called CRISPR.

Isaacson did a lot of research. He spoke to most of Doudna’s colleagues, her competitors and some detractors as well. “The Code Breaker” is thorough, covering chemistry, scientists, patents, biotechnology, biohackers, genetic editing and ethics among other topics. Isaacson took the time to understand the science behind CRISPR well enough to explain it to the general reader.

CRISPR stands for Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats. It has to do with DNA. This phrase will be like RADAR, an acronym where most people understand what it means without remembering exactly what it stands for.

It started with the discovery that single cell bacteria had developed a way to protect themselves from viruses. Bacteria can alter the DNA in viruses, leaving a virus unable to infect the bacteria. Learning how bacteria can fight off viruses helped researchers in Doudna’s lab develop a gene editing tool called CRISPR. “Just as bacteria have spent millennia evolving ways to develop immunity to viruses, perhaps we humans should use our ingenuity to do the same.”

With the human genome mostly decoded by 2003, genes for specific diseases could be isolated. CRISPR has been used to “correct” DNA for debilitating diseases like sickle cell disease. Researchers are currently developing ways to use CRISPR to cure many other diseases.  “The evolutionary process cares little about what happens to us after we have children and get them to a safe age, so there are a whole bunch of middle-aged maladies, including Huntington’s and most forms of cancer, that we humans would want to eliminate, even though nature sees no need to.”

CRISPR was waiting for a chance to shine when a novel coronavirus hit the scene. It was immediately obvious that this technology could be put to use to develop a vaccine for Covid-19.

I enjoy reading science-y books. There is a lot of complicated science involved with the development of CRISPR. Isaacson goes to great lengths to break down each concept into understandable language. He starts at the beginning and each idea builds on the one before. I understood each concept long enough to see how it supported the next concept. I don’t remember a lot of the science now- it’s been nearly a month since I read the book. I understood it while I was reading it and that is what was necessary.

One thing Isaacson stresses throughout the book is how science builds on itself. A discovery by one person makes a discovery by another person possible. While Doudna and Charpentier won the Nobel, their work was made possible by many other scientists. 

You can find “The Code Breaker” by Walter Isaacson at the Gering Library. I recommend it to anyone who is interested in understanding how the Covid vaccines were rapidly developed using science discovered in 2011. CRISPR is what the future of medicine will look like. It’s a big book, but it’s a big subject. If you enjoy “The Code Breaker,” Isaacson has written biographies of several people, including Benjamin Franklin, Leonardo daVinci, Steve Jobs and Albert Einstein. He followed up his biography of Jobs with a book on the digital revolution. All of these books are available at the Gering Library.

Oregon Trail Days

One Friday in the 1980s I remember dad putting an antique side-saddle on my horse. He announced that I would be riding side-saddle in the Oregon Trail Days Parade the next day. Ginger, my horse, and I were both unimpressed at this news.

This year Oregon Trail Days is celebrating 101 years. Gering was founded in 1887, and by 1921 its citizens wanted to celebrate. We call it Nebraska’s oldest continuous celebration. North Loup claims its Popcorn Days is Nebraska’s oldest continuous “festival” at 121 years. I am not clear about the difference between a celebration and a festival. Maybe it’s an opportunity for both communities to claim the oldest continuous party in Nebraska. As I was searching for Oregon Trail Days, I discovered that Tenino, Washington also has an Oregon Trail Days celebration as well.

In any event, Gering’s celebration is a chance to gather and share the best parts of our community. With parades, food, dances, cars, concerts, carnivals and all sorts of contests, there’s something for everyone to love about Oregon Trail Days. My favorite part of OT Days is the newly renamed Vera Dulaney Memorial Art Show & Sale. I look forward to the opportunity to wander through the displays and admire the art. Miss Vera was an art lover and could always be found  behind a table, calculator in hand, ready to ring up your purchases at the show.

If you want to learn about the beginnings of our fair city, the library has a book for that (actually a couple of books). “History of Gering, Nebraska: the first 100 years” was written by the Gering Centennial Committee, and published in 1989. It weighs in at 566 pages and is filled with biographies of pioneer families as well as information about early businesses, churches. It also includes a necessary part of any good book, maps.

In 2009 the North Platte Valley Museum (which is now part of the Legacy of the Plains Museum) published a book called “Images of America: Gering, Scottsbluff and Terrytown.”  This book is much shorter but filled with historical photos of people, places and events.  

Two other great places to learn about the history of our area are the Legacy of the Plains Museum and the Scotts Bluff National Monument. The LOP is always highlighting something different from their collection. The National Park Service recently remodeled their museum, so it has likely been updated since the last time you visited. Both are located just west of Gering on Old Oregon Trail Road.  

My side-saddle parade ride ended up like you might expect. I was not very confident perched sideways on my horse after an hour or so of practice. Local parade legend Charlie Horne rescued me and led my horse through the Oregon Trail Days Parade. It was embarrassing to be led through the parade, but not as embarrassing as falling off my horse during the parade would have been. 

All things considered, I recommend taking part in some of the activities during Oregon Trail Days this weekend. It’s fun for the whole family- whether you ride side-saddle in the parade or watch it from the sidewalk.