Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Postcards from Nebraska

I started watching CBS Sunday Morning way back when it first came on TV. My viewership swayed over the years but the last 10 years I haven't missed that many episodes.

"One of the influences for launching RFD-TV was the wonderful features and stories on Charles Kuralt’s CBS Sunday Morning television program. Growing up a Nebraska farm boy, it was with a special interest that I made it a point to try and never miss a Postcards From Nebraska segment that would appear regularly in the long-running CBS News program from 1988 through 1999.

Beautifully written by Roger Welsch, and exquisitely produced by Bud Lamoreaux, these 5-minute-or- so stories about small-town life in Nebraska inspired a great deal of pride in me about my home state while portraying “rural” people and “rural” living in such a positive way not normally seen on urban-based network television. For example, the way a community rallied around a young farm family after a tragic tractor accident as it was documented in “Harvest”, or the looks on children’s faces when a “Circus” came to Roger’s hometown of Dannebrog (population 320 at the time) are classics, and are just as moving today as they were the first time they aired. The combination of Roger Welsch’s essays and the production/editing of these episodes were that good.

RFD-TV is proud to announce that has purchased the right to air these segments on television again through a special 4-year agreement with CBS Eye TOO Productions. RFD-TV will organize and combine several of these original episodes into its own weekly halfhour show, Postcards From Nebraska on RFDTV, which will premiere on Sunday evenings beginning the first Sunday in September. Each show will contain at least four of these timeless stories, along with an updated segment focused on a different area of Nebraska each week.

Nearly 200 of these individual stories were produced over the 11 years. Although Nebraska people, places, and things served as the backdrop for these productions, the stories truly can be identified with Anytown, U.S.A. It’s about rural people. Family values. Small town characters and country humor."

I tried to never miss a Postcard from Nebraska either. It was really that interesting to me. Who would send a postcard from Nebraska? Nebraska was always a far away land to this Ohio farmboy I never figured I would see for myself. Through Roger's eyes I could.

LuAnn and I watched one the other evening and it started off with a lady who had worked 22 years welding handle bars for Kawasaki ATV's. This little old, frail but tough-looking lady was showing the boys how it's done. The main thing that caught my eye was her work ethic. That "work ethic" most of us have but many aren't getting to show right now with record unemployment. This is the work ethic this country was built on. I have the greatest respect for people like her and that is why I am proud to be a farmer.

We also got a taste of it on one of our camping trips out west. That was 2002, the year we camped through scorched Kansas and Nebraska and I told LuAnn the whole national crop disaster program could be spent right here. Everything was burned to a crisp and corn was dying under irrigation! Us easterners know enough about farming out west to fill a thimble. I am glad grandpa stayed on the east side of the Mississppi, I just wish he would have settled a little closer to it!

We were on the way back along the Platte River and it just got wider and wider. Suddenly there was beach sand and she about jumped out of the cab. We drove all the way to the dam when she exclaimed they are camping on the beach by the water! I haven't seen that in years!

So we grabbed some Nebraska steaks at the store and drove back to "the beach." There was this big bog right in the path from the road to the water. It looked like miles to go around but it was dry enough I thought I could make it. I said hang on and dropped the truck into low four wheel drive and floored it. We just barely crept out the other side with sand all over that truck. The camper was still attached to the truck.

We camped and swam in that dammed up part of the Platte River which they use to irrigate a lot of corn. I got so hot we had to come home in two days. I had sun poisoning, not pleasant and very stupid. The first night though some dude in his RV4Rent parked too close to the water and it sank. The farm boys built a big bonfire and took turns with their 4WD pickups trying to jerk him out of the sand. Quite entertaining. They ended up using one of the old farm tractors along the beach and a long chain to drag him out. I wouldn't have wanted that RV after they got done stretching the frame.

We met Roger at an antique farm machinery gathering in Ankeny, Iowa later and told him about our Postcard from Nebraska. He got quite a kick out of it but I have never seen a story like it aired.

Ed Winkle

1 comment:

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