What a day! I wrote for nearly three hours, fueled by twice as much coffee as usual, made another new acquaintance, and viewed another reel of old microfilm. But that wasn't the best part. The best part was sitting with Sharon, my classmate from second and third grade, and just talking and listening. She's still working part time at an elementary school, a job she loves. She actually left North Platte for a few years after community college, working in Denver before returning to get married. Her husband never wanted to leave, but she misses Denver. She's had her challenges; an aneurysm several years ago, a daughter with MS. But when we talked about school memories, her blue eyes sparkled, and we laughed together. She filled in some holes in my memory, and I tried to return the favor.
Best set of all, she remembered me, and told a story I had forgotten. She said she always remembered when I came to school with new shoes and said, "Look how fast I can run in these Buster Brown shoes!" and proceeded to run around the playground at top speed, and then do it again. Apparently it was the talk of my McKinley Elementary classmates long after I moved away. I can't put into words what it is like to catch a glimpse of long ago yourself through someone else's memory.
I returned to the motel, and paid for my next week, and the sweet manger, Linda, loaded me up with food, as she does every on their day.
After enjoying her offering (I skipped lunch -- bad idea), I decided it was the right day to drive north toward the Sand Hills and catch the sunset. The actual Sand Hills are much farther away; maybe I'll get closer on a weekend. Picture rolling prairie dunes covering a quarter of this immense state. For now, be content with this, taken about 20 miles north on Route 83.