Friday, November 9, 2012

Vern and Jody Luft

If you don't live in very rural America, this is really hard to believe.

As I have written before, Jake and I bought a feed yard in central Nebraska where we didn't know anyone.  A few months after we bought it, Jake and my brother Jason drove out to close things up for the winter.  As they were working the feed yard, a crew from Dawson Public Power showed up and asked if they could cut down and trim some trees around the electric lines.  They began talking to Jake and Jason, and then called a co-worker Vern.  They told Vern you should come down and meet your new neighbors.  Neighbor in this case meant two miles west and a half mile south of us. That also means dirt roads the entire way and no stop signs or traffic lights.

Vern stopped by later and instantly struck up a friendship with Jake and Jason.  Because that is how Nebraska welcomes people.  I use to tell people I could hardly believe how friendly Nebraska people are. Then I got use to it. I think it is because the lack of people that makes them so friendly.  In Ohio when new people come we are like, oh great more people.  In Nebraska, it is more like, awesome new people we can talk to.

Jake and Jason were staying at the deplorable cowboy house we later called home.  Jake will tell you wasn't that bad.  He is partially right, of course after he fixed it up.  Before it was fixed up, like this particular week he and my brother were staying there, it was deplorable.  They also had no television or anything to do after the sun went down for the week.  Vern and Jody asked Jake and Jason if they wanted to go out to eat that evening.  The next evening Jody invited them over for dinner.  The third evening Jake calls me to tell me about Vern and Jody and how wonderful they were. They had invited them over to watch the final round of the NFR.  They then called Jason and Jake to say they would be late, because they had a prior commitment. However they told them where the hida-key was and that they could go on in and make themselves at home.  What?  Now, you should realize that I watch to much 20/20, 60 minutes and 48 hours, I was concerned.  I was thinking why would someone invite complete strangers over first of all and then what kind of people tell complete strangers where their key is and let them go in their house when they aren't there.  Huskers, that's who. It wasn't until after I moved and lived in Nebraska that I began to understand this kind of hospitality.   It was only after I met Vern and Jody for the first time about six months later, that I finely believed they weren't some kind of ax murderers.

Jody invited us up several times over the summer and stopped by to check on us.  She would also stop by just to tell us how much nicer the house was looking.  I think that was just to make me feel better about the deplorable cowboy house.

Vern has a great sense of humor and he knows everyone and where everyone lives.  He works as an experienced lineman and travels around fixing residential homes, feed yards, irrigation pivots, and businesses; electrical problems.  He often would tell these stories about people and places to us (who were not locals) that would go like this.  Well you know Brad he is Bob's son and that one teacher at the elementary's grandson.  We would be like no we don't know him.  The story would then continue well you know where they live (with his brain embedded GPS in true Nebraska style) yeah you do, if you go 6 miles north on the pavement and 5 miles west on Road 754 that is where he grew up. Nope  we still don't know him.  Then he would tell the story.

Just the other night we were in a pinch at the feed yard and needed someone to unload a truck of cattle.  Jake called Vern and he said of course.  So Vern and Jody got to the feed yard and wouldn't you know it, Vern knew the truck driver (they graduated from high school together). This confirmed to me that Vern does indeed know all 1,842,641 people in Nebraska.

This thank you is to, two of the greatest neighbors anyone could ask for.      

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