Articles & Essays
Articles & Essays
Home | View all Essays
Young authors take on challenge: What It's Like to be a Kid in Nebraska
In March 2012, a newly formed writing club, Dusters, INK, held its first meeting at the Holdrege Middle School. Seven aspiring 5th and 6th grade authors showed up, ready and willing to hone their craft.
Time was short, so club sponsor, Michelle McCormick, focused the kids on Nebraska Rural Living’s writing challenge: “What It’s Like to be a Kid in Rural Nebraska”. The contest had an open format with no restrictions other than word count. The results were impressive. See for yourselves!
The Sandhill Migration
By Kailyn Drain
Being a kid in rural Nebraska is amazing. One of the reasons I like it so much is the sandhill crane migration. Every spring, the sandhill cranes fly through Nebraska and stop at the Platte River to rest and feed on their way to Canada.
One time I went to see this fascinating migration with my family. We decided to go in the evening when the cranes were most active. We went out on the bridge over the river and there were tons of little fish in the water. I asked my mom if the cranes eat those fish and she said yes they did, and other things too. We waited patiently for the birds to come in. About five minutes later, they started arriving. It seemed like there were thousands of them, but who could count them all?!
The noise they made was deafening, but they were so beautiful. They looked like gray feathered angels with bright red stripes on their faces. After about fifteen minutes, my little brother got bored, so my mom took him back to the tent. She let me take the last three pictures with the film camera. This was the first time I used a camera without a digital screen, so my dad had to show me how to use it. I didn’t like having to wait to get the pictures developed, but when we finally got them back, I saw that I got some really good shots. My dad said they looked like I’d plucked the birds out of the sky and froze them on film.
I’ll never forget seeing the sandhill cranes. I’m lucky to share my part of Nebraska with them.
The Great Hamster Chase
By Hannah Hofaker
One day our hamsters, Pumpkin, Josephine, Princess Sunflower Pants, and Benji started to fight. We settled it by putting them all in different cages. That night when I went into my room to go to bed, I noticed Pumpkin was missing. I told my parents, and we started to look for her. No luck. We finally gave up and went to bed.
That same night, my brother’s hamster, Benji, got out of his cage. We couldn’t find him either. My mom said she’d find them. She waited until we were gone, and the house was quiet. She sat on the floor and listened. She heard scratch scratch scratch. It was the hamsters in the heat vent! She told us when we got home. We took them out and put them in new cages.
After their amazing disappearing act, we decided to rename them the Houdini Hamsters.
By Tyler Jacobson
I want to be in Nebraska today.
I want to be on the prairie where everything is green.
We will fly in the sky with the sandhill cranes.
Come visit the plains with me.
Where the corn grows.
Where the wheat is golden all the time.
Where the combines go by.
I cry when the tornados blow dust everywhere.
I cheer when the Huskers play.
I’m going to ride in the pastures. I’m going to ride in town.
I think I’ll lay on the ground today.
I want to be in Nebraska tomorrow.
I want to be in Nebraska today.
There’s nowhere else I’d rather be.
Do you want to see Nebraska with me?
A Day in the Country
By Madison Junker
Living in rural Nebraska is amazing. There are adventures waiting for you around every corner. Some of my most favorite adventures have taken place at my grandparent’s farm in Juniata, Nebraska. Buckle your seat belt while I take you on one of my amazing adventures.
It was a warm March day. My family and I spent the morning at Adams Central High School watching my brother perform in a band competition. Then, finally, it was off to Grandma and Grandpa’s farm. Once we got there, we got out of the car and Quigley, the farm dog, came over and greeted us with licks and jumps.
First on the agenda was a delicious lunch and some great conversation with my grandparents. After lunch, my brother, dad, grandpa and I went outside to practice a little target shooting. My brother shot the gun first. When he shot his first shot the bullet came firing out the barrel and it hit the target right in the middle. He shot the gun about 14 more times. Then the adventure began for me. They asked me for the first time if I wanted to shoot the gun. After thinking about it, I decided to give it a go, but only one time. I was a little scared, so my dad stood by me to make sure I stayed safe. He put the bullet in the gun and told me to aim and fire away. So I pull the trigger and BOOOOOOM! To my surprise, it was not scary at all! I decided to do it again. But this time it was a bit different. My grandpa, being the fun loving person he is, decided to trick me and put a larger bullet without me knowing. I got set and once again fired the gun. This time it gave a little bit of kick! The bullet hit the target, and there was smoke in the air. It was fantastic! I got to shoot a few more times until we ran out of bullets.
My adventurous day didn’t end there. In the afternoon, we got to ride a 4-wheeler with my dad. Dad drove us down the gravel road really fast. As we are going down the road, I could feel the wind in my hair and smell the fresh country air. It was a feeling of total freedom that is unexplainable and very fun. We went down the road for about a mile. Then we turned around and went back to the house.
I was so tired I slept all the way back to Holdrege. It was a phenomenal day and I look forward to my next trip to Grandma and Grandpa’s house. As you can see, living in rural Nebraska is not always about going places, but is more about just sitting back and enjoying a good old fashion day in the country with your family.
The Trout Trial
by Caylin McCormick
You may think growing up in small town Nebraska is a pretty boring life, but it really isn’t! A few years ago, my uncle, who works for Game and Parks, released hundreds of different types of fish, a few bullfrogs, five box turtles, some crawdads, and even some mudpuppies into the lake at our North Park. It’s the most fun place to go!
In the summer, my friends and I ride our bikes to the lake to go fishing. One time I went to the lake by myself, but forgot my bucket and cell phone. Usually this wouldn’t be a big deal, but of course this would be the day I caught a HUGE trout!!! I had no clue what to do. I wasn’t about to let it go. No one would believe me without a photo. Believe me, this fish had to be shared with the world. I knew my mom would be coming by sooner or later. So I ended up squatting over the rocky shore, holding the fish by the mouth, swishing it back and forth in the water to keep it alive. For over an hour, my back was in total pain, but I wasn’t going to give up! To make time go faster, I made conversation with the fish.
Finally, Mom showed up and I did get a picture with her cell phone. But letting the fish go was hard. We’d shared a special time together, but I promised it its freedom, and that’s what it got.
I’m a Small Town Kid
By Christine McCormick
Being a kid in a small town means a lot of things, like being able to play outside alone without worrying about being kidnapped. Or being able to sleep with your windows open, because the air is so fresh and clean, you just have to breathe it in! It also means you can walk just about everywhere, because nothing’s too far away in a small town.
Our town has a Farmer’s Market every Thursday on the courthouse lawn. Local people sell their goods and vegetables here. I love going to this. They have a singer every week. There’s a cheap lemonade stand, and everyone walks around talking to each other. Mom likes it, because she doesn’t have to cook that night. There are plenty of food vendors to choose from.
One of my favorite things about living in my small town is going to the Swedish Days parade. At least a hundred floats go by, all throwing candy at you! I watch the parade from my grandma’s yard, because she has a huge shade tree to sit under.
Any time of year is great in our small town. When Christmas comes around, you can ride the trolley with Santa or catch a free Christmas concert. There’s also lots of shops downtown to buy everyone on your list a gift.
The best thing of all is that everybody knows everybody. It’s a great way to grow up!
My Life in Holdrege
By Emily Wiese
My life in Holdrege is pretty sweet. A typical day for me looks like this: In the morning, at exactly 7:00, my mom comes in and turns on the light. It is so bright, that I have to duck my head under the covers. I grudgingly get up. I trudge over to my closet to see what I should wear. The choices are pretty exciting: jeans, jeans, or jeans. Once I am dressed, I brush my hair and go to breakfast.
At 7:30 Tessa calls. She’s the friend that I walk to school with every day. (Lots of kids in Holdrege walk to school. It’s one of the perks of living in a small town!) I know I’d better hurry, because Tessa waits for no one! I take one last gulp of coffee, and run to my room. I pull on my tennis shoes, grab my backpack, and head outside.
When we are close to the crosswalk of the Middle School, people are already walking across it, so Tessa and I have to dash to make it. Entering the school, it’s time to part ways. We both say, “See ya later!” and go into our own hallways. I unload my backpack in my locker, and go and sit down in my homeroom. A kid from the student council reads the daily announcements. We say the pledge, then go to our reading classes. After that, it’s English, art, P.E., back to homerooms, and finally Channel 1. Channel 1 is a news channel we watch almost every day.
After lunch, we go out to recess. My friend, Krystina, and I run out to the middle tetherball pole. There are three of them, but Krystina and I think the middle one is a foot shorter. After recess, we go inside, and all the band kids go to band, and the other kids go to study hall. After that, we all join together again and go to math, science, and social studies. Everyone knows everyone pretty well, because there’s only 100 of us in our graduating class. Another perk of Holdrege!
I walk down to the band room for Bandaids. Bandaids is a time when band students come down to work on their music until 4:15. Then I ride home with my dad who, by the way, is the band teacher.
It only takes us one minute to get home. I’m glad we don’t have to wait in traffic like people in cities do. It’s great to live in Holdrege!
To learn more about how you can be a writer for Nebraska Rural Living, and have your essays posted on this site, visit our 'Writers Wanted' page.