Today I still had a cold but I couldn't stand the idea of just sitting in my hotel room while there was a whole state that I had yet to discover so I set out this morning with the concept that I would be going on an adventure.
Ok by morning I mean that I woke up at like 1100 compliments of NyQuil...so like a 20-somethings version of morning?
Anyways, so once I jumped out of bed, got ready, and decided that I wanted to try out Big Mama's Kitchen. I was supposed to go last night with some people from my class but I was feeling like crap so I couldn't. So this morning I decided to rectify this loss of wonderful southern palatableness and I went in search of Big Mama's Kitchen. According to my iPhone it was only about 5 miles away in a part of town that I had never been to so that didn't seem like a big deal. Today was supposed to be an adventure right? Ok so I start driving towards Big Mama's and so far so good. No big problems. Then I realize that I'm in an area that had been its own town in the 1940s or 50s and had only recently been gobbled up by that monolithic metropolis that is Omaha, Nebraska. I think it was called Benson...anyways moving on. So I start driving through this area and its definitely not the best place in the world but I'm to myself, hey you got this far, you might as well keep going. So I do. And finally I see an old school complex. Its pretty old school. I would take a guess that it was built in the late 1800s- early 1900s. You know one of those with multiple buildings and the buildings themselves aren't cookie cutter and are made out of stone? Thats the best that I can do to describe them. So there's a sign that says, "BIG MAMA'S TURN HERE!!!!" And the sign has Big Mama's face on it so I think, well hey there Big Mama. Why yes, I'll turn where your giant head is telling me to turn. Thank you for showing me the way. So like I said, it takes me into the older school complex. Well thats it. Its a circular, fenced in school complex. So I drive around twice and I'm pretty pissed. I mean wouldn't you be too? Big Mama told me a big fat lie. so right about now, I ain't likin Big Mama. Big Mama and I are gonna have a chat if and when I ever get into that damn place. So like I said, I drive around and finally I can't take it anymore and I decide, eff this, I'm going to Popeyes and I'm getting the fast-food version of Southern food because either way, I was getting biscuits this morning, with or without Big Mama's help. So I pull up next to one of the buildings and I start to try and find where the nearest Popeyes is so I can get my biscuits on when I look up and I see Big Mama's face. Again. Peering out of a window of one of the school buildings. And theres a giant sign underneath her big grinning face that says, "OPEN." Well sink me, if it ain't Big Mamas Kitchen. In a school. No I mean actually in the school. Like you walk up to a door that could have been just about anyones high school with the metal rounded rectangular handle. Then you walk into the yellow linoleum stair floors and theres another big giant sign that says up here to biscuits young southerner. Follow Big Mama to biscuit heaven. Well, I do. Even though I'm not gonna lie, I'm a little freaked out. And I walk into what definitely used to be a school cafeteria that has now been converted into a restaurant...kind of. I mean it was obviously a school cafeteria. Thankful the food was definitely not cafeteria food. Big Mama's Kitchen was awesome. All of the food was made to order and it was fabulous, southern soul food. Just what the body needed. :) So after that I decide that I'm gonna drive down Route 75 and just kind of see where the road takes me. I, of course, get lost multiple times. *multiple expletives- use for approximately 20 minutes* On the road and I have no idea where the hell I'm going and I'm pulling over every once in a while on the side of the road and am taking photos. Yes, I know. I'm weird, but seriously there was so much freaking corn. And the scenery looked like something out of Grapes of Wrath or Of Mice and Men with the dilapidated farmhouses and the telephone posts just going on for miles and miles, going far past the line of sight.
For some like me who has never seen that before, it was quite an awesome thing. So anyways, I keep driving. And driving. And driving. And even though the signs keep saying that I'm getting closer to Nebraska City, I swear that its actually creeping a little farther ahead for every mile I gain on it. Laughing just a little bit to itself. For real though. So I get to Nebraska City and I've gotta say that it was one of the most eerie places I've ever been. I don't know whether it was because it was Sunday or whether there was something going on but there was basically no one in town. And I mean basically no one. I was there for 30 plus minutes and I saw 5 people. It was seriously like a ghost town.
Omaha may be thriving after the economic downturn but let me tell you something, it doesn't really seem that the rest of Nebraska is getting much help. That was the first time that I really saw the economic pressures slap me in the face. You think you understand on the East Coast but somehow I don't think that we get it. Or that we don't understand it as well as we think. Just something to think about if you're reading this. Anyways, I decide to get the hell of there because I was afraid that it was gonna turn into some sort of Texas Chainsaw Massacre or some effed up town out of the mind of Stephen King or Alfred Hitchcock. For real though.
I got out of there, went back on Route 75, took more photos. Went to another little town that had a population of 6,655 people. Thats less than the number of people in my high school. What I can say that I've learned today is that there is so much more to America than I could have ever understand by reading books and watching TV or documentaries. There is truly no better way to understand an area than by actually going out and being a part of it. Really. There is so much that you miss by just sitting at home and experiencing the same thing over and over again. You can see photos and movies but you'll never understand the significance of certain scenes and plots until you've experienced that part of the country. I question everyone to just go to one place entirely new to them sometime this year. Just once. Do as the locals do. Think about why they're doing what they're doing. Drive on their roads and think about what you're seeing and how its different from what you normally experience. Look at the signs. Look at what they think is important enough to put on a sign. You'd be shocked at how much that will tell you. Anyways, I hope that everyone had a wonderful day.
Note: All photos taken by me.
More photos can be found here - again all of these photos have been taken by me. if you're going to share them, its totally cool with me. just let me know. i'm a bit of an egotist and it makes me feel good inside. :) Again, enjoy and I hope that you all haven't died of boredom yet.