July 5, 2015

Nebraska Could Be Flat: Annette Snyder, Nebraska Resident

Happy July!  Summer is my favorite time of the year.  The snap of fireworks, the heat of summer, the splash of a cool swimming pool, the green leaves shading my lawn chair just outside my back door-I look forward to winter going away and summer rolling in the minute winter hits. 
In the winter, I feel cold all the time.  I can’t bundle up enough.  I wear socks to bed and wrap in blankets until movement is restricted.  

Summertime comes and I shed those layers replacing all with shorts and tank tops.  I pull out the patio furniture, put my plants outside and beg my husband to fire up the motorcycle.   An afternoon finds me outside on my laptop, by the water reading a book or on the back of the bike for a tour wherever we decide to go, even if it’s to one of the kids’ houses an hour away. 

Those of you who say Nebraska is flat, you’re right.  Some parts are.  Not where I live.  Google the Bohemian Alps and check out the area where I reside.  http://dalenielsen68626.tripod.com This is a great picture of a race a High School teacher sets up every year.  I’ve not had the guts to go even a block but I did, on several occasions, hand out water to those who dare. 
The hills continue down highway 92 clear to Fremont and Omaha, up toward Lincoln and bluffs by David City, just before traveling downward toward the river and Columbus.  There’s a spot by Linwood where it seems you can see forever. 
 The area past Seward all the way to rock formations of Scottsbluff—is pretty flat. It isn’t without beauty.  Check out the Wildcat Hills video I found on YouTube.    
Spring and Fall bring the migration of Whooping Cranes.  I feel lucky that we can take a day trip to see such a site.  We can also head toward Blair in November to see the migration of Snow Geese.  Once we ventured off a path at Desoto Bend and found thousands of Pelicans. 
There’s also the Sand Hills toward the boarder of South Dakota.  Toadstool Park is another of my favorites. And, thanks to cleaver marketing, I’m not the only person who enjoys Carhenge, a replica of Stonehenge made from cars.  http://www.worldslargestthings.com/washington/carhenge.htm   There’s also Smith Falls, closer to the east side by Yankton, South Dakota.

We have astronauts, actors, politicians, inventors, writers, producers and, you’ve all heard of Warren Buffet who, by the way, used to drive an older car than mine.  Not sure if he still does.  The point is, living in the middle of the country doesn’t limit what Nebraskan’s are capable of.    My last two exchange students, who thought they were coming to the middle of nowhere, discovered a world of casual excitement unlike anything in their own countries.  Hey Girls and Marco!!  I miss you!! Come home soon.  

The limitless life I live is one reason Nebraska inspires my writing.  My characters are from fictional Nebraska towns I invented though most of my work is truth based.  I was fortunate to know my great-grand parents who traveled on boats and ended up in Nebraska via covered wagons, steam trains and other states before settling here.   I listened to their stories.  At the time, I wasn’t sure why I was so interested in things they said but something told me it was important to remember.  So I did.  I grew up and, after my kids sloughed the baby bottles and diapers, I thought about those stories and sat and wrote a book.   After that first story, ideas for others plagued me and I had to write them.  Once, I was in a museum in Aurora reading storyboards of orphans set on trains across America.  I felt a tug on the back of my shirt and heard, “My name’s Sally.  Write about me.”  I turned and no one was there…NO ONE.  By the time I got home, I had the idea for Sally Murphy’s story and she wouldn’t leave me alone until I wrote it.  Sally Murphy was the third book I wrote and the first I sold.   Right now I’ve got a woman from Albert’s Rain, of my 1800’s series,  pestering me while I’m finishing book three in my contemporary series.

I’ll leave you with an essay I once wrote for my Grammie’s family reunion:

Traveling across an ocean, they became adventurers and changed the direction of their future. 
They left their families and friends and braved a world of unbroken ground where some  
succeeded and many failed. 
They traveled to a foreign land where nothing was usual.
They survived sickness.  They survived drought.  Yet, they survived! 
They were paupers.  Strength and determination were their riches.
They grew in character in ways few men did. They learned to cope during hard times and  
relished in the sweetness of the good.  They raised children under the best and the worst of
They cried.  They starved.  They suffered. 
They laughed.  They feasted.  They prospered. 
Under their direction, their children learned honesty and fairness, happiness and civility.
How fortunate we are to be made from a foundation in which perseverance existed so
How fortunate our ancestors strived to make life better and taught us to do the same. 
How very fortunate we are the Kubat’s.

Thanks for getting to the end of this post!  For those of you who made it, leave a comment with your contact info and I’ll draw three names.  I’ve got three series set in three time periods and each winner gets to pick one book. 

This last picture comes with a short story:  Back when I was really little, I was on a drive with my Grampa and Grammie from where, I have no idea.  We crested this hill on the way toward Brainard and Grampa said to Grammie, "Frances, why would anyone live anywhere else?"  Each time I drive this  hill,  I hear Grampa's voice.   
Check out all my work right on this blog and at my website; use the tabs above to navigate. 
Happy Summer and Visit Nebraska! 
 (All pictures taken from my backyard or the back of a motorcycle on a drive up to see one of my kids.The video was downloaded from YouTube)


  1. Great post! I've been to Nebraska twice, passing through to visit friends on my way to Wyoming. I love the dirt roads and long wide open spaces! I have not heard of The Bohemian Alps. I'll have to check that out. Congrats on the books and continued success!

    Susan Whitfield

  2. I just read your post, Annette, and learned a lot I didn't know before about you and your state. You certainly changed my image of Nebraska as all flat plains. And I never had you figured for a two-wheeling gal so that adds a new dimension to my image of you as well. What fun that must be. Your books sound very interesting and I'd love to be a winner of one of them. In September my husband and I will be taking a group bus tour to the Black Hill and we may get to see your state for the first time. I'd look forward to that after reading your blog.
    Happy Sunday. Linda

  3. I am familiar with the farms in Bellwood where I have family, but I was surprised to discover that there are areas of NE that are not flat farmland. Thanks for sharing.


  4. I watched that video. Who would have guessed? Monolithic rock formations and deep verdant green valleys in Nebraska. All so refreshing looking and inviting. My son was stationed in Nebraska for a time when he was in the service. At first he thought it boring. That's until he and the wife went out exploring. They were amazed.

  5. There is so much more! Its got the flat parts but it has some awesome scenery. One of my kids was working in NY area and when he came home once he had to go out and take pictures of corn fields because a guy he worked with couldn't imagine. Some of our exchange students have pictures of feedlots because our cattle lots are so large. Go figure...I grew up around all that so its nothing new. Thanks for stopping by!

  6. Another state I've never been to, but would love to camp in when we have the time. Especially now that I know there are bluffs and hilly regions.

    Living in the Midwest, (Illinois), I'm like you in starting to pine for summer the minute the snow falls. Don't get me wrong--I do like snuggling under an afghan, with the fireplace crackling, and reading a good book while sipping hot chocolate. But summer is my favorite time of year! Maybe because it's when we can go camping?

  7. Thanks for sharing your Nevada with us, Mary Jean. Driving across from the east 30 years ago, I wondered what the crossing might have been like in a wagon or on horseback before any roads or even trails. What strong wills and spirits thos pioneers must have had.



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