Forever grateful

Weekly Editorial by Mark DeLap

She has weathered snowfalls long before we were born and enjoyed long lazy afternoons in the tall grass on summer meadows in the shadow of the great Rocky Mountain peaks.

She opened her arms and made room for first footprints to appear next to the evidence that animals had been there long before.

For hundreds of thousands of years, she has weathered the seasons with the brutal winds of winter, the falling of leaves in crisp Novembers, the melting heat of summer way before there was a Fourth of July and the scent of wild sunflowers blooming in the prairies.

Our county has long preceded us and will long outlive us. She has given a place for memories and a place to hang our hats.  She’s provided a place where calling her “home,” leaves a secure warmth deep down inside. It was as if she gave us a gift of celebration when the first men came and embraced her. And as they did, their eyes were miraculously opened to see all of her splendor.

They came into the heart of her beauty and decided to stay.

According to Wyohistory.org, “The county was named for the North Platte River. In the 1790s, French fur traders and trappers named the river “Platte,” from the French for “flat” or “shallow.” The river to this day is the lifeblood of the area, providing water to more than 335,000 acres in Wyoming and Nebraska, enabling the semi-arid plains to produce alfalfa, corn, potatoes, sugar beets and dry beans.”

She was named after the flow. The constant, peaceful flow of our river. And how apropos to look all around you and see that it is always in motion.

There have been more memories in her than volumes of books could hold. This year, we have a chance to celebrate our many milestones with her for another year and to add to the volumes of the book which is Platte. People have been walking here for hundreds of years. A small span in the grand scheme of time, but one that includes you and me if you are reading this. It is a tribute where we can remember back in time, a portion of the wonder, the laughter and the tears that moments bring.

From the tiny corn seeds that grew into the largest yield to the wheat that turns our landscape from brown to green to bright golden each year. From the railway that blows 8 to the bar as she comes whisking through toward the mines, chimney blowing smoke from the school where many learned to read their first book of life. So many took their first breaths here and many more have left a final sigh.

Bravo to all of us who have remained grateful rather than cynical. People whose livelihoods have caused us to do more than exist.

Our land has caused us to live. This wondrous place surely could have been in the mind of Thornton Wilder as his pen went to paper to publish “Our Town.” He wrote, “Let's really look at one another! It goes so fast. We don't have time to look at one another. I didn't realize. So, all that was going on and we never noticed. Wait! One more look. Goodbye, goodbye world. Goodbye, Grover's Corners....Mama and Papa. Goodbye to clocks ticking....and Mama's sunflowers. And food and coffee. And new ironed dresses and hot baths....and sleeping and waking up. Oh, earth, you are too wonderful for anybody to realize you. Do any human beings ever realize life while they live it - every, every minute?

The crown that is Platte County has four jewels in Guernsey, Wheatland, Chugwater and Glendo. Let’s take it all in and not take it for granted. Let’s do it up right. Let’s make every moment count – in both the ones we remember and the ones we are making.

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