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It's understandable that most folks think Nebraska is flat, because their only experience with the state is the mind-deadening fields of corn as they barrel down I-80 along the Platte river valley. They haven't stopped since Des Moines, and they're eating up miles at 85 to the hour until they get to Denver.

But Nebraska's not flat. It's got a dizzying array of landscapes, once you work your way north of the interstate. And it's the tiny town of Rockville, up in Custer County, whose beautiful dusty hills hold so many of my memories.

How do you come to terms with a dying town? It's hemmorhaging residents at a steady rate of 5% per year, and every time I go back the roads are worse, the population's older, and another local business has taken down the shingle. I can barely stand to see the decrepit storefronts that thrived 40 years ago when I wandered the streets with no cares in the world except a quarter in my pocket and orders to be home 'fore dinner.

I should be glad the town's dying. It means that folks, like me, have found opportunity that small town America just can't provide. A nice house in the 'burbs, a Buick, Montessori schools. The American Dream. I know my nostalgia isn't rational, but it still hurts. Sometimes I think I'll go back. I've got the business instinct, the tiger's eye. Bring in some industry, re-open the cinema, maybe even get a pizza joint so folks don't have to drive clear down to Broken Bow for a pie. Make it a real Town Like Alice.

But it ain't gonna happen. No one wants to live out in the sticks, and I don't think I want to, either, even though I miss it so damn badly.

Date Written: January 27, 2005
Author: Streifenbeuteldachs
Average Vote: 4

02/15/2005 TheBuyer: Author, I read your short.
02/15/2005 Dick Vomit: I also read it.
02/15/2005 Will Disney: Me too!
02/15/2005 qualcomm: know why pony shops at costco? it's his way of saying fu to small town america.
02/15/2005 Ewan Snow: Author, why didn't you submit this to Newsweek as a "My Turn" feature? I mean, it's a well-written enough little essay (or fiction), but what the F?
02/15/2005 Litcube: I also read this.
02/15/2005 Jon Matza: "Dying town"? Lobster Capital of Nebraska, try!
02/15/2005 TheBuyer: Eliza: Where are you from?
02/15/2005 Eliza (): Does that question interest you?
02/15/2005 TheBuyer: Eliza; No, forget it, just making conversation.
02/15/2005 The Rid: Nebraska might not be flat, but it is cunty.
02/15/2005 Mr. Pony: FU, Small Town America!
02/16/2005 Streifenbeuteldachs: This was my attempt at a more melancholy short.
02/16/2005 TheBuyer: It was well written but how the hell am I supposed to rate it? Is this just like the sweet kittens playing in a pile of soft things except different? You know he's funny, does that make a difference here? Gosh!
02/16/2005 TheBuyer (4): for knowing the score.
02/16/2005 Mr. Pony: Okay, now I'm scared of you.