Pulling into the Scribner sports complex and home of the Dodge County Fair, I am surprised by the number of cars in the parking area.
I had just landed in the middle of “Bible Village,” an event where 10 area churches gathered for a day of fun with kids. After a brief visit, I was told of another gathering in town where I might find some interesting stories, Mel’s Bar.
Glancing at my watch, it read 9:11 a.m. as I started my walk across Scribner. By the time I got to the other side of town, it was 9:27 a.m. Six people had waved and two hollered “morning.”
This number doesn’t include the car that pulled up along side me, rolled down his window and said, “So, you’re exploring Scribner today!”
Even though I wasn’t from Scribner, which has a population of 971, apparently I was no stranger.
Soon I circled back, having made my timed walk across town.
Standing next to the school, another car pulled up next to me and the driver rolled down her window.
“Good morning,” Mary Ann Svec said.
I quickly learned that Mary Ann was a retired teacher. “I went in to teach for a year, and it turned into 27 years,” she said with a smile.
“I always told the kids, Scribner has something special; it’s the people, they’re so nice.”
Waving goodbye, Mary Ann stated, “If you need a place to rest, please come to my house.”
Continuing my walk down Main Street, mourning doves cooed softly as robins celebrated finding breakfast.
In the center of Main Street, Deb Eggleston was weeding the beautiful flowers blooming in the boulevard. Deb is the economic development coordinator for Scribner. She talked with a sense of pride about a recent survey that showed the strength of the community was its citizens and community leaders. “Make sure you take a walk along the dike,” Deb said. “It’s beautiful down by the Elkhorn River.”
On the south end of the red cobblestone Main Street, situated on the corner, is Mel’s Bar.
It’s 10 a.m. and several pickup trucks and cars are parked outside. As I stepped into the bar, it took a moment for my eyes to adjust to the dimly lit interior.
The scene inside brought back memories of a junior high dance where the boys stood against one wall and the girls against another. Once inside I noticed all the men were in one part of the bar, while all the women were in another part.
Slipping into the back room, I saw two large round tables pulled together where 10 women were sitting and chatting about life.
“Here photos of great-grandchildren are proudly passed around, successful recipes are swapped and good jokes are shared,” Janine Wagner said.
“We come here for a laugh,” Ethel Stuehmer said."Sometimes we start laughing so loud, the men holler in and say things like the clackering hens must have laid another egg.”
The women concluded, “We make their (the men’s) day by providing a laugh for them too.”
“More importantly,” Joyce Moeller said, “When I needed help, people I didn’t even know showed up. It is so heart warming to know people care.”
“When they came to move me, they stacked the dishes in the new kitchen so neatly in the cupboard. I didn’t have to do anything,” Joyce said affectionately.
The women talked with pride about the positive reputation the Scribner Fire and Rescue department has in the area. “They are all volunteers, but they are the best,” said one of the women. “A lot of it is pure heart.”
Back on Main Street outside Gambino’s Pizza is a stack of muddy tennis shoes that lined the wall. They belonged to a group of kids rouging for Hoegmeyer seeds.
Two young boys, Jared Roberts and
Riley Meyer, dash down the sidewalk chasing each other in a game of Freeze Tag. “It’s more fun to play on the farm in the dark,” Jared said.
Mid-afternoon I found Karen Benne standing in front of her beauty shop on the east side of town.
“I heard you were in town,” Karen said. I responded by asking her what time she heard that.
“By 9:30,” she said with a laugh. “It comes with the business.”
As we visited about Scribner, a car pulled into beauty shops driveway. “This is Jeannine Reis,” Karen said.
Just as Karen said, “She’s probably come to bring me some cucumbers,” on cue Jeannine handed from her car window some of the freshly picked vegetable.
They chatted for a moment and then Jeannine said to me, “If you lived here, you would love it!”
I next walked along the east end of Scribner when a red pickup pulled up along side me. Inside sat Gas Superintendent Kevin Morrison. Kevin moved from Long Island, N.Y., in 1987, fell in love with the good life and ended up marrying a local girl.
Kevin talked about learning how to wave at passing cars while driving down the country roads. “My relatives came from New York to visit and asked me if I knew the person I just waved at. I said no. They inquired, ‘Why did you wave then?’” Kevin said he told his relatives, “It’s just what they do here.”
“There are plenty of things to get involved with in Scribner to keep one very busy. It’s not a place to be if you just sit back and wait to be entertained,” Kevin concluded.
I ended my visit with a walk along the Elkhorn River dike that sits on the northeast edge of Scribner. As I walked listening to house wrens chatter, even they seemed to be inviting me for a visit.