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HINSEY-BROWN FUNERAL SERVICE
Two locations: 7355 S. State Road 109, Knightstown (765-345-7400) and 3406 S. Memorial Dr. in New Castle (765-529-7100)
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SUPERIOR MOWERS & MORE
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CONDO & SON FUNERAL HOME
Funeral services, monument sales. 130 S. Main Street in Wilkinson. Call 765-781-2435.
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Mike Redmond Column

Please refer to the Mike Redmond Column main page for columns published in other issues.
Mike can be contacted via e-mail at mike@mikeredmondonline.com.

 

 

 

 Pining for a Trip to Minden, Nebraska

Every year I go to the family reunion and every year I come home with the same ambition.

No, wait. Ambition isn't quite right. What I feel is more urgent, like a calling. That's it. It's a mysterious voice, riding on the ether, coming to me as if from a dream, beckoning me to ...

Visit Harold Warp's Pioneer Village in Minden, Neb.

Hey. You have you're callings and I'll have mine, OK?

Truth be told, this is a long-standing dream of mine. I've wanted to go to Harold Warp's Pioneer Village since I was a kid. I haven't made it, but I plan to, next time I find myself in Minden, Neb., with a few hours to kill.

Ah, Minden, the Christmas City, situated at the intersection of U.S. Hwys. 6 and 34 with Nebraska Hwy. 10, 12 miles south of Interstate 80. Incorporated in 1883, home to 3,000, with a charming town square, a beautifully restored opera house and the landmark Kearney County Courthouse. That's what it says on www.mindenne.com, anyway.

And a few blocks from the square, the Pioneer Village - millionaire Harold Warp's collection of Americana, everything from farm implements to automobiles to firearms and flying machines, displayed in 28 buildings containing more than 50,000 artifacts. Harold made his money with "Flex-O-Glass," a transparent plastic he sold by the carload to farmers all over the Midwest who needed to keep the winter wind out of their chicken houses. Nobody wants chickens with chill blains.

With the proceeds, ol' Harold, he bought his hometown and built his village, adding to it 12 historic buildings including a general store, a toy store, a Pony Express station and a stockade. Think of it as Henry Ford's Greenfield Village, only more Midwestern. And think of it as Harold Warp's personal expression of wonder at American progress from pioneer days to modern times. His large personal expression.

Now, you might be wondering why a dazzling urban sophisticate such as myself is drawn to this sort of prairie rusticity. The answer lies in the fact that I get this way after every reunion.

In the early 1960s, you see, my grandparents visited Pioneer Village, and Grandpa talked about it for the rest of his life. It was in his deep stock of after-supper stories, along with Driving to North Carolina with a Load of Melons, The Day I Got a Stevens Fav-O-Rite Rifle, Going to the Chicago World's Fair, Goose Hunting with Milt Garlets, and many other family classics. They all began when Grandpa settled into his big green recliner, lit his pipe, and said, "Years ago ..." And they all were wonderful.

But Harold Warp's Pioneer Village was my favorite. To hear Grandpa tell it, this was one of the wonders of the world, a place we kids needed to see lest we forget just where we came from. He had a big book about the place which served as the visual aid for his story. I pored over that book by the hour, and told myself I would see it someday. I was nine. Here it is 44 years later, and someday hasn't yet arrived.

But every reunion, when the spirit of my grandparents looms large over the gathering of aunts and uncles, cousins and children, I hear Grandpa's voice telling me I need to see the place. And I promise, one of these days I will.

 

 

 

© 2008 Mike Redmond. All Rights Reserved.