Column by J1 reporter Gabby Roche
I have nothing to do. I have nowhere to go and the desire to do something, but I don’t know what. The responsibility of driving brings new freedom to go out and the ability to do fun things with friends. In Omaha, when there’s nothing to do, you go to Target, the mall, or maybe that new froyo place down the street, but what do the people in small town Nebraska do?
Tekamah is a country mile from Omaha. That essentially means a long way, which is actually 35 miles. It doesn’t seem like a long time but you try driving and looking at corn fields for an hour every time you want to go somewhere.
Well, let me tell you. In Tekamah, we have four churches, four restaurants (including Subway), two clinics, and nothing to do. The best option is just to drive around with your friends blasting your favorite music. We sometimes go driving on the country roads to watch the sunset or to just get away from all the small town drama.
Even though it may not seem like much, it really makes a difference. Like if you’re having a bad day, you just go over to your friend’s house, pick them up and drive to Dollar General to get your favorite snacks. You go and park in some church parking lot or on a country road and talk.
These small moments let you connect with your friends and help you to get to know each other better. You could even just drive around to others’ houses and see what everyone is doing, or you usually just go over to someone’s house and chill together.
Whereas in Omaha there are plenty of things to do, you can go to shows, go shopping, go out to eat, or go get coffee from Starbucks. We have a small coffee place but they are only open in the morning from 7 a.m. to 12 p.m. Also you can go downtown because it’s a great place to eat, shop, and go to shows. But it’s a 50-minute drive from my home in Tekamah.
To put into perspective, if you want to shop for clothes in Tekamah, you have to go to Omaha, unless you want to go to the Walmart in Blair. That is an hour drive. If we want to do anything remotely activity-based, we have to drive to Omaha or Fremont.
My friends and I went shopping at West Roads and bowling at the Mark for Halloween. It was fun, but we had to drive all the way down to Omaha. Essentially, in small town Nebraska there is not much to do without traveling or driving. In Omaha there are so many things you could go do or even just hangout at home.
So next time you think: I have nothing to do, think again. Think of literally anything, any small thing with your friends or family, and be grateful for your options. It can make a difference in your relationships. When there’s nothing to do, just get creative and have fun. Because no matter how small of an opportunity, there is always something to do.