An Opportunity to be Better - Chapter 5 Page 16

Left: In 1912, ice in the Republican River moved the center section of the bridge off its piers. People on the river's west side had to use a car strung on a cable to reach the village; right: In 1925, the river flooded and washed out the Rock Island railroad tracks north of Morganville.

We Are Much Like You

Let's now come back to Morganville,
Back to home things we remember,
Back to nearness and to dearness
Of our own ways and our own folks.
Here, the meanest person with us
Isn't all bad. Maybe he can
Drop ten dollars in the milk can.
None of Spain's or Asia's silk fans
Will be beautiful as money
Spent on children's bread and honey.

As clouds gather for a cyclone,
As Spring flowers crowd in color,
We remember dust, Depression.
We remember lush and plush times,
Fifty years of Morganville's
School and church and games of billiards.
We remember work and ball games,
We remember Doctor Stillman
And his fondness for our village.
We remember Marshall's band,
Berggren's store, grand and colossal,
All the Leonards and the Arners.
We remember helpful people,
People not afraid to give,
People good to one another,
People free with time and talent.
They have left this summer evening
Better for their sojourn here.
Thank you, Todd Huff,
Thank you, Hansons,
Sweets, and Charlie Hagenbuchs.
Thank you, Severt, Ira Bodine
And Sheb Conkright, Will O'Harro
And the Fletchers for their days here.
Schooleys, Purves, Millers, Stonebacks,
Robinsons and Greens and Clampitts,
Sterlings, Grays, and Lees and Allens
Woods and Dysons, Mudges, Piersons,
Wilkersons and the Gennetts
Browns and Hull and Oetingers.

Little town in France, we know you
Better than you comprehend.
Grasshoppers once ate us bare -
Many times - our crops and foliage -
Ate our suppers, and the year's food;
Ate our clothes off of the line.
Once we choked on dust so heavy
Day was dark and lamps were lighted.
Even better years - the good ones -
We've been hailed or blown or blighted.
Some years cattle died on parched earth
And our fruit trees died of long thirst.
Morganville went out and buried
Dead fish on the blistering sand.
Turn the page. We could talk ten nights
Of our floods and droughts and bug-fights.