There is no denying the fact that Holdrege is a bit like the fictional town of Mayberry. The similarities are astounding at times. Gossip spreads like wildfire in line at the grocery store and in church pews on Sunday, even though no one would admit the latter. Bake sales continue to thrive and everyone knows which pie will fetch the highest bid. Farmers complain about the price of corn even though it’s at an all time high and people will give you a dirty look if you pump gas that doesn’t contain ethanol. Kids still run through sprinklers to cool themselves from the summer heat, stop lights have no use after 11pm and attendance to soup suppers and pancake feeds are expected.
A city directory is published every year that provides information regarding people’s telephone numbers, addresses, employment status, marital status, number of children and when those children were born. You can find residents by looking up their last name, the last four digits of their phone number, or the street on which they reside (and when they purchased the property)….
I find it odd that in this ultra conservative community that continues to bash our current President, they see no difference between the invasive local “City Directory” and America’s Drone Program. I smile at the irony.
A true highlight of our community is the local paper, a staple in terms of local information and public events. I’m a firm believer that if you want to get to know an area, grab a newspaper and it will speak volumes about the town. Our local news source is the Holdrege Daily Citizen, a publication that has been reporting local news since shortly after the town’s birth…
At the helm is Mr. Bob King, a man that embodies the description of a small town journalist. He lopes around town with a pocket sized spiral steno pad and whittled pencil, jotting down high school sports scores and the names of attendees at Friday morning “Coffee AM’s”. He refuses to publish a “Letter to the Editor” that might cause controversy and occasionally he will write a brief commentary about a rare trip he took beyond the city limits. Bob King is as much a part of Holdrege as the grain elevators and freight trains.
The offices of the Holdrege Daily Citizen resemble something like the set of “Lou Grant” or Mary Richard’s workplace on the “Mary Tyler Moore” show. Frozen in time, the periodical hub of Holdrege is drenched in hues of olive green and burnt orange. Shag carpet creeps up the walls and reporters continue to share their desks with clunky typewriters and bottles of whiteout. The combination of printing ink and ancient cigarette smoke hang in the air and the only natural light filters in from a tinted window by the front door. It is classic Holdrege.
By far, the best part of the Holdrege Daily Citizen is on the back page. There sits the “Public Record” posting and it highlights all of the calls received by the local police department. Similar to Mayberry, the report is about as far removed from city life as you can get. The details of crime in our small town could certainly be handled by a skinny deputy outfitted with nothing more than one bullet and a little moxie.
Here are some highlights:
And my personal favorite…
Greetings from Mayberry!