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There’s always tomorrow

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Hope … an expectation that present conditions will improve in the future. Here is a story about Nebraska hope.

In 2019, the Platte River attempted to annihilate a small lake community and overflowed its banks for days, leaving an ugly imprint in its trail. A trail of displaced families, demolished homes and indescribable damage was the result. A small lake community took a direct hit from the Platte during its pillage … here sits my cabin.

A week after the flood subsided, I was fortunate to walk, not drive, to Cabin 23, which luckily sits higher than most of the others. Although the cabin was left undamaged, the shoreline was a different story. Propane tanks, logs, wounded boats, dock sections, whole or dismembered trees and fish unable to outswim the swift current replaced what was once peaceful. Each cabin across from my particular lake suffered major damage. At the channel to the first lake, a cabin sat precariously at a 45-degree angle, while across the road others were flattened. Each of the three lakes became impassable. Shocked residents began to hope.

In 2019 we dug in our heels, breathed deeply, and grabbed every tool and available piece of equipment to reclaim the neighborhood. Those once only a “country wave” began to help each other and started to find owners of the possessions dumped on their beaches by the flood. We hoped. Debris was dragged from the lakeside, carnage piled high and long, hard hours were spent making improvements. Few boats entered the water. As expected, the sun still rose.

In 2020 dredging began, cleanup became more detailed, and bonfires became the norm as recovery continued to locate river waste. Positive results? Boats began to enter the lake. As residents were knitted into a community, a lake manager brought leadership and suddenly social media was being used to connect. The river did not sink us … it threw out a line of hope … and we swam.

Today in my kayak, I am filled with joy. I see fish jumping in the water, new and renewed cabins, and docks inviting respite from the outside. Hope has produced positive results. We wave each other down for a chat, watch for wildlife, catch the same fish over and over, even kayak across the lake to meet a new neighbor. Here at the lake, diverse talents and personalities … white collar, blue collar, city mice and country mice, chose hope.

The flood chose us … but we won.

Robbie Nathan may be reached at She feels blessed to have her getaway and will always believe hope “springs” eternal.


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