You Can’t Make This Stuff Up, Part 3

If you read the previous post, you may remember that I left you knee deep in Burton, Nebraska.

So what?

The last time we visited Burton the population sign read “9” so you can imagine how surprised I was when this man told me his wife was from Burton!

In 1992, the Burton commercial district looked like this:

Burton business

Although it wasn’t always that way. Fifty years earlier, you could postmark a letter from Burton.

Horton letter

The Horton home was in Burton back in the day. Later, that house was moved to the neighboring Springview.

Horton houseI mean, seriously, what are the chances? After all, we are standing in Vantage, WA, which Google tells me is 1257.9 miles from Burton,NE. While centrally located in our state, Vantage, like Burton, is not exactly networking central. I-90 is a mile or two south of where we are standing and rarely do people exit the freeway for anything but gas and a very quick bite to eat. You can tell by this deserted campground and the shuttered businesses that promise to open again sometime. When I called to make reservations, the clerk laughed, said they were wide open and finished with “Come on over.”

What are the chances?

This couple had not driven I-90 on their return trip from Seattle to their home in Eastern Oregon. Instead, they followed a back road between Ellensburg and Vantage, which is why they passed by the campground in the first place.

And seriously, what are the chances that this Oregonian would be wearing a shirt with the Nebraska Big Red logo on it? Seriously! There are way too many Huskies, Cougars, and Ducks, yes Ducks!–in this area!

And what are the chances they would be interested in replacing their 32 year old Casita trailer with something like ours?

And what are the chances they would see our little Escape, turn their car around to come back and look? Not everyone is that curious! I am, but that’s another story!

And what are the chances we would be still be camping there–we had talked of moving the trailer to another location–and furthermore, what are the chances that we would even be at the trailer? Hadn’t we been out exploring for seven hours already today?

Carol, the wife, told us that her mother is 98 and still lives in the Burton area. Carol’s husband relayed that mom keeps busy maintaining the graves and supplying flowers for headstones at the local cemeteries.

He mentioned the Jordan Valley Cemetery where my grandparents are buried.

Horton headstone

Now seriously folks, this is no urban cemetery located right on the highway. I remembered the ordeal to find the place. Desperate to locate my grandparents headstones before nightfall, we finally asked a woman emerging from the local bar in the neighboring town of Springview. She directed us according to fields, mailboxes and country lanes on how to find the last resting spot of the Hortons–my family, the Outhouses–her family and one other family, whose name was not quite so memorable.

Now Carol and I share a bit of family history. I have a sense that her mother may have been a student in my grandmother’s classroom! Small world. I mention that my grandmother, the local teacher, married the president of the school board–something that wouldn’t raise eyebrows in the early 20th century.

Horton mother and son

My grandmother, shown above, with her son sometime during the early 1940s.

I share how my grandfather had owned multiple farms which he lost during the depression. She shared how at her grandfather’s funeral hundreds of people arrived that the family did not know. Turns out he was the local banker who had saved their farms.

Later, I pondered. Why did my grandfather not go to his neighbor, the local banker, for help? I will always wonder that. Could our grandfather’s farms have been saved?

So you are probably asking how this fits with the topic of process and more particularly my process that I hope to turn into a product in the near future?

For the second day in a row, I was on the blessing end of an unlikely encounter. Very unlikely this time. What are the chances? Haven’t I been writing on how we gain momentum in life not by pressing, pushing and shoving, but by simply doing the next thing? This encounter sought me out. I didn’t hunt it down.

Yesterday, as I safely walked in our local non-rattlesnake infested woods, I sensed God whispering in my heart that these two encounters are training wheels for my faith. They were given to let me know that I am in His time and place. He will set up more connections in the future that will surpass my expectation. If He announced them today, I would deem them impossible.

So–the application for you is–whatever you are believing God for in your process, take heart. He is the absolute best networker in the universe. He can put you in touch with the most unlikely people who will have the next clue for your life’s great adventure. Just do the next thing.

Marlee Huber ~ For Your Flourishing Life

About Your Flourishing Life

As a child, Marlee Huber loved to ramble through gardens sampling juicy berries and delighting in the heady fragrance of roses. As an adult, she thrills at maintaining a country garden in the foothills of the Washington Cascades. Something happened in 2012 that changed everything for Marlee. She followed the love of her life as he bicycled across the continent from their home in the NW to his brother's home in the Virginia. Ninety days later she came home and has never been the same. After photographing the backroads and hamlets across America--all on auto, she came home and took an online photography course, read dozens of books on technique and vision and stepped out into a new career. Her passion is coaching young people to discover their brilliance. She calls it Life-Themes Coaching and during one nearly half-day session, she unpacks what makes you brilliant and one of a kind. Then she matches the discoveries with a photography session where she tells the story of your life with her camera. In her personal life, she is a wife, mother, and grandmother delighting in her flourishing family!
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2 Responses to You Can’t Make This Stuff Up, Part 3

  1. Rory Reynoldson says:

    Just ran across your blog entry while trying to research information on Burton. My mother-in-law grew up there, and I own the land on Burton Creek where the Horton’s had a dam and lake right beside Burton back in the early 1900’s (as best I can tell). The dam is still partially there.

    Contact me via email if you want. I’d love to gather any more info that I can on the history of it.

    • Hi Rory, Like I said, “you can’t make this stuff up!” Isn’t our internet age interesting? I know very little about Burton in the early days. I’ve visited a couple times. I had no idea the Hortons had a lake and a dam. I do know the house that my mother grew up in has been moved to Springview. Somewhere I have a photo of it in its new location. I’ll have to ask my cousins if they have any information. They grew up in eastern Nebraska and spent lots more time with my grandmother. Our grandfather, died before any of us were born. Thank you for reading my post and reaching out.

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