Entries by Randall Franks

Old time country music is alive and well in Nebraska

Many across America recently sat watching PBS as Ken Burns walked us through his perspective of the history of country music. It was an amazing effort in taking a wide-ranging American experience that encompasses more than a century of talents who shaped music locally, regionally and ultimately those who shined nationally and internationally. He shaved […]

The trip to town

I remember as a boy, I always looked forward to Saturday when I was visiting with my grandparents. That meant we would be taking a trip to town. It could mean some time in the 5&10, the grocery store or a stroll around the Courthouse Square or visiting with folks at the farmer’s market. Going […]

Candidates around the cracker barrel

It is the time of year when towns across America find political signs for local campaigns filling the right-of-ways and yards as fundraising barbeques and door-to-door canvassing is in full swing. For many years, I have had the pleasure of living in small town America, in a community that up until this decade enjoyed amiable […]

Just some good ol’ boys

When I think back to Friday night in my youth, much of those were spent sitting in front of the TV watching “The Dukes of Hazzard.” It allowed me to see what was then, other than “The Waltons,” a current show with a Southern or rural feel to it. The adventures of Bo and Luke […]

Reaching back to push forward

Life is something that we should cherish with every passing breath. Often times we do not appreciate the simplest things like the feel of cool breeze on a hot summer day; the taste of a fresh glass of homemade lemonade so cold that the outside of the glass drips; the deep red color of a […]

The one that got away

Grandma Kitty pulled her shiny case knife from the pocket of her blue apron. She reached down far to the bottom of the cane pole and cut it. “This will make a good one,” she said, as she handed it to a three-year-old me. Then she cut one for herself. As we walked to her […]

Striving through negative anniversaries

Often in life we find ourselves looking at the calendar and it fills us with emotions of an occurrence on that date somewhere in our past. On some occasions it is a good memory or emotion. My grandmother’s birthday still sticks in my head for some reason although to the best of my memory, we […]

A little fig goes a long ways

There were several things that folks could depend on in the valley below the Gravelly Spur Mountain, one was that the cool clear water of the Frog Leg Creek trickled its way from the springs upon the mountain and flowed crystal clear throughout the valley insuring that no one went without the liquid of life; […]

A comb, mirror and a brush

As young Pearl sat quietly on the edge of the bed, the red, white and green patchwork quilt wrapped around her feet to ward off the chill of the January frost laying heavily upon fields of brown grass around the homestead below the Gravelly Spur mountain, she stared endlessly over the shoulder of her mother […]

Being brought into focus by Bill Monroe

As I stepped on the blue bus, I wondered whether I could measure up to the task ahead. I had spent much of the last decade learning to play the fiddle and violin. I listened to every record and learned hundreds of fiddle licks that helped me take these steps. I had already performed for […]