A lot of people thought we’d never make it to the Omaha Home & Garden Expo this past weekend due to Winter Storm Nemo, but those people apparently didn’t catch a little show called The Amazing Race. We used all our best Race training to get on the last plane out of Albany (following the plows down the runway for takeoff) and wound up having a wonderful time meeting new friends in Nebraska.
We get to travel to a ton of places in America for different events, and while it’s always fun to pretend to be “all Hollywood” when we visit LA, or “corporate executives” in NYC, we usually have the most fun in places like Omaha. Neither one of us had ever been before, and so had no expectations. Sure, we always have the stereotypes of different regions in our heads before we go, but we always wind up surprised at what we find. Sometimes we discover that smaller American cities try to compare themselves to large coastal metropolises, showing off their “New York-style” restaurants, and luxury brand retail shopping centers. Those are usually our least favorite places. We love cities like Omaha, who are proud of who they are, and see no sense in copying anything from anywhere. We have a soft spot for hard-working, plain-spoken communities. We always learn something from them that we can take home and use in Sharon Springs.
Omaha, population 415,068, is a great example about how those ethics can pay off. There’s a healthy boon of construction and growth, fueled by the fact that Omaha is home to 5 Fortune 500 companies, including Berkshire Hathaway. (Yes, we drove by Warren Buffet’s home, and yes, it’s a simple home in a regular neighborhood.) Equally important, there’s been a lot of growth in civic and public arts projects. We also learned that Omaha has one of the highest concentrations of call centers in the U.S. Why? Because Nebraskans have one the most neutral-sounding American accents in the country. And also, we can’t help but think, because they’re super-polite. Omaha might be a city you don’t hear about much, but that’s probably because they aren’t doing much wrong. As we’ve learned from Beekman 1802 and Sharon Springs…it’s hard to get press about good things that happen to good people.
Unfortunately, the one thing we didn’t have time for is a “Runza,” a traditional pocket sandwich of Nebraska and elsewhere in the Midwest. If anyone has a good recipe for a homemade one, post it in the comment section and we’ll make one here at home.
We want to thank the Mancusos for bringing us to the EXPO, and for everyone who came and greeted us. The most common greeting we heard from people was “Thank you for visiting Omaha.” And to that, we can only reply: “Who in their right mind wouldn’t?”