Today I turned on The Flaming Lips’ At War With the Mystics for the kids. (Ya ya ya ya ya ya.) It took a nanosecond for my brain to whip-pan to my 20’s.
The Flaming Lips at Stir Cove. Conor Oberst. Jenny Lewis at Slowdown. Andrew Bird. Feist at Memorial Park. Howl at Film Streams. Belgians and frites at Dario’s. Scotch at Dundee Dell. Dancing at The Max. Midnight curry fries from New Amsterdam. Pitchers of champagne at The Homy.
Deliciously fried breakfast at Radial Cafe. (A moment of silence for the grease-coated Cecil’s.) Creme brulee french toast from Wheatfields. The chime of the starting bell at the farmer’s market. Jazz and dark roasted coffee at Blue Line. Pain au raisin and an Americano from The Bread Oven (may you rest in peace). Birthday dinner at Boiler Room. And lord help me, what I wouldn’t do for a whiskey filet from The Drover right now.
Semi-failing at latkes, crepes, an Indian feast for a crowd.
A giant portion of these memories… I don’t share them with my husband, though we lived there together for nearly six years. He deployed frequently enough that I created a life of my own, outside of (and also within) the Air Force community, outside of my work. It was a full, rich life, and I find myself missing it very much. Some of it is simply the result of now being a parent of two small children, and missing the freedom of the child-free years. Who wouldn’t? Back then, I would explain that my husband and I were single, as a unit of course, because we didn’t have kids and could do as we pleased.
While returning to Omaha in the future (should it happen) will certainly place me there in a different stage of life – with kids – I can’t say I’d be disappointed to go back. It feels in some ways as much my home as, well, home. It also happens that some of my favorite people in the world have lived there at one point in time or another or still.
For anyone heading to Offutt: it’s what you make of it. Omaha can be great; embrace it. And don’t you dare forget to visit Dundee. You won’t want to miss eCreamery.