I was reading this week [something new? ]. And, I was reminded that the Platt had often been described as "a mile wide and an inch deep". But, I never knew that the "Wide" Missouri had been described as "too thin to plow and too thick to drink." This got me into reviewing the exploits of Lewis and Clark on their trip up the Missouri in the early 1800s.

There is a famous quote from Mark Twain's "Huck Finn" that goes something like this: "I reck'n I got to light out for the Territory ahead of the rest, 'cause Aunt Sally she's goin'-a adopt me and civilize me, and I cane't take that." The Territory, that mythical place outside the USofA where imagination beckoned and freedom reigned. That wonderful unregulated, yet to be civilized place beyond the reach of law and polite behavior.

We all are a little like Huck Finn, searching for that mythical place where we dream of unsettled land, a haven from governmental controls, the place of unfettered self-realization. It is such a strong image that we now transfer it to places like the Moon and Mars. The elusive frontier ... the "territory".

In 1803, when the Spanish turned over the Louisiana Purchase to the United States of America. [Yes, I'm aware that at the time France owned it.] Two men and a party of adventurers opened up, with their reports two years later, enough territory to more than double the existing size of the country. Some of that territory opened the state of Nebraska as part of the "territory".

Did you know that Vermont, Kentucky, Maine, Texas, California, and West Virginia never went through the territory period in the expansion westward. Nebraska did though.

Territorial periods lasted between two and sixty-two years. Two years for Alabama and sixty two years for New Mexico. Someone born in the year the New Mexico territory was established was in their sixties when it became a state.

Back to Lewis and Clark for a bit. They did the service they were sent to do, explore the "new" territory. However, they were European in background and mind. They met so many, many peoples on that journey, yet failed to realize that these were separate peoples [nations] and thus failed to grasp the dynamics among these varied peoples. They presumed that all these people would welcome the concept of "our ‘Father' in Washington." Instead they often upset the "status quo" or balance of power that these nations had developed.

And, in many ways, the development of the territories developed their own relationships. The territorial arrangement was neocolonial in principle, but very much laissezfaire, all the same. Local influences gained free play. The territorial periods, with their degrees of personal freedom, had to be traded for the benefits of statehood.

This is our history. And, we forget that it is our history, not our existence. Who among us hasn't daydreamed of that frontier freedom of our folklore — our mythology. That personal freedom which is so much a part of our minds and our culture.

History in the Making Department or Stories I'm saving to read when I get old.

Our newest Nebraska Grandchild is learning early. Yesterday her Grandmama took long periods of time to answer in InstantMessenger. Reason: the Grandchild was getting a lesson in surviving at the computer in Grandma's lap. To this little one and her Grandma, the following paragraph is dedicated.

Each of us live a bit of history, make a bit of history even. Thursday the two grands of Barb and I took in the World Famous Toledo Zoo [again]. The wind was a "March Kite" day and then some. And, little children have their favorite items. To Rhys it is her "tuck-tuck" [a small version of Linus' blanket] and Liam has what once passed for a terry-cloth cow, very much loved, called very affectionately, "Cowie". The wind took "tuck-tuck" away and Liam insisted that we stop and retrieve it for his sister. What he, nor we, realized that "Cowie" had "blown" away also. Long story short we could not retrace our steps and find it after several tries. Liam with faith of his age, reported that "Cowie" would come home. Well, yesterday, his Mom took him to the zoo again, because he just knew "Cowie" was there waiting for him. When they entered the Museum which houses fantastic "bug" and "frog" displays, sitting on a chair just inside an office [whose door just happened to be open], sat "Cowie". Liam, said simply, "See, Mommy, I told you Cowie would come home." One of the Zoo Employees found "Cowie" and said that anything in this decrepit a condition has to be loved very much and will be missed, so they put it in a place to be seen.