A Generational Idea

It all started with a dream, a passion, and God given craftsmanship dating back to 1969. In 1969, Gerald Anthony Mick and his wife Patricia moved away from the original homestead near the Platte River to a small acreage harboring minimal vegetation for acres. Besides a few large Eastern Cottonwoods and Eastern Red cedars on the property and enough thistle, buffalo bur, and sandburs to choke full grown mules, the acreage looked pretty bleak.

Grandpa broke the ground in early 1970 when he began staking and building what would soon become his family’s home. When I sat down to ask grandma how it all started as far as the house was concerned, she said, “Jerry sat me down one evening and asked what I wanted in my house. I told him, ‘Well, I would like an A frame house with large support beams and something that resembles little house on the prairie, or even a small Cottage.’ He responded, ‘Do you know how much wasted space there is in the loft of an A frame house?’ Sure enough grandpa made my dreams come true and then some.”

Grandpa was a farmer his entire life, but his true passion was working with plants and woodworking. He was an artist of all kinds. From wood burning, wittling, carpentry, oil paintings, and more, grandpa was a true one-of-a-kind man. Grandma was a school teacher and loved helping on the farm preparing meals, caring for their 3 children, tidying up the house, and keeping old pops in line. They had 3 beautiful girls Jene’, Lyne’ (who is my lovely mother), and Andre’.
As the years passed, grandpa began studying his property and realized the Mormon and the OxBow trail had at one time passed through his property. After he realized this, he started planting hundreds of native trees, shrubs, and wildflowers. He did this to bring back the history of the pioneer men and also to reveal God’s beautiful creation in nature.

On April 30th of 1997, Gerald Anthony Mick opened what is today known as OxBow Pioneer Memorial Park. I was about 3 or 4 at the time and living in Sheridan, Wyoming. My father and I were on a trip back to Nebraska in search of a home, while my mother was still back in Wyoming with my two sisters waiting for a house to open up in Nebraska. I went to the grand opening of OxBow Pioneer Memorial park and can remember it as if it were yesterday. Of course I didn’t know what really was happening, but I remember hundreds of cars lined the property to see the ruts the covered wagons made a couple hundred years ago. Men and women showed up on horses and buggies from all over Nebraska. Grandpa made speeches about our Nebraska history, took photos, and sipped on dark black coffee resembling motor oil all day long.

When I was 12 years of age I began working with grandpa. My summer job consisted of mowing, trimming, planting, hoeing, weed whipping, building, and gardening till the age of 16. We made many memories out in the Park together those few short years. I remember telling myself, “Someday I want to live out here and do exactly what I am doing right now.” Grandpa had a golf cart on which he used to putt around. He would drive me all over the Park telling me about the wildflowers, offering me Red Man chew or Levi Garrett tobacco and telling me, “Now don’t go tellin’ your mother I gave you some of this,” as he chuckled and jiggled. He told me stories of the pioneer men, which I am not sure if I can believe or not.
However what I remember most about Gerald Anthony Mick was his passion and love for the Lord. He loved his Creator with all his heart, soul, and mind. On October 8th, 2008, grandpa passed away from a brain tumor. I was only 16 at the time and he was a young 65 years of age. I work today in the same shop he built using many of his tools, and I strive to continue a legacy that I hope to pass down to many generations.