Great Plains Wondering: You can meet nice people in rural America

Brandon Case
Pratt Tribune
Brandon Case

“The point is, you can’t outrun a storm,” my wife said, as we emerged from the machine shed to a light mist. 

It was the last day of July, and, I thought, a good evening for a ride after, perhaps, one too many kolaches earlier at the Wilson After Harvest CzechFest. Weather radar seemed to show that the storm was moving away from Pratt, even with the thunder rumbling as we headed north, away from the storm. 

As we pedaled away from town on Highway 281, it seemed like the storm started following us. Somewhere north and east of Iuka, a stop to check weather radar on the cellphone confirmed that: we were directly in the path of what looked a bad storm, which was creeping down Northeast 70th Street, just behind us. 

So I started knocking on doors, hoping to find someone at home who would allow us to shelter in a barn or shed. 

After a couple of unsuccessful attempts (no one answered), we pulled up to the house of Tyler Zimmerman. The storm hadn’t yet arrived, but it wasn’t too far away. We knocked. Tyler answered. “Sure,” he said, we could stay in his machine shed until the storm blew over. 

So we pedaled over that way, parked our bikes inside, and watched the storm roll in from the west. The guinea hens didn’t seem too excited about it initially, nor did the two kittens out playing together as a light rain began to fall. The goat and ponies, taking no chances, were the first inside the barn. All of a sudden, with a flourish, the guinea hens took off and disappeared, followed shortly by the kittens that shot toward the barn as heavier rain began to fall. 

The storm didn’t strike our location as severely as it first appeared it would. The worst of it veered off toward Stafford and gradually dissipated. 

In any case, it was good to find a refuge, and we can thank Tyler Zimmerman for that. That’s one of the nice things about living in rural America and Pratt County. There’s always someone out there who’s willing to open up the door, even if it’s for a man and a woman dressed in brightly-colored Lycra clothing.