Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Inspired By Strangers

My bike, Sweet Pea, some posies, an awesome antique typewriter perched on a vintage secretary desk... with a great bottle of red wine and a Riedel glass.  Welcome TypeRider II to Friend, Nebraska & the Pour House!

One of the easiest things to do in life is to "settle in"; to get comfortable with how things are. Becoming complacent is a scary thing. Losing interest in anything new or different is a scary thought.  "Just because that's the way it is" doesn't settle well with me.  Without a sense of adventure (and a sense of humor of course), I think we lose a dimension of the world.  And sometimes, in our own little bubble of the world, we get too comfortable to remember that there is a whole big world out there, with interesting things to do and unique people to meet.  We need to remember that we don't always need to leave the comforts of home to experience this.  We can invite the world to us.  We are, after all, in the middle of everywhere, here in Nebraska!

A few months ago, our City Hall forwarded me an email from a woman that nobody had ever heard of.  Debbie typed, "Not sure what to do with this... would you be interested?".  I read on.  Apparently Maya Rachel Stein and Amy Tingle were on an adventure.  They were planning a second TypeRider tandem poetry tour across the United States, and they were wondering if Friend, Nebraska might be interested in participting in their effort.  Along the 1400 mile journey, their goal is to find sponsors who will purchase, decorate and dedicate a Little Free Library.  If you're not familiar with this project, it is a literacy effort that is based on the idea of "take a book, return a book" www.littlefreelibrary.org  There is no cost. It's a very simple process that is catching on all over the country.  It's a kind of social book club/exchange.  To date, there are thousands of registered, original Little Free Libraries cropping up all over.  Nebraska has about 30.  Our area has zero.  I thought maybe we should change that.

Well, I proposed the idea of promoting literacy and creativity to my friends at the Hysterical Society, and... being wacky minds of social thought... they thought it was a dandy idea.  After some discussion about where to locate the new little library, it was decided that the Yokel Courtyard will be the new home for our community project.  Getting the area kids involved in the Historic Warren Building, and creating a sense of community and ownership in the restoration process is an ongoing goal of the Friend Historical Society.  The Little Free Library dedication, writing poetry with these two tandem bicyclists, creating a chalk sidewalk quilt of poems, listening to storytelling and having food and fun is now on the agenda for this Friday.  And, proudly, there are more than 13 volunteers and organizations that have signed on to be a part of this effort.  The young mothers of the Friend Area Fund (FAF) have rallied the troops and they will provide a bicycle escort for Maya & Amy.  Everyone will meet at the Daisy Queen and await the twosome's arrival to Friend.  Then we will escort them, and their vintage trailer Maude, to Second Street, in front of the San Carlo Room.

Maude- poetry headquarters!
Next, it is time to get creative.  Squares of the sidewalk will have themes for families to decorate, encouraging a poetry quilt out front of the Pour House/San Carlo Room.  Maya & Amy will type away as they work with each child, creating an individualized poem.  FAF will provide ice cream treats, the Hystericals & Citizens State Bank popcorn, 1st Bank of Friend is sharing soda and water, Stone's Thoreau & PHouse will do garlic sticks, grilled veggies, fresh pesto and heirloom marinara sauce.  There will be a mime on hand to interact with the kids, the service dog in town will be mingling too, and we'll welcome the clown from Wilber!  At 7PM, the Nebraska Humanities has provided a grant for storytelling and kids will settle in to the San Carlo for stories of Hans Christian Anderson.  While they're being mesmerized, parents will join the poets in the back of PHouse for a wine tasting meet and greet.  On Saturday, after our poetry ladies have ventured on to Lincoln, the Hystericals will prepare to welcome the music of Paul Ramp to San Carlo.  Food, music and wine is available beginning at 7PM.
And in this process of creating this event, a huge, loud shout of thanks and gratitude goes out to my dad, John Potter, and our kind and talented local artist Mr. Greg Holdren.  Dad assembled our Little Free Library and Greg painted the Grow Your Knowledge theme for us.  Complete with a vintage porch post, the little library is decked out with flowers and a painted shingled roof.  In honor of our state bird, a meadolark perches on one side, watching to see what yougster will come to take a book next, while our own opera house resident spirit Mr. Frog Winslow is honored with a merry frog, perched on his back, basking in the sun and glory of his very own book.  Our Little Free Library is REALLY SUPER COOL!  We could not bring this Feed Your Soul weekend of events together without the help of everyone involved who somehow supported it.  We thank Maya & Amy for their creativity and quest to add dimension to our world, here in Friend.  We look forward to meeting you both.  We truly have been inspired by strangers.
 For more info, visit www.visitthepourhouse.com  www.FriendOperaHouse.com or search TypeRiderII Tandem Poetry Tour on Facebook. 


  1. Carey, yours is the kind of energy and enthusiasm we had hoped to spark on this adventure. Thank you for opening that email and opening your heart. We can't wait to see you in just a few days!

  2. Carey we are so grateful for you and all of the work you have so lovingly put into this event. We are so glad that email landed in the right hands months ago. We want to thank you and everyone involved in making us feel like poetic royalty before we even arrive. Can't wait to meet you all on Friday.