Is it true, Spoon River,
That in the hall–way of the New Court House
There is a tablet of bronze
Containing the embossed faces
Of Editor Whedon and Thomas Rhodes?
And is it true that my successful labors
In the County Board, without which
Not one stone would have been placed on another,
And the contributions out of my own pocket
To build the temple, are but memories among the people,
Gradually fading away, and soon to descend
With them to this oblivion where I lie?
. . . .
Edgar Lee Master, Spoon River Anthology (1915) (E.C. Culberstson).
I am not sure, but when I die I think I want to be remembered for one thing and that is B-1, an earthen dam and a flood control and water recharge reservoir in the hills northwest of Lexington, Nebraska.* Tangentially, I participated in the building of that structure. Lawyer’s don’t get the opportunity very often to help build a structure that could last several centuries.
My contribution was small. I condemned the land where the structure was built. When the dam began to crack because the contractor erred while making the weight-bearing calculations of the soil, I represented the owner, the Central Platte Natural Resources District, in a law suit that resulted in a fix.
B-1 will outlast me. It was built to last.
When I am dust, if my children or their children or their children’s children venture into the hills above the Platte Valley and find a spot at 40°55’00.1″N 99°51’41.4″W perhaps they will remember me. If nothing else, they should stand atop the large earthen dam and, if a drought is not present, they should gauze at the wind rippled waters that back up behind the huge earthen wall. They should luxuriate in the solitude.
I hope one of them utters, “not bad.”
*At the time, the earthen dam itself was the largest of its kind in Nebraska.