I met Jeanne Goetzinger several years ago, when my daughter, Meghan, and I were exploring northwest Nebraska. We saw a lot of interesting things on that trip, but none was more memorable than the straight-talking, curly-haired woman who greeted us in the parking lot of the historic Olde Main Street Inn and encouraged us to step up to the bar and enjoy a refreshing Sarsaparilla after a long day’s drive. She was unlike anyone else we encountered on our week-long, annual trek across our home state. She was a kindred spirit, but tough as nails and I couldn’t wait to introduce her to my husband, Steve, when we decided to spend a night in Chadron this summer.

Checking in to the Olde Main Street Inn in Chadron, NE. (Photo by Ann Teget for postcard jar.com)

Checking in to the Olde Main Street Inn in Chadron, NE. (Photo by Ann Teget for postcard jar.com)

We arrived at the Olde Main Street Inn mid-evening and Jeanne, a second-generation innkeeper, came down from her second-floor apartment to unlock the front door for us. First, she introduced us to her companion, an American Stag Hound named Grace, whom she rescued two and a half  years ago, even though she suspected (by the look in her eyes) that the dog was pregnant. In fact, the dog gave birth to 10 puppies three weeks later and Jeanne says Gracie was responsible for making 10 families very happy. After introductions, she kindly invited us to take a seat at the empty bar, asked what we’d like to drink and then poured herself a glass of wine. While her glass sat practically untouched, Steve and I sipped our cold beers and listened to Jeanne reminisce about the historic hotel and the many characters who have graced its doors.

The bar at the Olde Main Street Inn. (Photo by Ann Teget for postcard jar.com)

The bar at the Olde Main Street Inn. (Photo by Ann Teget for postcard jar.com)

She told us about the room where General Nelson Miles stayed when the hotel was his headquarters during the Wounded Knee Massacre in the 1890s. She explained how her mother, Evva, purchased the hotel and restaurant in 1969 and managed it until Jeanne took over in 1990, retiring her mother to what she calls “Grande Dame status.” And she was most excited to name drop the authors, artists, and celebrities (Dick Cavett and Woody Harrelson to name a few) who have spent time at the Olde Main Street Inn over the years.

Today, the inn serves as a bed and breakfast and the bar is open Wednesday through Saturday. According to Jeanne, it attracts quite an eclectic group of locals and travelers that make thought-provoking conversation. We were there on a Monday, so the inn was pretty quiet — just us and few construction workers. We asked her if the bar attracts many of the college students who attend Chadron State College up the street. She said, “Just the really smart ones. I don’t serve Red Bull. And I don’t serve Jägermeister. Whoever thought an energetic drunk was a good idea?”

After our welcome drink, she walked us up two flights of steps and down a wide hallway to our third-floor room.

It was fun to think about the cowboys, Generals, and celebrities who have also walked these wide hallways. (Photo by Ann Teget for postcard jar.com)

It was fun to think about the cowboys, Generals, and celebrities who have also walked these wide hallways. (Photo by Ann Teget for postcard jar.com)

Because all of the rooms have full beds (just like in the 1800s) and my 6’4″ husband and I would not fit well in one, we chose to stay in the Railroad Room, as it had two beds and a small bathroom. The room and its railroad-themed contents were dated, but Jeanne made sure the bathroom was clean, the sheets were freshly pressed, and it met our needs after a long day of exploring Western Nebraska.

We stayed in the railroad-themed room at the Olde Main Street Inn. (Photo by Steve Teget for postcard jar.com)

We stayed in the railroad-themed room at the Olde Main Street Inn. (Photo by Steve Teget for postcard jar.com)

As we walked back to the hotel through the alleyway after having dinner at Maria’s around the corner, we were greeted again by Jeanne and her 88-year-old mother. They were outside, enjoying Jeanne’s garden area behind the hotel and they graciously invited us in. We explored her potted flowers and herbs and admired the clematis and hens and chicks she had planted herself. The garden was a respite for the two women and apparently, for anyone else walking by who needed a break or a quiet and relaxing place to rest.

Jeanne tends to her garden behind The Olde Main Street Inn. (Photo by Ann Teget for postcard jar.com)

Jeanne tends to her garden behind The Olde Main Street Inn. (Photo by Ann Teget for postcard jar.com)

When we came downstairs the next morning, Jeanne was ready and waiting with a cinnamon roll and a strong cup of coffee. We visited about our plans for the week and she told us more stories about the inn, the people of Chadron, and the eclectic collection of decor and art work that encompasses the entire building. She even took a few minutes to tell us about how she first became interested in spinning yarn and then even demonstrated her craft for us. Click here to see Jeanne spinning yarn!

She walked us through what used to be a formal dining room and showed off her daughter, Lorri Meng’s paintings. Jeanne’s love and appreciation of art was evident. She told us she was even going to open the dining room this summer for a special exhibition called “Au Naturale:  A Celebration of Art and the Human Body.” The free exhibition would give local artists like Don Ruleaux, Robin Smith, Lorri Meng, and Bob Zillig an opportunity to display their art in one-of-a-kind fashion — perhaps a first for rural Nebraska. 

As we prepared to leave the Olde Main Street Inn, Jeanne asked if she could fill our cooler with ice and gave us each a bottle of water for the road. When my husband extended his hand to thank her for her hospitality, she brushed it aside and said,”I’m a hugger. Always have been.” She gave us each a warm hug, wished us well, and sent us on our way. As Steve and I walked to the car, we smiled at each other and didn’t even need words to express what we were both thinking. It’s people like Jeanne who make Nebraska especially nice.

  • Last week, we had the pleasure of making handmade pasta (via the internet) with our friends, Deb and Massi, who were in their home kitchen in Italy. ⁣
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You can read all about it, and get the recipe, on our blog. Yep, you guessed it, the link is in our bio. ⁣
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We met Deb and Massi of @italyunfiltered a few years ago when they created an amazing food and wine itinerary for us. We've remained friends and it was so good to see them, even if they were a world away.
  • We were supposed to be in Rochester, Minnesota, this week for Ann to see a cardiac sarcoidosis specialist about some recent issues with her heart. Of course, we did not travel to Rochester for her scans and doctor visits because of the coronavirus outbreak.⁣
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Instead, her cardiologists called her from their homes and her scans and tests will likely be delayed until June or July. We'll keep in close touch with them if anything changes, as well. We are so grateful for all of the healthcare professionals who are continuing to work crazy hours from home as well as in our hospitals around the world.⁣
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This is such an unprecedented and stressful time for all of them. Words will never be enough to convey our gratitude for the roles they are playing in the battle against this deadly virus while caring for those with other diseases and illnesses at the same time. ⁣
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Every healthcare provider we've talked with in the last two weeks has had the same message for those of us who don't have to go to work at a hospital. ⁣
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Just. Stay. Home.
  • Yesterday was Day 16 of social isolation for us. Because of Ann's underlying heart condition and suppressed immune system, we've cooked all our meals at home (no takeout). We've starting to get more and more creative as time has gone by. ⁣
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Last night, we made chicken and shrimp vindaloo and learned online how to make homemade naan.⁣
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It wan't as good as our favorite Indian restaurant, The Oven, but it did satisfy the craving we've had for Indian food. ⁣
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What are you craving these days?
  • We moved our living room furniture around this week and put two swivel chairs near the sliding glass door. Each day, we take time to turn around, rest our minds, enjoy in the view, and just be. #webelieveinhome
  • Our daughter, Meghan, is a cardiac ICU nurse. Despite all of the current uncertainties in healthcare during this pandemic, early this morning she put on her scrubs and went to work a 12+ hour shift. 
She is not alone. Across the country and around the world, healthcare workers are putting the safety of themselves and their families at risk to help others. It's what they do. Every. Single. Day. 
We are incredibly grateful that there are selfless people like this in the world and we pray for them and we hope you'll join us. 
We couldn't sleep this morning, so we wrote instead. Click on the link in our bio to read our morning thoughts and prayers.
  • Trying to decide where we’ll travel this weekend. Covered porch? Living room? 😉
  • We are staying home. 
We've been here for almost a week now because Ann is one of "those people." You know the ones. Those people with an underlying health issue. Those people with a suppressed immune system. One of those people who could become seriously ill, need hospitalization, and even die if exposed to the coronavirus.  Those people need your help to stay safe and live. And all you have to do is stay home when you don’t NEED to be out.

Over the past few days, we’ve seen photos, videos, and witnessed first hand people of all ages (but mostly young people) gathering in groups for what us mid lifers would consider “non essential” reasons: birthday parties, movies, youth sports practices, St. Patty’s Day celebrations at the bar, spring break at the beach, and the like. 
We don’t understand it. 
We try not to judge. 
But just for a time during this worldwide pandemic, could we ask people who are participating in non-essential activities to consider who “those people” most at risk really are?

Those people are already battling serious illnesses.

Those people want to see their grandchildren grow up.

Those people need to do their jobs as nurses and doctors.

Those people are first responders. 
Those people run the grocery store, and the pharmacy, and the gas station. 
Those people pray for you and your generation. 
And what about those other people? 
The ones you know.

Those people who made sacrifices to meet your needs.

Those people who took care of you when you were sick.

Those people who went to your games and cheered you on. 
Those people who taught you in school.

Those people who helped you pay for college.

Those people who cooked your favorite dish for you.

Those people who taught your Sunday School class.

Those people who have forgiven you.

Those people who will always love you unconditionally.

We keep wanting to scream, “It’s not about you, it’s about those people!” But the truth of the matter is, IT IS ABOUT YOU. 
You have the power to help.
You have the power to influence others.
You have the power to flatten the curve.

And by not changing your behaviors, you also have the power to harm. 
How will you choose to use your power?j
  • We’re sharing your postcards and encouraging you to help others and stay positive. 
If you’d like to send us a postcard, mail to: Postcard Jar, PO Box 334, Crete, NE 68333.

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