I am not sure what the official population is these days in Milnesand, but even with a generous mileage allowance, you would be hard-pressed to get into double figures.
That is why it is truly amazing to watch this community rally each year to host the High Plains Prairie Chicken Festival. When I say "community," I speak of all of us who belong to this place, including a number of kind-hearted souls who become temporary citizens for a few days each year to help make it work.
I cannot think of an able-bodied resident who was not there at some point — grilling burgers, flipping pancakes, emptying trash cans, giving directions, wiping down tables, sweeping floors, filling ice chests, and — best of all — offering giant-hearted hospitality to the 100 visitors who came from as far away as Canada to witness the springtime mating ritual of our adorable feathered neighbors, the lesser prairie chickens.
Proceeds from this event help support the Milnesand Community and its volunteer fire department, but the event itself enriches us in ways that cannot be measured in dollars.
We always finish this weekend exhausted, but chock-full of good stories, shared laughter, great food, and enough images to fill several pages in the collective scrapbook.
Community. What a beautiful word.
Betty Williamson lives on the northeastern suburbs of the Milnesand community. You may reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.