Tuesday, August 08, 2017

Edward Babe Gomez Avenue

Edward Babe Gomez Avenue

The Metropolitan Community College
Campus where I work
Is on the land where the
Omaha Stockyards used to be,
bounded by L St and Q St to
the north and south and
30th St and 33rd St to
the east and west, give or take.
The Livestock Exchange Building
Is still on the site but has
Been converted into apartments
And businesses.
I attended a ROTC Ball there
When in high school. The top floor
Was a ballroom. Might still be.
But the stockyards are gone.
The MCC hallways are lined
With photographs, black and white,
Of the stockyards in full operation, and other
South Omaha’s businesses of the day.
The campus is on Edward Babe Gomez Avenue.
Babe Gomez earned a posthumous
Medal of Honor for covering a grenade
Tossed into his group of soldiers
During the Korean War, a “police action”
By the United Nations.
An elementary school is named after him, too.
Other Nebraskans earning a Medal of Honor
Include Wild Bill Cody and former
Governor and Senator Bob Kerrey.
As I arrive in the mornings about 9:30
I will often pass long lines of brown UPS trucks
Headed the other direction out into the community
Delivering their goods.
I will also pass long lines of areated semi-trucks trailers,
Filled with cattle at one of the
Remaining processing plants
Up on the hill just north and west.
One by one they back up to the
unloading dock to dispense their cargo.
“Processing plant” has a much better
Sound that slaughterhouse, but those cattle
When unloaded meet a sudden fate
At the hands of workers, mostly immigrants,
Making their living.
On warm humid days,
In the MCC parking lots,
You can often smell the “processing” odors
Wafting up from the sewer grate storm drains,
Another reminder of days long gone.


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