Hast ever been to Omaha,
Where rolls the dark Missouri down,
And four strong horses scarce can draw
An empty wagon through the town?
Where sand is blown from every mound,
To fill your eyes and ears and throat;
Where all the steamers are aground,
And all the shanties are afloat?
Where whisky-shops the livelong night
Are vending out their poison-juice;
Where men are often very tight,
And women deemed a trifle loose?
Where taverns have an anxious guest
For every corner, shelf, and crack;
With half the people going West,
And all the others going back?
Where theaters are all the run,
And bloody scalpers come to trade;
Where every thing is overdone
And every body underpaid?
If not, take heed to what I say;
You'll find it just as I have found it;
And if it lies upon your way,
For God's sake, reader, go around it!
--John Godfrey Saxe (1869)