Monday, February 28, 2011

The Tonys

My father's name was Anton, his mothers name was Antonia and while in High School, I “inherited” the nickname Tony. The nickname has served me well and I seemed to have more friends when they could call me Tony rather than my given name of “Verlon”. With respect to my father, this picture shows a grandson, two great grandsons and me all answering to the name of Tony. We had a great time at this family reunion in Tomah, Wisconsin. 

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia

Many people who lived in the Northern Virginia area and worked in Washington, D.C., some years ago, had cabins out in the Blue Ridge Mountains where they would spend the weekend. Our neighbors, the Johnson's had such a place that included this little barn. We enjoyed our visit with them at their cabin but other than taking this picture, didn't fully appreciate the little barn at the time. Was the ladder the only way to get to the “haymow”. Had I walked through the barn door, I wonder what I would have found. More interestingly, had I just listened, I wonder what I may have heard. I wonder....

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Washington Cathedral Carillon

We had the priveledge of visiting the Washington Cathedral during the time the bells for the carillon were being installed. The carillon consists of 53 bells which were cast in Lounghborough, England. They were installed during the early 1960's and dedicated on September 22, 1963. The smallest bell of the carillon weighs 17 pounds. The largest weighs 24,000 pounds, or 12 tons, and measures eight feet, eight inches in diameter. The carillon is played via a keyboard and pedals, situated high in the Cathedral’s central tower (150 feet above the nave floor) and directly amid the bells. The keyboard controls a mechanical tracker system (similar to a tracker organ) that uses transmission wires to move the clappers. The bells remain stationary while a metal clapper strikes the inside of the casting.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Czech Mates

Who do you suppose was enjoying this session the most?? And, what tune do you think they may have been playing??

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Going Green berfore it's Time

When we had 3 kids in college at the same time without any student loans, sometimes they had to go on horseback.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Sons of the South

It's not too difficult to imagine that this young man might grow-up and some day impersonate Col. Silas Burke. Sitting at the feet of these prominate southerners, he looks like he's about to fly from their lofty perch. Neat picture.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Newcomers to the Nations Capitol

This might have been on George Washington's birthday back in the days when it was a National Holiday. It appears that not much was going on at the Nations capitol but the lawns were "greening up". We could use some of that today.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Back to Lincoln

Pioneer Park was always a favorite of our children when we lived in Lincoln. We would picnic in the summer. sled in the winter and enjoy ourselves whenever we were there. . After moving away and coming back to the area to visit family, it was often on the agenda along with “Tasty In & Out”. Some of the excitement of getting back to Nebraska was demonstrated in this picture.  

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Sunday evening in Seward

The Kitones sang at the Kiwanis Ham Dinner this evening. It has become a tradition for Seward High School Girls basketball Coach Tom Tvrdy and his young son to sing one number (Soon and Very Soon) with us. They are shown at the left end of the group. Coach Tvrdy's team won their 70th consecutive game on Friday night and will go into the District tournament as the #1 Class B team in the State and ranked 3rd overall. We have great expectations for them.
While eating we visited with Tobin Beck(back of head shown) who spent several years (early 90's to around 2007) in the Washington D. C. area. In talking about where he lived, he asked if we were familiar with Burke. We told him all about Col. Silas Burke with whom he was very knowledgable as well as with the RR Museum. Great team in a small world.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Blood Brothers

A few years ago Brothers "Bud", Jerry and Don were in the clubhouse after a round of golf in Tomah, WI. (We may have been there longer than I remember based on what I see in front of us.) Everyone there was a friend of Jerry's but one older guy sitting across the bar was a special friend. He had watched and listened to all of our conversation as he "sized-us-up" and then let us hear his conclusion. He said, " You know, you two big guys look like full brothers, but that 'little guy', that little guy might have had the same Mother but I don't think he had the same Daddy". Well, "truth be known" we are full, blood brothers.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Nebraska Baseball

Nebraska opens its baseball season today by playing Texas in a tournament at San Marcos. One reason for optimism this year is the presence of Darin Erstad as a volunteer batting coach. Erstad's 14 year major league career brings a wealth of experience plus his personal drive to the team. He was probably as well know as the Cornhusker punter as a baseball player during his career at the University. Some years ago I joined a conversation where baseball came up. I proudly told of having played town team ball with Garland in the Blue Valley League and Seward in the Cornhusker league. The 3rd fellow in the conversation said, “I've got a son-in-law who plays baseball”. I asked where he played and he told me the Los Angles Angels- Darin Erstead. I didn't talk any more about my having played the game.

Thursday, February 17, 2011


This is a follow up to yesterday's page and shows the family as the Kennedy cortege had moved on into Arlington Cemetery and we were walking back to our vehicle. The facial expressions partially show the emotion of the time. (Carolyn was caught in the middle of a sneeze). Did you notice that Jon has on a white shirt and a necktie. He didn't have school that day but “dressed up” to go down to the west end of Memorial Bridge to see the Cortege. I'm sure we as parents didn't “require” it but he did it on his own out of Respect. This may sound foreign in todays world but 50 years ago it was recognized that you put on your best clothes out of Respect for Special Occasions, and you acted accordingly. I'm not sure but suspect that Jon still puts on a white shirt and tie when he teaches his Sunday School class in Virginia. It may not be necessary but it isn't all bad either. We could use more Respect in the world today.  

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

A moment in history

We moved to the Washington, D.C. Area in the summer of 1962 when the Kennedy Administration had brought a youthful vigor to the Country. Though the job that took us there was non political, we all felt the enthusiasm of the Administration. President Kennedy's assassination was a tremendous loss to the Nation, the World and a personal loss to most of us. We watched the TV coverage of the long lines that passed through the Capitol as his body lie in state; saw the Navy Sea Chanters sing the Navy Hymn (Eternal Father Strong to Save); and watched the very impressive funeral services. At the appropriate time, we loaded our four children in our station wagon and drove the short distance from our home to the area near the west end of Memorial Bridge. It was from that vantage point that we watched the funeral cortege pass by on its way to Arlington Cemetery. My picture caught the horse drawn cortege with the flag draped casket but could never capture to emotion of the moment.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

"Love" Letters for Valentine's Day

As we had breakfast on Valentines Day, Elaine and I watched George and Barbara Bush on the Morning Show reminisce over old letters they had exchanged during the years before they were married. While I drank my coffee and read the newspaper, Elaine slipped away and returned with a Whitman Chocolate Candy box holding letters I had written to her during our “courting” days. They were not in the same romantic class as the Bush letters but after nearly 2 years of “Dear Elaine” I did write “Dearest Elaine”. My spelling was atrocious and subject matter was such, they could hardly be called love letters. I told of brother Jerry stepping on a piece of wire and having to get a Tetanus shot; of being snowbound and not getting mail for a week; the whole family's glee when sister Vivian got her engagement ring (We all liked Eddy); and, why I couldn't write much because there was corn to cultivate. It must have been a case of Divine Intervention since it certainly wasn't my literary persuasion that led to over 61 years (so far) of “Happily Married Bliss”.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Prized Bull-Prized Farmer

A farmer and his prized bull. This was a farmer before they were called “producers”. The term producer tends to imply using GMO seeds, chemical fertilizers, insecticides, pesticides, and all the necessary purchased inputs to raise and market grain crops. We call that production agriculture. A farmer by comparison used crop rotations with legumes and grasses; had diversified farms that included cattle, hogs, chickens, and spent years conserving and improving the quality of their soil and the quality of their livestock. This farmer spent over 35 years building a small herd of Polled Herebford cattle from a beginning back in the early 40's with the purchase of a few Registered Purebred Polled Herefords of the Domino strain. What you see resulted from his good judgement as to which animals were kept for breeding stock and which were sent to market. This picture is not only of a prized bull but a prized farmer; he was my Dad.

Sunday, February 13, 2011


There is something about the positions of the people in this picture that makes you wonder if they would be more at home in a Nebraska cornfield than on a Maryland Chesapeake Bay beach. The big guy wore a tee shirt to keep from getting sunburned but didn't realize that the tops of his feet were most vulnerable as was the top of his head with a close crew cut. Despite their lack of familiarity with the water, the kids had a great time with their cousins from Lincoln, NE.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Stair Steps

That same little girl that was pictured yesterday changed shoes and got dressed up to pose for this "stair step" picture with her 3 brothers. The boys and their Dad all had crew cuts from the Barber College down in Alexandria, VA. King Street, shown in the background, led directly down the hill past the Masonic Memorial to downtown Alexandria and the docks on the Patomic river.

Friday, February 11, 2011

New Shoes

The first thought in seeing this picture is probably, "What a cute little girl" (and, I agree). But if you look more closely at her face, you will notice an expression of "a little orneriness". By even further inspection, you will notice something unusual about her new white canvas shoes. They seem to have toes drawn on the shoes with bright red polish on the "toe nails".  Do you suppose the little "smirk" may have something to do with she and her Dad doing the thing on her new shoes at the chagrin of her Mother.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Respectfully Dressed for Church

Sunday school and Church activities were very important to us as we adjusted to living in the Northern Virginia (Washington, D.C.) area when our children were growing up. We became Presbyterian largely because of the proximity of the Church to our unit in the Fairlington Apartments but also because of  excellent childrens programs. And, who wouldn't be impressed with Rev. Gammon.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011


Our first years of living back in Northern Virginia were a tremendous change for our family. We did a lot of sightseeing as shown on this picture at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Arlington Cemetery. The Capitol, Washington Monument and the Jefferson Memorial all show in the background. The “little guy" grew up there and became so well adjusted to the area that he and his family took advantage of the opportunity to go back after having lived in many other locations around the country.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Eating light on a cold day

Meals were pretty simple at our house today on this the coldest day of the winter with a high of 4 degrees.  The Brat sandwich for lunch and vegetable soup for supper were ideal following an oatmeal breakfast. Of course, there were seconds and a serving of ice cream entered the picture after lunch. I got out this morning for coffee and some business at the bank. And, represented the City Council at the Library Board meeting this afternoon, will meet briefly with the Senior Service Commission this evening and then go on to see the Seward HS girls win their 68th consecutive basketball game. I did put on my blanket-lined pants and a wool shirt to keep warm.

Monday, February 7, 2011

A Snow Bunny-What Next

Would you believe that the Snow White Bear that appeared on my January 17 blog page has "Morphed" into this White Rabbit. After the "Bear" sat out for a few days, someone knocked it over. Then a day later someone sat it back up right in front of our garage door. I obviously had to move it in order to get the car out so picked it up and sat it to the side of the driveway. We have had enough thawing that it now takes on the appearance of a rabbit and enough cold weather to keep it from morfing into anything else. The eye is actually a hole. Stay tuned, it might even turn into water but a miracle for it to turn into wine.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

The Bride

Do you suppose a 7 year old girl dressed as a bride for a Halloween custom, envisioned what the future might hold. With the look in her eye, I think she did.

Friday, February 4, 2011

The Joy of Grandchildren

Computers were a bit of a novelty to grandchildren, Tony (age 6) and Maggie (age 4) when they came to visit in the spring of 1995. They came back from Indiana to visit soon after we were home from spending a few weeks at Victoria Palms in Donna, Texas and a train trip through the Copper Canyon in Mexico. As we read about such visits in my Journals, we can appreciate some of the events more now than at the time they actually happened. Tony was very much the big brother explaining to Maggie all about the computer and really looked after his little sister (He still does). Maggie was just what you would expect as demonstrated by my Journal entry that, “She knows more words than what she knows their meaning---but she comes close”.  Their sleeping quarters were apart from our bedroom but Maggie would wake up early and come crawl in bed with us. She would then set on my lap as I read the morning paper. One morning the sun had come up as we walked out into the living room and she asked, “Who turned the light on?” Was that a teaching moment or what??

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Stuff-Some Priceless

Most of us have a cashe of stuff stashed away somewhere that we keep for various reasons. Much of it to bring back pleasant memories and occasionally some things not so pleasant. In addition to my top dresser drawer,and a few other places, here is where some of my "stuff" is located in my "library-office". While my wife keeps talking about our need to get rid of a lot of our stuff, just this afternoon she handed me a Stark Brothers Nursery "Quota Buster" lapel pin that she found in a dresser drawer. It would have come to me back in the 1950's when I was doing some selling for them. I havn't missed it in all these years so maybe I should put it on eBay, instead I put it on the middle shelf (next to the little pickup truck). I also noticed the rusty, broken, quarter inch bolt that served as a sheer pin in the Bush Hog's power take-off system which reminded me that farming in our retirement years was not really that much  fun. But a prized possessioin at the right end of the top shelf is an old Aspirn bottle of clear glass with a screw off lid. It has a little Heart shaped pin cushion inside along with some dried Babysbreath flowers. The little cloth label tied to the bottle has the message: "Bottled Love-1992". Priceless

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Boat ride on the Potomac

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A boat ride on the Potomac some years ago near Washington, D.C. Some of you may even recognize yourself.