Friday, September 30, 2011

Little League Baseball

With the Major League Playoffs underway, it seemed appropriate to reminisce about family baseball. Pictured is Tim about to score a run for the "Tops" Little League team back in Virginia in the spring of 1963. Mr. Buchard, the team manager who had played professional baseball is shown coaching 3rd base.  Tim's season was interrupted on May 2nd when he broke a bone in his right foot sliding into 2nd base. He was batting lead-off and had 2 hits in the game. We had him soak his ankle in hot water when we got home and Elaine took him over to Dr. Mitchell's office the next morning and on down to the Anderson Clinic where they put a cast on his foot. He went on to play in a band concert that afternoon. When we took Tim down to see Mr. Buchard, he said: "There goes left field". 
A few days later Mr. Buchard told us that the team would cover the cost of Tim's treatment and that he was keeping him on the roster for next year. Actually he came back sooner than expected and was able to finish out the season after about a month of being on the "disabled list". May was a busy month for us with Merle Thompson spending a weekend, the USDA Honor Awards with LBJ and Secretary Freeman addressing the group, we were looking at houses to buy, SCS picnic at the Log Lodge in the National Arboretum, finished a course at USDA Grad. School, Mother, Kathy & Dorothy Lavicky flew in to Friendship Airport and spent a few days with us. During the time they were there we did a lot of sight seeing. 
Tim, you may need to edit or add to some of this but it was fun to do. Those were very busy but good days. 

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Julie's Visit

Julie stopped by this morning on her way to work. Elaine was gone to Bible Study and I was just ready to shave when the door opened. We sat in the living room and visited for nearly half and hour. Now that may not sound like a "big deal" to most people but it was probably the most time that she and I have been alone together since she got married over a year ago. Its not that we haven't had a good relationship during the time but that there were always other people around or that she was just meeting Elaine to go to lunch or some such thing. We covered a wide rage of topics during our visit including her speaking to a group of Extension Club ladies in Omaha yesterday about her Martha Steward experience in NY city.  
I told her of having spoken to a group of people in the same building some years ago about a Natural Resources issue. We had a great visit-the highlight of my day. There is some 20 years of time between these two pictures but the close relationship still exist as shown years ago. We don't have weeds to cut or garden to tend as we did at that time but still need to find more things to do together. I realize she has a #1 man in her life with whom we couldn't be more pleased, and a #2 in Ben who will do anything for her. So if I expect to have more of her time, I may have to take up "Quilting" .


Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Lunch, Golf & Shopping

Elaine and I met brother Don and Gladys at the Mongolian Grill and Chinese Buffet in Lincoln this noon for lunch. If you can call the amount some of us ate, "lunch". They have the most excellent food for the least money of any place around. After topping off our meal with ice cream, the ladies went to the Gateway Shopping Center. Don and I went down 70th Street to the Holmes Golf Course. Don played 36 holes yesterday in Syracuse and usually plays 18. The only way I've played 18 this year is when playing by myself with two balls. So with some concern about the ladies having too much shopping time, we decided on playing just 9. Being seniors and mid-week it cost us just $14.50 with a cart. . There were golfers teeing off on #1 when we were ready to go, so the club pro started us on #10 and we played the back nine. Don did concede to my wishes by playing the middle tees. He has a new set of hybrid clubs which he hits very well.

Don got off a good tee shot on the 378 yard 13th hole, hit his 17degree hybrid on to the green and made a 12' putt for a birdie. Not to be outdone, I put my tee shot on the green at the next hole and made a 35' putt for my birdie. We basically played bogey golf from there on out and each finished with a 42. The course is in beautiful shape with little evidence of the fungus that we've had in Seward. It is a very "open" course with wide fairways and large greens. I did have to use my "foot machie" on one occasion for safety reasons and bumped the ball occasionally, but didn't take any "gimmes" of over 2'This was the first time this season that I've golfed anywhere except here in Seward. I was really apprehensive about even trying it today but enjoyed it to the extent that we are planning on getting together again in Syracuse and here in Seward. Oh yes, we found the ladies when we got back to the Shopping Center. They had a good afternoon shopping and it was an exceptionally good day of golfing

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Senior "Golf"

We "Seniors" play "golf" for exercise, fellowship, to enjoy the outdoors and Mother Nature. We don't necessarily follow all the rules as set down by the PGA. Here is one of the fellows that plays with us quite frequently teeing up his second shot on the short grass fairway. He has had some health problems over the past couple years and played very little last year. This year his health is improving but he has difficulty hitting the ball for any distance. In this case he doubted that he could get across the pond with anything other than his driver with the ball teed up. He counts an extra stroke each time for such a shot and no one complains. It is standard practice among all of us seniors to take a mulligan on our initial tee shot if necessary.
We also "bump" the ball in the fairway as well as the rough. Mulligans are taken occasionally but often recorded as an "m" to ease our conscience. "Gimme putts" are of course standard. The only question is the distance to qualify. It has been acceptable in charitable events to give putts the length of the putter head to the grip, or about 2', but that interpretation is not always respected.  "Foot mashies" are utilized occasionally when a person could be injured by trying to hit the ball near a tree or with the hazard of overhead  low hanging branches. Some of us have even been known to skip around and play the holes that are open if the course is crowded in certain spots. One rule that seems to be highly respected is the matter of "not grounding the club" in a sand trap. Yes, we do keep score because we play by the same "rules" every day and everything is done out in the open. We are competitive among ourselves as we enjoy the fresh air, exercise, and fellowship. Maybe we should call it "Flog" though instead of golf.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Kiwanis Installation

The Kiwanis Club of Seward held its annual Officer Installation at the Seward Country Club this evening. Sandy Scheinost, Lt. Governor from the Capitol City Club in Lincoln was out to perform the ceremony. Shown here is Sandy handing "a piece of the puzzle" to outgoing President, Cheryl Ingerslew while incoming President, Julie Klimn stands by. Jack Swanson, also shown, is a member of the Kitones, who sang earlier and were recognized for having completed 40 years of service to the community. Maury Zwick of the Kitones was chosen by President Cheryl as her "Kiwanian of the Year" for his dedicated work in preparing and putting away the material utilized at each weekly meeting. Bud and Betty Hasenbrock were also out from the Capitol City Club for the event along with Sandy's husband, Steve. Steve has retired from the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) as a Soil Scientist. Bud is a former Lt. Governor of Division 22 and longtime arborist and landscape manager for the UN-L east campus. He and Betty are long time family friends. We had a great time and enjoyed visiting. It's going to be a great year with President Julie's leadership.

Sunday, September 25, 2011


I had an interesting conversation this morning with a fellow who had recently visited a large manufacturing plant of farm machinery and other commercial equipment in Illinois. He told of the number of employees in the plant some years ago compared to today's workforce that continues to increase output of finished products. It is accomplished by replacing human labor with robots. The Internet has a wealth of information on the history and use of robotics. Among the interesting things that I learned is that the term, "robot" comes from the Czech word, "robota" which translates to "drudgery". Hence, robots have come into use during the past 50 years to replace the repetitive work that was associated with manufacturing. However, they have gone far beyond performing simple tasks as they advanced in ability and are utilized in every fields from health care to warfare. I saw my first robot in a center pivot irrigation plant in Nebraska some 25 years ago. It performed a simple spot-welding task with perfection and replaced 2 or 3 skilled workers. Robots do wonderful things these days but it seems we have devoted more energy in their development and use that we have in providing employment opportunities for those being replaced. Then I remind myself that the Vogel Brothers Blacksmith shop that employed several men here is Seward 50 years ago, isn't here anymore either. It has been said that, "Life is a race between retirement and obsolescence", but what do I know.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

The Bobcat Company

Perry is a Regional salesman for the Bobcat Company and often plays golf with us on weekends when he is in town. He loaned me a book that the company published to commemorate their 50 years of progress. The company has an interesting history with some similarities to Hughes Bros. Co. here in Seward in that four Melroe brothers were instrumental in the growth of the company. The Bobcat company has its roots in the Melroe Manufacturing Company in Gwinner, ND that was set up back in the late '40's to build windrow pickup attachments for combines. We had such an attachment for our combine which we used in harvesting sweet clover seed when I was growing up. In the '50's, Eddy Velo, a turkey farmer in MN inspired the Keller brothers who were local blacksmiths, to build a small three-wheel loader for cleaning manure from his pole barn. The Melroe brothers purchased the manufacturing rights and the Keller brothers went to work for the Melroes. This was the humble beginning of a business that was later purchased by the Clark Equipment Company in 1969, by Ingersoll-Rand in 1995 and the Doosan Group of South Korea in 2007 for 4.9 billion dollars.The Bobcat Skid-Loader is sold worldwide and has the popularity that other competing products are often called “Bobcats”. The Bobcat company produces over 70 attachments for the skid-loader along with other laborsaving machines. They make a Utility Vehicle which has competition from several other companies. Utility vehicles are getting popular even here in Seward. Perry has been with the Company for a number of years and tells me that he knew the Melroe brothers. As a banker in one of the neighboring small towns, his Dad did the payroll for the Bobcat Co. in the early days. We may not be able to duplicate success stories of this nature today but certainly need to promote innovative small business opportunities.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Real Estate Auction

Our current Seward Independent carried this ad for an auction coming up next month. Public tax records indicate that all 4 properties are owned by Liberty First Credit Union of Lincoln, NE. One can't help but have empathy for the previous owners and I'm sure there is a "story" associated with each of the homes. I know little about the recent owners but the houses each rekindle memories. Elaine recalls delivering produce from the farm when she was a young girl, to the people who had the house at 603 S. 3rd. St. The next house at 521 S. 3rd. was built in 1918 and is the "newest" of the four. I have noted the assessed value for tax purposes in 1999 and 2010 along with the actual real estate property tax for those years. The little house at 234 E. Bradford, was built in 1888 and within a block of Elaine and my first house; I drove past it for several years on my way to work. The big house at 848 Seward St. is one that I remember walking past on my way to kindergarten. It is unique by being set back in the middle of the lot which runs through to the next street north. It was maybe  this uniqueness that made it "scary" to a youngster and not because "Red" Dunnigan lived there. Houses become homes by the people that occupy them but they also have "character" of their own. In a town the size of Seward where over the years you "get to know" individual houses, they are part of the very fabric of our community. I hope the sale goes well. The Credit Union will probably lose some money but maybe some ambitious young people can buy them at a reasonable price and make them their happy homes.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Black Raspberry Ice Cream

Ice Cream has been a staple in our diet throughout the over 62 years of our marriage. One of the first "ice cream experience" I enjoyed with Elaine and her family, involved serving my brother and I a big dish of home made ice cream in soup bowls. We still have our old freezer but don't get it out as often as when the kids were home. We have enjoyed some of the finest ice cream available as we traveled over the years. And, while we don't recall ever having eaten any poor tasting ice cream, some is better than other. Always on the look-out for something new, we discovered Kemps Black Raspberry Swirl down at our local Pac-n-Sav grocery store recently. It ranks right up there with the best we have ever tasted. While we often just put Vanilla ice cream on our pie, the Black Raspberry is so tasteful that we always have it alone, with maybe a homemade Chocolate Chip cookie. The Raspberry flavor comes through with gusto and the little chocolate chips add extra pleasure. Since the half-gallon size of ice cream containers have been reduced to 1.75 quarts, we buy ours on Wednesday when Pac-n-Sav gives a 5% discount to Seniors.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Pekareks at Seward Farmers Market

We went downtown to the Farmers Market this evening soon after it opened at 5:00pm. It was a "must" for Elaine to buy some tomatoes from Pekarek's Produce. Shown here is Elaine picking out her "prize choices" and setting them on the scale. Katie Pekarek was in charge of the tomato line while Ryan was busy taking care of customers selecting other items of produce.  While I like catsup, chili soup, pizza, and can eat a few tomatoes in vegetable soup, I have never learned to eat them raw. Elaine seems to have the same craving for tomatoes that I have for cashews and she enjoys them with that same pleasure. Our trip to the Farmers market would not have been complete had we not bought a package of Meysenburg Kolaches. I finished my evening meal and coffee with an apple and then a prune kolache. I enjoyed them just about as much as Elaine enjoyed her tomato.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

The 1st Impressions Committee

The First Impressions Committee is a subcommittee of the Seward Area Chamber of Commerce. It has been in existence for about 20 years with a mission of making suggestion to improve the first impression people form as they enter our City. Our committee meets monthly and consist of 8-10 people. We are shown here working with a representative from the Upper Big Blue NRD on a tree planting proposal. Our committee has been most successful in calling attention to the need for certain improvements. The committee Chair also sends letters of commendation to places where significant improvements have been made. The City of Seward has been most cooperative with key city employees participating in the meetings. City codes have been revised and enforcement of existing regulations has been strengthened as a result. The committee's successes include spearheading an annual Seward Clean-Up Day, the planting of a Black Walnut and Pecan Nut Grove, the establishment of a Heritage Park with a State monument acknowledging the first settlers in Seward, the removal of unsightly old automobiles, the replacement of Welcome signs, the painting of a historic downtown mural, etc. Our very existence has had an impact on some downtown businesses and property owners by knowing that their appearance is being observed as if it was being viewed for the first time.  

Monday, September 19, 2011

Pekarek's Produce

We had a most interesting program at Kiwanis this noon presented by Ryan Pekarek and his wife Katie. The Pekareks live 11 miles north of Seward and have been producing garden produce for the past few years and making it available at Farmers Markets, at their farm and through other outlets. Ryan was raised on a family farm in the Dwight area and received a BS degree from UN-L. His wife is from Lincoln and her BS degree was in Ag Engineering from UN-L. They both went on to North Carolina State where she got her MS in Ag Engineering and he received an MS in Horticulture. They came back to his home area and began producing vegetables on a small scale while farming. After 5-6 years they are utilizing 10 acres for such vegetable production. We will be down to the Seward Farmers Market this Wednesday evening to buy some tomatoes and get better acquainted. The Lincoln Farmers Market in Lincoln is one of their major retail outlets. They also have arrangements with the food service people on East Campus at UN-L and the B & R stores. They have plans for building a "produce shed" on their property and continue to look for ways to bring locally produced, high quality food to more and more consumers. Katie is very much involved in the family venture and also works as an Extension Educator with UN-L and is stationed in Seward. Ryan indicated he is 27 years old, they have 3 children, and it's most heartening to see a young couple that have the ambition and "things figured out" as well as have the Pekareks. Their web site is: . Czech them out.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

CFRA Meeting in Seward

I left the auction yesterday early to set in on part of the Certer for Rural Affairs Board of Directors quartely meeting which was being held at the Seward Civic Center. Headquartered in Lyons, NE the Center is a 38 year old, non-profit organization that advocates for rural and local communities. Their programs include: Rural Enterprize Assistance Project (REAP); Rural Opportunities and Stewardship Program (ROSP); Rural Policy Program (RPP); Rural Research and Analysis Program (RRAP); Rural Organizing and Outreach Program (ROOP); and, Sustaiable Agriculture Workgroups. I first gained respect for the organization in the early '80's while working for the Nebraska Natural Resources Commission and continue to support their mission and activities. Chuck Hassebrook serves as Executive Director and supervisies the staff of some 20+ dedicated employees. I served as an Advisor to the Board for a number of years before becoming a member of the Board from 1996 'til 2008. Yesterday morning was the first time I had been to one of their meetings or even seen many of the people involved since not standing for re-appointment. The decision was based on Elaine and my decision to reduce our many committments. I fully support their mission and the staff of dedicated employees. With a 12:00 noon tee time yesterday, I didn't get to spend as much time with the group as I would have preferred, but it was great to see: Chuck, Jim, Paul, David, Maryanne, Cy, Clark, Karen, Keith, Lowell and others as well as staff members: John, Monica, Gene, Elisha, Traci, Brian, Jeff, Marie, Barbara, Peggy, Trish and others. I was able to visit with Kathie as we met on the stairway while leaving. I would encourage anyone interested in agriculture and rural communities to contact the Center at: or check their web site at While I miss the involvement with the organization, it is the personal relationship with the people involved that I miss most of all. It was great to see them and I wish them continued successs in their worthy efforts.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Bruns Auction

This was the sight early this morning down at the Seward Senior Center where the Bruns auction was held. I didn't really expect to buy anything but knew Fred for over 60 years dating back to the days when he and I sang in a Church quartet. I have an "affinity" toward auctions and especially enjoy getting some little memento from estate sales of old friends. There was so much "stuff" on display that I called Carolyn and suggested she may want to come down. One of the interesting items was a framed picture of a young lady that had the original ticket still attached to the back side. It was sold by the A. B. Chain furniture store here in Seward to Wm Unitt. I'm certain that it dates back nearly 100 years and was still in good condition.
Carolyn was impressed with some of the items and was the successful bidder on several. I was on the golf course when the call came to see about temporarily storing some of her items in our garage. I agreed but flubbed my next shot. When I got home we did some "rearranging" and were able to accommodate a buffet and two dresser bottoms. I was still able to get my old car in the garage but also had to find room for the big push brooms, hoes, and box of garden tools that I bought. Some of the items we can use but some have already gone in the garbage, other will be in a "free" box at our garage sale, and some might even be sold for a profit.  I think Fred would be pleased to think that I bought some of the things he had labored with as a way of refreshing the memory of our happy days .

Friday, September 16, 2011

Jon Leaving

Here is Jon leaving the house at 6:30 this morning on his way to finish his session with the fellow NRCS representatives from the several Midwestern states and then to head back to Washington. He sent an email from the Omaha airport while awaiting his flight to Chicago and then on to Dulles airport. I offered to let him wear one of my light jackets but he declined. We haven't done much plane travel in the past few years but it's interesting how the "mode of dress" has changed over the years. During the 70's and 80's when I was doing a lot of official travel on airlines, a blazer, slacks, and a necktie was standard garb. On long flights the blazer was placed in the overhead storage, the tie loosened and the shirt collar unbuttoned. I remember having a pair of jeans when we lived in the Washington area but don't believe I ever wore them away from our home. Change takes place and I hope the changes are for the better.   

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Son Jon

Who would have thought that this little fellow would follow in his Dad's footsteps and work for over 35 years (to date) with the USDA SCS/NRCS. Jon has worked as a Soil Scientist in the states of Virginia, North Carolina, New York, the National Soil Survey Center at Lincoln, NE and for the past 15 years in the National Headquarters Office in Washington, D.C. He got his BS degree in Agronomy with a Soil Science major from Virginia Tech; and later got a Masters degree in Information Technology from George Washington University in Washington, D.C.  When Jon was in the 7th grade of Jr. High he was introduced to computer technology in his math class. They wrote programs, sent them to Maryland where the computer was located, and even played chess. He also had a Science Fair project on Soils while in Jr. High. When it was awarded a blue ribbon by a judge from the USDA,  he decided that he wanted to be a Soil Scientist. His background in Soils and his computer knowledge  have served him well as he has advanced in management positions. We have enjoyed having him with us in the evenings this week while he is working in Lincoln on a project with representatives from several Midwestern states. He has helped me with several computer problems during the past couple evenings. He tells us of even using the computer lab at their Church in teaching his Sunday School class. He continues to have a very successful conservation career as well as involvement in many other activities. 

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Family Group

We were fortunate in having this many of our family with us this evening. Verlon has been with us for the past few days and will be flying back to Richmond, VA on Thursday. Jon is working in the Federal Building in Lincoln this week with representatives from several Midwestern states. He flew in yesterday and will be going back to Washington, D.C.on Friday. Julie and John just got back to Seward this afternoon after visiting in Seattle, WA. It was a coincidence that Verlon and Jon could be here at the same time. We have really appreciated all of the home maintenance projects that Verlon has been able to do during the couple weeks he has been here. Jon was able to help me with a computer problem last night. This picture wouldn't have been possible without Ben setting my camera for a "time delayed" shot.  Tim called this evening so we got to visit with him as well. They are planning to get moved back in their house over this weekend after living in an apartment all summer following their house fire last spring. It's good to be able to have family together when it's not a major event but can just happen.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Bagworms on a Special Tree

Elaine, Verlon and I picked Bag Worms off  a Blue Spruce tree at the Seward Country Club this morning. This is one of the most attractive trees on the Golf Course and one we grew in our garden from a seedling. We moved it to its present site 11 years ago when it was 2 feet high as a memorial to a dear  friend. Bagworms survive winter as eggs inside a tear-drop shaped bag that can contain over 800 eggs. We picked nearly 2-gallons of bags this morning which we estimated to number in the 1,100-1,300 range. The eggs emerge as larvae in May and at this stage, feed on the plant's foliage and can kill it. The larvae use a combination of silken secretion and parts of the plant to create a bag around themselves. In late summer, the larvae suspend the bags during which time they transform into the pupae stage before becoming adults. The male adult emerges in early fall as a moth and fertilizes the female that is still in the bag. The male dies after the process and the female lays eggs in the bag and drops from it to her death. The eggs remain in the bag until May when they emerge as larvae and the cycle is completed. 

Sunday, September 11, 2011


We are watching the moving ceremony at Citi Field in New York City in recognition  of the 10th anniversary of 9/11 prior to the Mets-Cubs game. It is very impressive. In light of all the great tributes, our personal memories of that day seem rather trite but will never be forgotten. I went back to my 2001 Journal to see how I recorded our activities. 
"Elaine and I were having a usual leisure breakfast this morning when Joyce called about 8:15 to tell us to turn on our TV. Two planes from Boston had been hijacked and crashed into the World Trade Center in N.Y. City. Both of the 110 storied Twin Towers collapsed soon after. Some 45 minutes after the N.Y. incident, a plane was hijacked from Dulles Airport and crashed into the Pentagon."I went on to tell  of Elaine going to the Beauty Shoppe for a Permanent and my going to coffee. All 3 boys called home to assure us they were O.K. Carolyn came down to eat with us.. I played golf with Leo (Hain) during the afternoon, went to a City Council Committee meeting, and to a meeting at the Seward Senior Center. I also mentioned that, "It is apparent that thousands of civilians were killed by the terrorist attack. Osama ben Laden is suspected behind it".

Saturday, September 10, 2011

The Old Home Place

This is another picture from the CD that cousin Phil gave to me some time ago. This is the farm that our Grandparents moved to in 1903. My dad was 6 years old at the time and this is where Uncle Joe (Phil's dad) was born. Phil  was also born while his folks were living here after the Grandparents had retired and moved to Bee. My folks moved to this place in February, 1932 and it was here that I "grew up". The big barn was built in the 1916 era with Dad hauling lumber the 4 miles from Garland with horses and wagon. I assume the corn crib and granary were also built after the Grandparents bought the farm. The silo had been taken down before we moved there in 1932. It was constructed with tongue & groove 6" pine boards, 32'  long and held together with iron rods. Some of the boards were still around during my youth and used for various purposes. I have many memories associated with this place where I spent my formative years. The drought, depression, and hard work were things you don't forget. But, these were more than off-set with all the Happy Memories.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Great Visit to Crete, NE

Our agenda for the day included the 35 mile drive down to Wilber, NE, the Czech Capitol of Nebraska. Our first stop was at the Wilber Museum with Doris Ourecky serving as our host. It had been some 15-20 years since we had visited the Museum at the time, Doris' Mother-in-law, Irma was there to show us around.  Irma was one of the founders and a driving force to get it established. Doris and others are doing a great job in further developing the wonderful collection of Czech historic items which have been contributed. We had been with Doris, her husband Lloyd, his twin brother Lawrence and Roberta at a couple Hillbilly events some years ago but hadn't seen them for probably 10 years. 
Our conversation also extended to Miroslav Dumbrovsky from the Czech Republic whom we both know. He had visited in each of our homes while in the U.S. and we had both visited he and his family in Bruno. Verlon mentioned to Doris the Czech community in Virginia. She told of the number of states that send representatives to their annual Czech Queen Contest. They have never had a contestant from Virginia but sent with him information to use in encouraging a contestant.  Frank Havel's butcher shop-bakery was our next stop. We had pork-beef bologna, caraway seed rye bread, and fruit kolachies for supper. We couldn't leave Crete without stopping at a neighborhood bar where Verlon had a Pilzner, I had a draft and Elaine drank water. We came home through Crete and had a most enjoyable afternoon and supper.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Family Picture 1999

Here is another of the pictures from the CD that cousin Phil sent to us some years ago that we were not able to play until recently. Phil did an excellent joy of dating the pictures and this one was taken on October 28, 1999 which  shows Phil, Vivian and me. It is most interesting to check my journals to see what occasion may have prompted a picture. This one was taken when Phil and Jean came up to Vivian and Eddy's in Seward to check on genealogy. Elaine and I were also invited over for the get-together. They  were also looking for our memories and stories about Grandpa and Grandma. My journal entry indicates they recorded some of our discussion and that Elaine helped them with some of her genealogy information. Phil and Jean's visit was a highlight of the day but it also included some normal activities including: Having a "full table" at morning coffee; telephone discussions of City Council items; Potato Bake lunch at the Senior Center ($3.75); walked 9 holes of golf and didn't parr a single hole; tried to repair my air compressor; visited Aunt Ethel at the care facility; and, took pictures of colorful trees. 

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Queen Elizabeth Look Alike

This was Guest Day for the Seward United Methodist Church Women's Club. Their speaker was a lady from the Nebraska Humanities Council who talked about "Hats". The ladies were encouraged to wear hats and to even bring a collection of their own. It turned out that several tables were filled with ladies hats from over the years. Elaine had to dig a bit to find the one she is wearing in the picture and to the event. I vetoed her first choice but preferred this one which gives her the "Queen Mother" look. What doesn't show on the picture are her white gloves and black purse that she carried on her elbow. It sounds like a good time was had by the 50 or so ladies that attended. It didn't take her very long to change clothes and get the hat put away when she got home. Now we are going down to Pac n Sav for their fried chicken special.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Plum Creek Trail

Yesterday evening we drove down to Heritage park on the eastern edge of Seward. It is so named because of a State of Nebraska monument acknowledging the area being part of the farm staked out by the first residents of what was to become the City of Seward. Our city is situated at the confluence of the Big Blue River, Lincoln Creek and Plum Creek. That first farm was divided by Plum Creek and included land that is now  part of Concordia University. The picture shows the Walking-Biker trail that follows the Plum Creek floodplain for a distance of nearly 2-miles along the eastern edge of our city. Verlon is standing on one of the 4 bridges that cross the creek during that distance. Plans are underway to extend the trail to the Seward Swimming Pool on the western edge of the city by crossing under the highway and the Blue river and following the dike for part of the distance. It is anticipated that eventually the trail will completely circle the city. The trail enjoys heavy usage and some people have said it was a factor in their decision to move to Seward. 

Monday, September 5, 2011

A Young Family

The 3 of us shown in the picture have had an enjoyable Labor Day by not doing a whole lot of labor. Though considerable time and space have elapsed since the picture was taken, we are spending the day here at home within about 4 blocks from where the picture was taken. Verlon in here with us now from Richmond, VA for his annal visit and the usual "home maintenance" chores for us. I started a list of "projects" a couple months ago and he is getting them checked off. I played my usual 12 holes of golf this morning before we went down near the Plum Creek walking trail to check on our Black Walnut tree planting. The 24 trees look good now that they have been through 2 growing seasons.   There is need for one replacement which I will do next  spring.  We grilled hamburgers this noon and have watched a lot of baseball and golf this afternoon. We enjoyed seeing Webb Simpson win the Deutche Bank Championship.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Jim Goeke & the Ogallala Aquifer

The High Plains Ogallala Aquifer has been in the national news recently with the proposal by Trans-Canada to build a Keystone XL pipeline through an area in Nebraska overlying the aquifer. The aquifer extends over several states with Nebraska having the greatest depths of saturated thickness. This picture was taken last year at a Groundwater Guardian dinner. It includes: Jim Goeke, Tony, Elaine and Dayle Williamson. Jim retired this past spring from the University of Nebraska where he was a professor in the School of Natural Resources. He came to UNL in 1970 and is known as "Mr. Water".  As a hydrogeologist, Dr. Goeke gathered data for modeling unconfined aquifers in central and western Nebraska. Elaine and I consider him an old friend dating back to the early 1980's when I was working with Dayle Williamson at the Nebraska Natural Resources Commission. On one occasion Jim escorted Elaine, Dayle and I on a tour in the Sandhills where we saw places that few people have the privilege of visiting. Jim has testified at public hearings recommending the rerouting of the XL pipeline away from the Ogallala Aquifer. Those of us who have studied the Sandhills appreciate the fragile nature of the vegetative cover and hope the National Decision Makers will respect Dr. Goeke's excellent knowledge of the Aquifer and accept his recommendations.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Elaine's Birthday

We helped Elaine celebrate her birthday today. I brought up a beautiful card that I bought last year when she had a special birthday. The verse was so appropriate that it was on her place at the breakfast table. Verlon and Ben were able to mark another item off the "projects" list by hauling our brush to the burn pile. Carolyn brought down a nice bouquet of flowers out of their garden as shown in the lower picture. Jon, Mary and Anna sent the beautiful arrangement through the "Flower Mill" here in Seward. They had just been delivered when Jon called and we had a good visit with he and Anna. Tim called about noon and we had a chance to be brought up to date on their family activities. Dale called this evening so Elaine was treated to many birthday greetings. She also received several cards by mail which also included a recipe book that she had ordered some time ago. I brought up the notebook with the chronology of her "birthdays over the years" which goes back to 1948.
This evening we met Carolyn & Ben out at the Country Club right after seeing the Nebraska 40-Chattanooga 7, football game on TV.  Unfortunately, the dining room was closed for a private party so we ate at the "Cafe on the Square". We were all pleased with our meal and came home for that cup of coffee to finish it off. I wouldn't doubt but what we will have a dish of ice cream before bed time. There are very few days when we don't have ice cream and I can't imagine Elaine's birthday being one of them. After all, ice cream played a role in our early romance. Don and I stopped by Elaine's farm on the way home from an extra inning baseball game to say I would be late for our date. They had just made home made ice cream and gave us a big helping in a soup bowl. I took that as an indication that maybe I had a chance.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Fish Dinner in Bee

Verlon flew in to Lincoln from Richmond, VA yesterday afternoon and will be spending a couple weeks with us. I made up a lengthy list of "projects" that hopefully he will be able to finish while he is here. He got 3-4 of them clicked off today and more lined up for tomorrow. It is really helpful to have someone of his ability come once a year to spend some time with us and do many of the "home maintenance" chores that old people tend to let go. We met Terry in Bee and went to the fish dinner there this evening at Lou and Mary Ann's. The dinners are always delicious, we visit with many friends, and Lou is a great host. Their ability and dedication to successfully operate a business in a small Nebraska town would make an interesting "Case Study".
After eating we visited out in the street and watched the storm clouds approach from the western skies. Seward HS had their first home football game scheduled for this evening which I'm sure has been "held up" because of the thunder, lightning and rain that hit about the time the game was to start.  Some of us old timers have to look twice at the Bee water tower. I don't know when the water system was installed but it is a comparatively recent addition. My Vrana Grandparents moved to Bee from the farm north of Garland in the late 1920's. My memories of the town go back to the early 30's after we had moved out to the farm and would take grain to them for their ducks and chickens.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

60th Wedding Anniversary

Here is another picture from the CD that Cousin Phil Vrana gave me some time ago. This was taken down at the Seward Park on August 29, 1948 at a Family Reunion in celebration of Grandma and Grandpa's 60th wedding anniversary. I am certain that the fellow to the left of Grandpa is his brother John who was 5 years younger than Grandpa but lost his wife Mary, in 1936. John appears on the Grandparents wedding picture as a young man but Mary didn't come to this country until 1888, married John in 1896 and died in 1936. The other lady may be Anna Houfek Ruzicka, a half sister of Grandma's who is included in the Wedding Picture.
My Diary entry for August 29, 1948 is: "Don and I went to Church. Vrana family  celebrated Grandparents 60th wedding anniversary. Utica beat us 4-1 in 12 innings, I got a double. Took Elaine to the Outdoor Theater".