We had been back to Washington, D.C. for only a few months when Tim wanted to go trick-or-treating as a Nebraska Cornhusker. Back in 1962 the thought of "buying" costumes for the kids to wear never occurred to us. They were all "custom made". My Diary entry for October 30, 1962 included: "We fixed a Halloween costume for Tim. It's like an ear of corn to represent a Nebraska Cornhusker". The next day I wrote that: "The Kids went Halloweening, we took the little ones around. Everyone got a kick out of Tim's ear of corn". It was made out of cardboard and papier-mache. The yellow kernels of corn were individually drawn with a black magic marker. A couple of us had to help Tim get in the cylinder by lifting it over his head. He had to get his arms through the openings as it came down. Obviously, he couldn't see very well so we had to lead him around. It was a bit of comic relief from the tense Cuban missile crisis that was festering at the time.
Sunday, October 30, 2011
Our trees in Seward have been beautiful this fall. This was taken a couple days ago on North 5th Street on my way in from the golf course. The clouds were nice that day too. I take a different route home each day that I might see trees that I've not seen in their full color. At one time Seward was acknowledged as a "Tree City USA". I have often thought of making a picture collection of "specimen" trees in the city. It would be a great project. Concordia University is part of the State Wide Arboretum and has many trees labeled. My interest in trees goes back to my boyhood helping Dad cut wood for the heating stove as well as to use in the cook stove. He knew the name of every tree that grew on our farm and passed that knowledge on to us kids. During the '50's I was involved with Nebraska Nurseries and planted many trees in Seward along with other landscaping materials. Many of those trees are still here and I continue to "pay them homage" as I drive by. I may have made a few dollars at the time of planting them but have had countless pleasure in admiring them over the years.
Saturday, October 29, 2011
Incidentally, we drove home that Sunday afternoon those 38 years ago and went to work the next day. It was a great week-end. And, NO, I didn't take this picture.
Friday, October 28, 2011
I doubt that kids today would know what Tim and I were doing with our hands on a small baseball bat many years ago while living in the Farlington Apartments in Alexandria, VA. But at country schools and city playgrounds, baseball or stick ball was a common game. Two players would be selected as Captains who would "choose up sides" to determine their team. To determine which Captain had first choice of players, a bat was tossed with the heavy end down to one of them which he (or she) would catch with one hand. Then the other Captain placed his hand immediately above the hand of the one already on the bat. They continued to hand-over-hand until one of them could place the first joint of their thumb over the butt end of the bat. That was the Captain who had first choice. Then they alternated in choices until the last person was selected. It was simple in theory but choices were not always made on the basis of baseball ability. It was a great way for a 12 year old Captain to impress a young lady by selecting her ahead of some of the more athletic boys. There were other "politics" involved but it was a part of our education. It may have been a form of bullying when tears would be shed by those chosen last but we remembered our Sunday School lesson about someday the "last would be first" and went on.
Thursday, October 27, 2011
Fortunate are we who have had the pleasure of helping raise at least one Grandchild. Most of us were busy with the work-a-day world when our own children were growing up but with grandchildren, it is a much more relaxed relationship. Julie and I had many happy hours together during her childhood and fortunately, still do. Here we are setting on the tailgate of our old Chevy pickup getting ready to go out to Paul and JoAnn's for a Church fishing contest. Our "catch" was not too plentiful so 32 of us went up to Lou and Mary Ann's in Bee for their Fish Dinner.
September of 1993 was a busy time for us. I took Elaine to a Henry Mancini Concert at the Lied Center for her birthday. We took Carolyn and Julie to the State Fair, had season tickets for the Nebraska football games, and, visited an "Environmental Camp" near Milford for 6th graders where Ben, Carolyn and Julie were instructors. Elaine and I went to Husker Harvest Days in Grand Island and the Ag Relations Dinner, showed slides from our last fall's China trip to a group in Beaver Crossing, but most of all, got ready to leave later in the month for a 2-week trip to Czechoslovakia and central Europe with brother Don, Gladys and sister Vivian and Eddie. Those were great days. We were retired, young enough to enjoy foreign travel and a lot of daily activity. It was before I heard about a game called "Golf".
Wednesday, October 26, 2011
Tuesday, October 25, 2011
Brother Don would have been 4 going on 5 when this picture was taken in the summer of 1934. Mother was standing behind sister Vivian and I'm trying to hide in the cedar tree. Dad obviously took the picture with his "fold-out" Kodak camera. Mother was the second of nine children in the William and Anne (Turner) Walker family that consisted of 3 girls and 6 boys. She had considerable experience in taking care of kids before we came along. Grandpa Walker had a successful early career as a house mover and carpenter in Seward before buying this farm out in the hills some 7 miles east of town in the mid teens. We are standing in front of the house he built salvaging some of an existing dwelling. He also built a barn mostly out of native lumber, a corn crib, machine shed, chicken house, smoke house, etc. This is the house and farmstead where Mother lived at the time she and Dad were courting and got married in 1920. A few summers after the picture was taken, I would spend at least a week staying at the Grandparents "helping" with the harvest and doing various chores.
Brother Don also spent some time at this farm as well as with Uncle Clarence's whose oldest son Kenny, was about his age. They lived on an adjoining farm and did much of the farming together. Yesterday we had occasion to stop by the old farmstead after not having seen it for a number of years. I had remembered the picture of Don standing in front of a cedar tree, so took this one of him. I realize it is not the same tree but Grandpa had panted several in the yard after the house was rebuilt and I'm sure this is one of them. There is a 77 year time span between the two pictures. A lot has happened during that time but Don's cheerful personality has remained in tact.
Monday, October 24, 2011
This was a great day with temperatures well into the 70's. Brother Don drove up from Syracuse, NE this morning and we toured the places where Walker relatives lived during our early years. (That will be the subject of a later post.) We went to Kiwanis at noon and then out to the golf course where we met Al, Charlie and Dale. Since we are all over 70, we played the 9-hole course from the yellow tees and had a great time. Our scores were somewhat reflective of our ages so naturally, being the oldest, I had the highest score of 43. Not being familiar with the course, brother Don had a 42, Dale a 41, Charlie a 39 and Al a 32. Al is probably the best golfer with membership in the Seward Country Club.
He had driven the green on the parr 4, 260 yard, #4 hole and is shown missing an Eagle putt. He went on to Birdie this hole as he had the 3 previous holes. Over the 9 holes, he had 8 birdie putts but settled for parrs and even had a Bogie on #5 like the rest of us except Don who parred the hole. Golf is a great game for Seniors that provides exercise and fellowship. The only competition is with your self and some of us have learned to not take that too seriously. I'll probably play again tomorrow and hope to do better than a 43, but what the heck, thats shooting my age, even if it takes me two days to do it.
Sunday, October 23, 2011
Saturday, October 22, 2011
This is one of the very few Hickory trees in the City of Seward. It is at the home of a fellow who works for the Lower Platte South NRD, and planted this one and another in front of their house a few years ago. The second tree, to the left of the colorful one is also a Hickory but apparently a bit different since it is still green. It takes nut trees over 15 years to produce fruit and I could find no evidence of any on the ground.In addition to picking up a few leaves from this tree on my way in from the golf course, we drove up to Garland to check on a couple Chestnut trees that I've watched for many years. I remember my Dad pointing them out to me many years ago and saying they were probably planted by an MD that lived there at one time. It is possible that these trees could be 100 years old. A young man and his son that live there now did provide us with some of the fruit still in the "husk" with little "stickers" as well as some of the acorns out of the husk. The leaves of the Hickory and Chestnuts trees are similar in that there are 5-7 leaves on one stem(All of which is shaded) but the Chestnuts leafs all seem to emerge from the end of the stem whereas the Hickory leaves are located along the stem and are considerably larger.
I remember seeing white blooms on the Chestnut trees in Garland which leads me to believe they are Horse Chestnuts. I understand we are on the western edge of where native Chestnuts grew before a blight in the 1930's wiped out most of them. My Dad helped Uncle Clarence "put up wood" on the farm next to Grandpa Walker's and I believe they were Chestnuts trees that had been killed by the blight. I also remember coming across some Chestnuts growing in a wooded area east of Bee when I was on an SCS survey crew working on PL-566 Watershed Dams.
Friday, October 21, 2011
Our last rose of summer was in all it's glory a few days ago but it's "time to shine" was fleeting as winter approaches. It got down to 31 degrees Wednesday morning and 23 the next morning which did-in our Impatience, Hydrangea, Black Eyed Susan vine, Tomato plants, etc. It also brought down many leaves from the trees. We didn't have a very good crop of Tomatoes this year and our Petunia plants around the rose bush were a failure. We have a Lawn Care service apply fertilizer and chemical to our lawn which may have adversely affected some things. Plus, I catch all the grass and leaf clippings, compost them, and later apply the compost to the garden areas. I was not aware of this danger until we lost a snowball bush last spring that I had mulched heavily with what I thought was excellent compost. I was then warned of this possible hazard by my PhD Agronomist Brother-in-Law. It appears that the rose bush is much more tolerant to such adverse reactions than our Petunias and Tomatoes. We live and learn but as the old expression goes: "We get too soon old and too late smart".
Thursday, October 20, 2011
We have an open agenda at our 10:00am coffee hour. It could be said that we discuss everything from soup to nuts but we haven't warmed up to soup recently. We have covered nuts during recent days which led to Internet searches, trips across our back alley where there is a black walnut tree, and to one fellow bringing in his nut cracker. The nut to the right is one of several which came from a place a few miles north of Seward where the squirrels gain access to the "meat" by strategically placed holes. My alley squirrels seem to approach the task in a more universal manner. Both are done very intelligently for maximum results. I had never seen the likes of the nut cracker that was brought for demonstration. My tool of choice has always been a hammer and a block of wood, but then I've never taken the task very seriously. This nut cracker is a very ingenious machine. It allows for both maximum leverage and control. A flat area on the upper sprocket wheel which is at the end of the handle, enables the movable part to be brought into place against the nut and then the handle lifted to engage the sprockets and apply pressure on the nut. Notice the the "wings" that capture any stray shell particles.
We learned that the country of Brazil was named after the Brazil nuts that grow in the rain forest and not the other way around as may be suspected. The Brazil nut trees produce a tough shelled, ball shaped pod larger than a grapefruit which when mature, literally explodes and exposes the Brazil nuts as we know them. They grow as "slices" in the pod like the slices of an orange or grapefruit.
Wednesday, October 19, 2011
We were up early this morning to participate in the annual SCS/NRCS Retiree's breakfast in Lincoln. The group meets monthly but the annual spouse breakfast and spring banquet are special events. The buffet breakfast this morning was held at the HyVee Store at 84th and Holdredge on the east edge of the city. We were foutunate in leaving early enough to be there before the sun rose which makes driving east hazardous. President Paul Smith and MC Dave Langemeier ran an excellent meeting. Dave asked all the retirees among the 42 present, to tell what year they retired, of any recently completed or planned travel, and other significant events in their lives. A couple fellows had been retired for 30 years, Francis King, (approaching the table with her plate) celebrated her 90th birthday recently and Helen Stewart will have her 90th in a few weeks. As a group, travel has become more limited but it's a fine group that can take pleasure in their life's work of helping to conserve our nations soil and water natural resources. Three of the fellows had to leave for early tee times but mine wasn't until 12:00 noon.
Tuesday, October 18, 2011
Today, October 18th is the anniversary of my Dad's 1896 birth. The picture is cropped from a family picture taken during the summer of 1930. Dad would have been 33 years old at the time. He and Mother had three of us kids by then, they owned their "little home" in Seward and had a new '29 Model A Ford. Dad had worked for the State Highway Department for 9-10 years. However, the fumes from the tractor that he drove maintaining Highway #34 between Seward and the Lancaster Co. line were affecting his health. He would come home every night with a headache and gave up the job to work as a door-to-door salesman for the J. R. Watkins Co. I can distinctly recall the looks and smell of a Vanilla bean, enclosed in a glass tube that he used for demonstration. Vanilla extract was one of his big "sellers". A couple years later, we took advantage of the opportunity to move to the old Vrana family farm north of Garland, not knowing that a drought and depression were bearing down on the country. It was still a great move and we were all "richer" as a result of the experience of growing up in the Bohemian Alps. I have no idea what Dad may have been thinking with his hands on his hips. The total picture is of his Mother, my Mother, sisters, and a number of cousins, including sister Vivian, baby Don and me. Had he struck that pose looking down on me today, he would probably be asking, "Is playing golf on an afternoon with the temperature in the low 50's and the wind blowing 35mph, the best use you can make of your time??" And one of his favorite questions at the end of the day was, "Did you do it Justice??" Which was his way of asking if you had done the best you could.
Monday, October 17, 2011
We have had a beautiful fall here is Seward to play golf and enjoy our colorful trees and shrubs. This Maple at the corner of 3rd and Roberts is always fantastic this time of year. But we have others in the area that are equally outstanding. We just don't have the masses of color like the Aspens in Colorado nor the Maples in New England that are native to their areas. Here in Nebraska our colorful trees are the result of a partnership between nature and someone who planted and nurtured a tree. Nebraska is known as, "The Tree Planter's State" and the home of the National Arbor Day Foundation. We also have the Halsey National Forest in Nebraska which is the only National Forest in the Country that was planted by man. It has been a great fall but it just reached 50 degrees for a high today and the forecast is for freezing temperatures within the next couple days. It was great while it lasted.
Sunday, October 16, 2011
This morning's CBS "Sunday Morning" featured the story of a 40 member family from U.S.A. celebrating an anniversary by going to Venice, Italy. They had a great time and so did we when Elaine, Carolyn, Julie and I visited Venice some years ago as part of a 10-Country European Tour. It was the summer before Julie's Senior year in HS and we were young enough to enjoy the rigors of foreign travel. We were gone from May 25 till June 13 which included a few days with distant relatives in England before meeting up with our tour. Italy was a most pleasant surprise for all of us. Our expectations were not great and every place we went it was more enjoyable than anticipated. Carolyn and Julie really enjoyed their gondola ride but it was in Rome where the waiters made a fuss over all the ladies, that the pleasure meter hit a new high.
Saturday, October 15, 2011
Carolyn and Pip were down to visit a few minutes ago where Pip and I continued to develop our friendship. Though she is a year old, we just haven't bonded to the extent that occurred with Jack. Jack was my friend from the first time we met and for several years, I would pick him up at Carolyn's house after coffee and bring him home to spend the day with us. He was a great companion for Elaine while I was gone golfing, etc. and always welcomed me home like a long lost friend. Carolyn would stop by after school to pick him up so we not only had Jack during the day but also the pleasure of seeing Carolyn every day. Jack could understand the English language, knew what we were talking about and could communicate his wants and needs to us. He and I had many most pleasant conversations while riding alone in the car. We had a lot to share about this matter of growing old. With the "dog year vs human ratio" as it is, we were about the "same age" at one time, and then he went on to pass me by. We talked about the aches and pains associated with old age and the fact that we couldn't do a lot of the things we once did. Not once did he ever disagree with me but would sit on my lap, look up at me and whimper as if to agree with everything I said. I don't know if Pip and I will ever reach that level of trust and mutual understanding, after all she is a female, but we are making progress. I hope we can.
Friday, October 14, 2011
Congratulations Brother Don for your Hole-in-One on #3 at the Syracuse Golf Course this morning. Elaine said that when you called you were really excited about something but didn't tell her what it was. I'm sorry that my cell phone wasn't turned on to get part of that early exuberance but there was still a lot left when we did make contact. Do you have any idea how many times you have landed on that postage stamp size green or gone over before one finally dropped into the cup. I understand this one landed on the green, just short of the hole and rolled in. There is always the question of how much of such a shot is skill and how much is luck. I can vouch for the fact of just landing on the green takes considerable skill and as one gets older, we need all the luck we can muster. Great Shot.
Thursday, October 13, 2011
Wednesday, October 12, 2011
Tuesday, October 11, 2011
With Albert Pujols having a good night as the Cardinals beat the Brewers, I thought it timely to pull out my "story" of seeing the Cardinals play the Astros in Busch Stadium back in 2006. I have a "write-up" like this for all of the Major League Parks. Tim may be the only one to read all of this but some may enjoy the pictures.
Monday, October 10, 2011
I had a post last week about a baseball game in Kansas City back in the summer of 1961. It included a picture of Elaine and the four kids. On our way home we stopped at Falls City for supper. Son Tim says he remembered going into the small town restaurant that had a juke box on which we played the song, "Wooden Heart". I had completely forgotten about stopping at Falls City, which was confirmed in my Diary, but also about the song. I was able to Google Wooden Heart and remembered once I heard Elvis sing it. Several neat posts that came my way recently have included YouTube inserts. Carolyn showed me how to do it this evening. That bit of information followed a delicious roast beef dinner that Ben had prepared and a tour of Carolyn's projects. It was a good evening. We were well fed and learned something.
Sunday, October 9, 2011
We think this was taken in September, 1971 with Elaine celebrating a birthday. The date could be confirmed by checking on the original slide but it would involve getting the big box down off the shelf and checking through the slide boxes. Hopefully, the date can be confirmed by one of the "principals". If it was 1971, Carolyn would be headed for her freshman year at Appalachian State. Tim would be at Duke and Jon at Wakefield HS. Unfortunately, I couldn't confirm by checking my old Diary. There was so much going on in those days that something even as important as "Momsey's Birthday Cake" didn't get recorded along with her birthday.
Saturday, October 8, 2011
It was 55 years ago on this very day that Don Larsen pitched a perfect game for the New York Yankees against the Brooklyn Dodgers in the World Series and won 2-0 with the help of a Mickey Mantle hone run. I have a distinct memory of seeing the end of the game on our B & W Admiral TV, and the scene of #8 Yogi Berra jumping up into Larsen's arms. My Diary entry for October 8, 1956 indicates that, Vince was at a meeting in Kearney, I worked in the office and Elaine worked in the County Agent's office all day. Verlon got to ride on a fire truck. "Don Larsen pitched a perfect game for the Yankees as they beat the Dodgers 2-0". We lived just a few blocks from where we worked and would have been home a few minutes after 5:00 pm, which helps substantiate my memory.Larsen's perfect post-season game stood alone until Roy Halladay threw a no-hitter for the Phillies against the Reds on October 6, 2010 in the NLDS. Halladay wasn't as fortunate last night when he gave up a 1st inning triple to to Rafael Furcal who scored on Skip Schumaker's double. That was all the scoring as Chris Carpenter of the Cardinals pitched a brilliant 3-hitter and beat Halladay in a classic pitchers duel that ousted the Phillies from post-season play.
Friday, October 7, 2011
Jon commented on Elaine's attractiveness after yesterdays blog of she and all 4 kits in the outfield of the Kansas City "A" ballpark after getting beat by the Yankees back in 1961. I just happened to come across this very attractive picture of Elaine along with Jon & Tim in 1973. I assume Jon was getting ready to go back to VPI at Blacksburg. Even our old 1965 Chevy Station Wagon looked pretty good. It was fortunate that we were able to get the kids through college when we did. With costs as they are today, I don't know how big families do it.
Elaine & Jon down at Blacksburg with his bike and guitar. It was amazing how much "dorm room stuff" could be hauled in the back end of this station wagon. In fact it had more cargo space than it had tires to carry the excessive weight. On one occasion when we were taking Tim to Duke and Carolyn to Appalachian State at Boone, NC, we blew out a back tire near Richmond, VA. It was necessary to unload much of the "cargo" to get to the spare tire and tools. We didn't even think of having AAA coverage in those days when we really needed it.
Thursday, October 6, 2011
How can a person write an optimistic blog when you have recorded your worst golf game of the season and your Yankees got beat out of the AL playoffs 3-2 by Detroit. It is only by looking at this picture of brother Don that I'm "cheered up" by the good time we had down at Syracuse today with him and Gladys and seeing the beautiful fall foliage. The golf game was tempered by 35-40 mile wind gust and freshly aerated greens but you always enjoy yourself when Don is involved. And, after all, be it the Yankees or my golf game, they are only games and brotherly relationships are for real.
Wednesday, October 5, 2011
Tuesday, October 4, 2011
Among the challenges of growing older is "keeping track" of things. Not only the physical things like nail clippers, TV remotes, etc. but also every thing from commitments to sporting statistics. It helps to always keep physical things in the same place. As interested as I am in the Major League baseball games, I've had difficulty keeping track of how the 8 teams in the playoffs stand in their "win 3" series. By setting up the "score card" as shown, a lot of frustration has been relieved. The need to "write it down" helps and applies to people of any age. This was demonstrated yesterday when our City Administrator was scheduled to speak at the Kiwanis Club of Seward. There had been an exchange of electronic messages confirming his commitment but it didn't get entered into his schedule. Nor did the commitment get passed on to anyone who may have been able to remind him. By the time he was contacted after not "showing up", he was in a sensitive situation that he didn't feel he could leave. When he joined us for coffee this morning, he was given ample guidance on the need to "write it down", have someone able to remind him, and the need to become totally familiar with electronic scheduling if he was to rely on it. But at any age, it helps to carry an index card, scheduler, or small pad to help back up our internal memory. And, the older we get, the more important it becomes.
Monday, October 3, 2011
Our Crow (Vrana in Czech) has had several roosts since Carolyn brought it to us a year ago. When Verlon painted the deck furniture recently, he mounted Mr. Crow on the deck railing. The Black-eyed Susan vine makes a great background for our view of it while eating breakfast and the sun shinning brightly on the subjects. This vine has done much better this summer than our potato and tomato vines. We may have to consider rotating them next year since this is the 3rd year for trying to raise them is the same spot. I should know better but as been said: "As old as we are, as well educated as we are, and as smart as we think we are, why do we occasionally do such dumb things"??
Sunday, October 2, 2011
Saturday, October 1, 2011
I was working for the Nebraska Natural Resources at the time we helped put together this Seward Grange float for a parade in Goehner & Seward,NE. It is interesting to think back to the concern there was at that time for the amount of irrigation water being used as well as the amount of soil erosion that was occurring throughout the State. The soil erosion rates have been reduced considerably as the result of minimum till and no-till. The advent of low pressure center pivots and the tillage practices have also reduced the irrigation water consumption. Various federal, state and local programs have helped encourage these changes but most important has been the dedication of farmers.