Saturday, December 31, 2011

Karen's Calendar

Today I'm forwarding a letter from a Farm Wife/Tire Store Manager from western Nebraska who has been writing these weekly "Gems" for a number of years. I have been fortunate to be on her mailing list. She is able to describe with words the highs and lows of farming  that only a farmer could know. Enjoy Karen's look at the New Year.

My new 2012 calendar....that uncharted map for a journey we've yet to begin... sleeps on my kitchen counter, dreamlessly marking the passage of time until the ticking clock wakes it....and gives it relevance. 

Like the blank pages of a travel log its 365 days wait to be filled with scribbled stories of our family's every-day adventures, even the shortest of tales important because they, too, are mile markers on the road to our final destination.

I don't know where my 2012  journey will lead me; the simple truth is I find it difficult to believe I'm as old as I am......that I'm not still thirty with a new baby and a couple of toddlers clinging to my legs; the past seems a blur of years.

But as much as I'd like to stir up a batch of time and preserve it like tomatoes or green beans I have to face facts: time is a non-returnable gift. You can't exchange it, re-gift it, or get your money back. All you can do is spend it.

You'll soon have 365 days in your pocket...use them wisely.

Happy New Year and God bless you and yours.

As Always,


Friday, December 30, 2011

Tom Osborne

I just finished reading Tom Osborne's most recent book, "Beyond The Final Score". It was published by Regal From Gospel Light, Ventura, California, U.S.A. in 2009. I enjoyed it and feel like I know Tom as a friend after reading the book. His candid description of his 6 years in Congress representing Nebraska's 3rd District helped me understand why it was not a good fit for him. His high personal standards made some decisions very difficult. The Chapter on Leadership was perhaps the most revealing.. He refers to the ideal type as "Transformational Leaders" which some call, "servant leadership". This is based on Jesus' teaching that "whoever wants to become great must become a servant to all" (Mark 10:43). John Wooden was one of his "mentors" who taught that "the process took precedence over the end result" and used a Grantland Rice quote to give it emphasis: "For when the one Great Scorer comes to write against your name, it matters not that you won or lost, but how you played the game".  His stories of Fishing, Flying and Family are all interesting as is the role Uncle Virgil played in his life and the development of the mentoring (Teammates) approach. The Country and the World would be a better place if we had more "Tom Osborne's".

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Affectionate Treatment

First of all, I need to tell you that Elaine was with me and took this picture. I thought it should be recorded because it's been a long time since a young blond lady has put her arms around me as affectionately as is shown. It certainly helped take my mind off the stinging of the water being sprayed against my ear drum by the nurse. My appointment was for Dr. Van to look at my left knee that has given me some problems lately. A cartilage was removed from it many years ago and x-rays showed some fragments in the joint. He gave me a shot of cortisone but it didn't seem to help. Following an aggressive self administered Ben Gay message and heat pad treatment I felt a lump which I thought may warrant a Dr.'s visit. He promptly dismissed it as a Baker's Cyst which has since nearly disappeared. His examination also revealed a wax buildup in my ears which prompted the above scene. My knee felt better today than anytime in the past 3 weeks and I believe I can play golf again. I might have even tried it today except for seeing the Seward HS Girls beat Ralston 89-29  in a York tournament (#82 consecutive win). I may play golf tomorrow, and I may go back next week to have my ears irrigated again, or whatever. It doesn't take much to make an Old Man Happy

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Dale and "Sister".

We were in Lincoln this afternoon and stopped by to visit Dale and Marlene. She had knee surgery last week and is recuperating at home following 3 days in the hospital. Elaine and Dale never get together without some new childhood story surfacing. Today's story was when she and Dale were playing in the corn crib as kids and he climbed up into a storage area where Santa Claus had hid their new red coaster wagon. It was at that formidable age when little "Sister" faced reality. Elaine has done some writing about their growing up on the farm but it is amazing how these new stories surface when they are primed by their conversations that feed off each other. They both seem to regain a youthful sparkle as they talk about their childhood. I think it even shows through on this picture.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011


Carolyn and Ben hosted our Christmas Dinner that included Bev and Jerry, John's parents. As you can imagine, there was a lot of discussion about future events in which we all have an intense interest. Even little Pip seems to sense that something special is "in the works". We were sworn to secrecy  so our Christmas letter didn't even hint at the likely hood of a Great Grandchild. Now that the embargo has been lifted, we are telling everyone we talk to. Jerry and Bev are great people and we have always enjoyed our visits with them. They moved to Seward in 1986 and John and Julie were classmates from first grade on through High School. They were  competitors for first chair in the saxophone section of the Junior High Band. Mr. Frisbie, their instructor, even made the comment years ago that if they ever were to marry and have a family, the off-springs should be good musicians. Time will Tell. 

Monday, December 26, 2011

Merry Christmas

We received many Christmas Cards this year and appreciated every one of them. They came in various forms from emails to First Class Postage but it is the thought that counts. I'm a bit concerned about a couple people that we didn't hear from. Often that  isn't a good sign. My personal favorite card this year was from Elaine. The Holly pictured on the card looks very much like the plant we have in the front of our house with a few red berries and a lot of red lights. But it was the message on the inside of the card that made it most special. After a few "glowing" comments about a husband that are too embarrasing to make public, the punch line is: "I'm so glad you and I are 'us'". You can't get any better than that.

Sunday, December 25, 2011


We enjoyed Christmas Brunch at Carolyn and Ben's this morning along with John and Julie. The casserole was delicious as was the bread(cake) and fruit. The hot tea "hit the spot" and Ben's own carbonated drink was refreshing. The conversation included a bit of gossip about people at last night's Service at the Episcopal Church where Julie and the Choir sang, "Lo, how a rose e'er blooming".  It was a musical service with Mother Helen relating an interesting story of, "Love being placed in the Human Heart". After the Church Service we met for some "goodies" and gift opening at John and Julie's house. The gifts were of a practical nature to the extent of even anticipating future usefulness. We were back home in time to see the last half of  "The Sound of Music" for the umpteenth time and still enjoy it.  We plan to go back up to Hughes' this evening for our Christmas Dinner and I  believe Ben is fixing a Ham. I wish all Grandparents had the privilege of having a daughter, her husband and family nearby that they could enjoy and appreciate as much as we do ours. I believe this is what Mother Helen was talking about last night.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

25 Years Ago

Yesterday I finished writing my Narrative for 1986. I went back through my old Journal for that year and rewrote the year's events in "story" form. It still needs to be subjected to Elaine's editing but hopefully, some day, some body will enjoy reading it. We were very busy that year with the farm, my job, Church, Kiwanis, Lodge, Soil and Water Conservation Society, Isaac Walton League, etc. Julie spent a lot of time with us as Carolyn taught school and worked on an advanced degree. Going through the Journal day-by-day enabled me to refresh my memory of people that I dealt with. It made me realize how privileged I was to have a job where I worked with people at the highest level of State Government and with those from the University who were the experts in their field. I didn't really appreciate it at the time. Julie was a great inspiration and until I went back through the Journal, did I realize  there were few days when I didn't mention her name. She enjoyed the times when just she and I could drive the pickup in from the farm and talk about such things as, "Wishing on a Star". Twenty-Five years ago, 1986 was when Carolyn and Ben's relationship began to strengthen, he was like a "member of the family". Here is how things looked at our house at that time. Yes, many changes have taken place and even our tree is shaped better this year.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Seward HS Girls Basketball

The Seward HS Girls basketball team defeated Elkhorn South last night 57-35, for their 81st consecutive victory. Seward got off to a fast start and led 21-7 at the end of the first quarter. Hannah led the scoring last night as she, Kourteney and Beth trade-off that honor. Their tenacious defense seems to drive their unselfish offense. They are great to watch. After a Christmas break, they will face Ralston next Thursday, December 29 at 12:30 in the York Holiday Tournament. Coach Tom is shown here as he “conducted” the team to their 80th victory last week over Norris 55-33 before a home crowd. Not to take anything away from coach Tom but talent like this doesn't come around very often.  

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Christmas Traditions

This picture contains two of our long standing Christmas traditions; a box of Whitman's Sampler chocolates and four little candle holders spelling out NOEL. I'm quite sure that I gave Elaine a box of Whitman's for Christmas in 1947. By the next Christmas, I gave her an engagement ring. It is in that empty box that Elaine kept the letters that I wrote to her during our courtship. There has probably been a box of Whitman's candy in our house every Christmas since. For years it was a 1-pound box or even a 5-pound box when the kids were all home. This year the contents weighed 12-oz. but the size of the box nor the love it expresses never changed.
The little candle holders came into our collection along with our four children. I don't know when it started or who the culprit may have been, but invariably, the letters would be switched around to spell LEON. I'm sure all 4 of them were guilty of making the switch sometime  while they were at home. If any of he boys were here this year, the switch would probably occur. In fact, I'm a little surprised it didn't happen this afternoon when Carolyn and Julie were over for a short visit.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

More Chirstmas Lights

When the temperature hit 44 degrees this afternoon, I couldn't resist the temptation to put up outdoor Christmas lights. And Yes, I did get out the ladder to hang the one strand on the eves. Elaine helped by getting some necessary material for me while I was on the ladder and Carolyn happened by to assist as well. She did the stringing on the porch railing to the right of the picture. The red lights are on a Holly bush that also has a few little natural red berries. It is a beautiful bush that holds its green leaves all year. The other lights are on a Japanese Yew. It may not be recognized in the Seward Home Decoration contest but our neighbor lady from across the street bought over a plate of cookies. How much better recognition could one hope for.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Outdoor Christmas Decorations

The extent of our outdoor Christmas decorating has been reduced over the years as climbing on a ladder became more treacherous. Time was that we went all out with lights strung all along the roof top facing the street. A couple years ago I was the high bidder on a bunch of Christmas decorations and strings of lights at an auction. (They sell pretty cheap in the summer). I strung those pretty red lights in the barberry bushes that we have in front of our porch. And, had to run an extension cord from the plug-in at the house across the opening where Elaine is standing to get to the bushes. All was well and beautiful until the paper boy came early the next morning and cut across to deliver the neighbors paper. He not only tripped and fell in the snow but ruined a couple sets of lights in the process. Since then we have limited our outdoor lighting to what you see in the picture.
That is until this year. I got the outdoor Christmas stuff down from the attic a couple weeks ago and planned to put them up last Sunday when the temperature got up into the 50's. However, I went to the Nebraska Girls basketball game instead. This week has been cold and is expected to stay that way. This morning  Elaine and I went to the second funeral of dear friends during the past two days.  I told Elaine that when we got back home, I was definitely going to put up our outside lights. She was somewhat surprised when I was back in the house a few minutes later with the task completed. Just another example of the compromises one must make as you grow older if you hope to stay healthy and avoid possible accidents.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Our Small Group

We had our 5th meeting last evening of the Seward UMC Small Group that is studying "Parables from the Back Side". This Nativity Scene graces Bruce and Sue's sun room and added to the Meaning of the Season" as we enjoyed a Christmas Soup Supper at their house. There are 12 of us who normally enjoy a period of fellowship, watch J. Ellsworth Kalas discuss his lesson of the day, and then all participate in a lively discussion period at our by-weekly meetings. "The Course of Study" is interesting and the hospitality and leadership ability of Bruce and Sue cannot be overestimated. They both have excellent credentials as long time teachers and consulars and continue to be involved in Youth Education,  Mission programs, CASA, etc. Our group is interesting in our diversity of ages, professions, and interest, yet we have the common tie with the Church. Though we have know Bruce and Sue for 25 years, and may have recognized some of the others in Church, we really didn't know them well enough to call them by name. I am a firm believer that even in a small community such as ours, a lot can be gained by using the Small Group approach to foster fellowship and promote good will within a community. In addition, we have fun and go home feeling better than when we came.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Old Guys & Girls Basketball

Here are some of the "old guys" that were at the Girls basketball game last night to see Seward High beat Norris 55-33. It was Seward's 80th consecutive win and the 5th of this season. That win streak dates back to include 3 Class B State Championship. One of our girls, Hannah, who is a Junior has already accepted a scholarship to play at UN-L. Another Junior, Kourteney who is 6'2" scored 19 points last night and is a terrific player. She will be playing Division I ball somewhere and it well could be for Nebraska. This afternoon us "old guys" went to see the UN-L girls beat Vermont 94-41. It was Seward's Emily Cady Day at the Devaney where she was honored, her folks were introduced and she went on to play a great game. She scored 18 points and made numerous outstanding plays. She has started every game for the Huskers this year as a freshman. Us old guys think that 2 years from now, we may have 3 girls from Seward playing for the Huskers. A lot of the credit for their development goes to their HS Coach Tom Tvrdy. Go Blue Jays-Go Big Red.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Brother Don

Take time today to wish this fellow a Happy Birthday. He has had a good number of Birthday Anniversaries since this pictue was taken but if you know him, he still looks pretty much the same. I am 4 1/2 years older than he so Don will always be my "little Brother". I couldn't have asked for a better one. It is one of the family stories that when Grandpa Walker's came to see him, I met them at the door and said, "We have a real baby at our house". His 2nd birthday had just passed when we moved to the farm in February of 1932. Folklore has it that as it got dark that first night, he told Mother that, "He wanted to take his bottle and his potty and go home". A pony soon helped him realize he was home. There were pleanty of reasons to be discouraged during the drought stricken, depression years of the '30's but his cheerfullness did wonders to help us through. Vivian and I always thought he was Dad's favorite but how important it was for Don to  cheer Dad up when there was little else to do so. As Don matured, married, had a family, became an auctioneer, he never lost that cheerfullness and pleasant smile. He has been blessed with the ability to be playing golf and still auctioneering and to have a most wonderfull wife and family. God Bless and Happy Birthday Brother.

Friday, December 16, 2011

'Tis the Season

I dusted off the 48" Flexible Flyer III this afternoon and plan to put it on Craig's list early tomorrow morning. It is in  excellent condition and belongs under a Christmas tree or in the possession of anyone to whom it may bring pleasure. It is not one of the "old" sleds that our kids and Julie rode but rather one that I acquired a few years ago as a bargain and need to move it on. The "old sleds" are stored safely up in the attic and are awaiting the time they can be passed on to another generation.
This was also the day of the annual Christmas Bird Count in this area. We were visited by Cardinals, Juncos and a couple types of sparrows at our feeder while we were eating breakfast but it's been very quiet the rest of the day. It was a pleasant day but a chilly wind may have kept them in their shelter.
We mailed and received Christmas Cards. Many from people we haven't heard from since last Christmas. It is when we hear about health problems of dear friends that we again offer our thanks to God for our health and happiness and say a prayer for those in need.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Seward Foundation

Board members of the Seward Foundation gathered this morning to present a check to representatives from the 4-H Afterschool Clubs program. This is one of 3 grants that the Foundation has approved this fall. Two other grants were approved this spring. The Foundation was established as a 501 (c)(3) back in the early '80's when it became apparent that local funding would be essential to nurture local school and community programs. Grant request to the Foundation must first be approved by the Seward School Board or the Seward City Council. The Foundation Directors continue an annual fund raising effort to build their modest endowment. Administrative expenses are nearly Nil with much of the cost of mailings picked up by Board members or their businesses. None of the dollars given to the Foundation have ever been spent but it's only the earnings from those donated dollars that are distributed as grants. Consequently, the dollars distributed as grants over the years exceeds the total amount ever donated. It's been a win-win program for the community.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Kitones at Utica

Our Seward Kiwanis Kitones "entertained" this noon at the Utica, NE, Senior Center following a delicious lunch. Jack, one of the Kitones, read portions of the "Christmas story" from the Bible as part of  the commentary, and we sang appropriate songs that fit the story. The audience was involved by joining us in singing a verse or two of our 11 familiar songs. It was a joyful occasion and each of us had friends or relatives in the audience to visit with over lunch. I drove my car and took a couple of our younger members and thoroughly enjoyed our visit over the 11-mile trip in the rain and fog. No one enjoys our performances more than our Director.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Eleven Days till Christmas

                                                                                                                                                                                                     Our Christmas tree is in place with colored lights shining brightly and especially the one held by the angel at the top of the tree. Candles are glowing in our living room windows that face the street and hopefully the weather will enable me to get a few lights outside on the front porch railing. Our Christmas letter has been written, some cards addressed and mailed, and more in the process. I personally feel that just hearing from people at Christmas time is important. How or by what medium we hear from them is secondary. If they want to tell us all about what the Grand kids are doing, that's O.K. or if they just write a few words on a Christmas card or note pad, that's alright too. Occasionally we will receive a beautiful card with the senders name printed on it which I think is a waste of money but it's still O.K.; at least they remembered us at this time of year when we feel closest to those old friends, former co-workers and relatives whom we don't hear from very often. I may even send out our Christmas letter as an attachment to an email and hope it doesn't offend any one but I want them to know that we remembered them and associated them with a pleasant memory.  We have enjoyed two performances by the Seward High School Show Choir recently. Their Director, Leslie Stratton has the ability to bring the best out of these kids. They are really good.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Great Trip

I continue to summarize information from my 1986 Journal.  Today I wrote about a trip taken just a few days after the farming problems described yesterday.
"While it was difficult for Julie to leave her Mother, we took her along with us on a rather extensive Motor home trip back east. We left on July 26th towing the VW. Our travels took us to Opryland at Nashville, TN; Gatlinburg, TN; Dolly West at Pigeon Forge; the Wacamac pottery factory in Burlington, NC and on to Jon and Mary’s in Oxford, NC. We were pleased to see how Heather had grown and she and Julie got along real well. Jon had a home computer and was very much into its usage. The southern states were 20” below normal rainfall and experiencing an extreme drought. Jon coordinated the delivery and distribution of hay that was shipped in from the northern states to help feed the livestock in addition to his Soil Scientist duties. We left the Motor home along the side of Jon’s driveway and drove the VW up to Richmond, VA where we stayed in a Holiday Inn and visited Verlon. He took us on a tour of the Children’s Museum to see an exhibit he helped built and down to the Mall where he and Julie got their picture on a pin. He bought me an authentic NY Yankee baseball cap. We walked over to the beautifully restored old Jefferson Hotel where we met Cle, Verlon’s girlfriend. The next day we took Verlon and Cle with us and met Jon, Mary & Heather to visit Williamsburg. After enjoying the old restored businesses, homes and seeing the various attractions and the parade, we dropped Verlon and Cle off at his place in Richmond and went back down to Oxford. Our little VW worked real well on the 380 mile trip." And, this was just the beginning of a 16 day Motor home trip.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Farming Part-Time

We had a Love-Hate relationship with our farm from the time we bought it in the spring of 1980 until we sold it in 1989. Though Elaine and I had both been raised on farms we were accustomed to having our houses and yards in top notch condition. This was just not possible with a 5-acre farmstead that included 13 buildings on an 80 acre farm while working at a high profile, full-time job and keeping up our house in town. Consequently there was a lot of stress and frustration. I am in the process of reading and summarizing my 1986 Journal and came across this entry of July 19, 1986. 

We had the JD-110 lawn tractor in to Seward Implement for what we thought might be a 35.-40. dollar repair bill and it was $218.00. He took back an umbrella at about half-price when I couldn’t get it mounted on my JD-720. After unloading the mower and starting to cultivate Milo, I realized another cultivator shank was missing. Elaine came out and we found it where I had made the first pass through the field. Then I killed the Diesel engine on the JD and couldn’t get it started. I walked home, got Elaine, the Ford tractor, jumping cables, and a log chain and went back out to the JD. I shut the Ford off to get things hooked up and had to reset its timing in order to get it started. We then realized the Ford was out of gas and while Elaine walked home for the gas can, I saw that the frame of the cultivator that had been welded, had cracked again. Carolyn and Julie had been to the Cornhusker Games in Lincoln so they brought Elaine out in the old pickup. When we couldn’t get the JD started, we used the log chain to toe it home on the road behind the Ford. Foolishly, I was driving the Ford and since we had nearly a half mile to go, put it in 4th gear. Elaine was on the JD and not real familiar with the individual foot breaks and nearly flipped as we speeded up. Once home, I put the battery charger on it, got it going and went back to finish cultivating. The 12 east rows were so weedy I debated using “Rescue” spray, disking it under, or just letting it go. I concluded my Journal entry with, “Days like this are when I definitely believe we need to get rid of the farm and be able to live like other people”.

Saturday, December 10, 2011


Elaine and I have been very fortunate throughout our many years of marriage. This picture was taken at the time of an anniversary back in the late '60's. While our appearance may have changed, we still see each other looking pretty much  like we did when we were younger. As with many pictures, the items in  the background gain in interest as time passes. An example here is the large picture above the fireplace. Today, some 40+ years later, that very picture hangs above the couch in our living room. The little statuette sitting on the floor in the right side of the picture, sets today in the living room next to the piano. We no longer have a fireplace so no reason for the tools but the little lamps are still a part of our household. Change becomes less important as we age. And, we often see things as they were and not necessarily as they are. My old '92 Buick La Sabre is another example.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Talented Students

These 3 members of the Seward High School girls basketball team presented the program at our Kiwanis meeting this week. And yes, we did talk sports and basketball when we got into the Q & A part of their presentation. However, They were there as representatives of the High School Student Council. The Council is an active part of HS decision making according to their Principal. They announced a new program of promoting "Body Part Donations" to save lives, which they will be implementing. We heard some great sports comments from them in response to question.  They play Pius X in Lincoln tonight in quest of their 78th consecutive win which includes the past 2 years as Class B  State Champions. Their  Principal told us that their team has one of the highest GPA's in the school, told us of their tutoring activities, and the great benefit they provide as role models to all students. We in the community are most proud of them.  

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Hyde Park, New York

This is a follow-up to yesterdays "Day of Infamy" blog. The Soil Conservation Service Annual Meeting was held at Saratoga Springs, New York in 1978. We drove up from Washington, D.C.; met friends along the way and visited Hyde Park. The picture shows Elaine, Hank and Whitey at the front of the house overlooking the Hudson river. While there, we visited the Museum where I bought a 2-volume compilation of FDR's "Conservation" papers which have been most valuable to me over the years. In the museum, under glass, was the original manuscript of his "Infamy" speech. It was typed on a legal size yellow pad with some handwritten editing shown. The word "forever" was the original word, crossed out and replaced with Infamy.
Closup view of FDR's handwriting on the Day of Infamy Speech
My Journal entry for that date, October 1,1978, includes the comment. "We spent about 3 hours there. Most interesting. Surprised at his personal editing of such things as his, 'day of infamy' ''.

The picture to the right was pulled today from the FDR Museum web site.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

A Day that will Live in Infamy

National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day
Sunday, December 7, 1941, was a warm, sunny day. Vivian, Don and I were playing football out in the west yard when Mother called us in to listen to the Radio. The Japanese were bombing Pearl Harbor in Hawaii where our entire Pacific Fleet was laying at anchor. The trauma was indescribable, but since plans had already been made, Vern and I took Irene Kovar and Dolores Katt to Lincoln to a movie at the Lincoln theater. The movie was “Keep 'em Flying”. We sat in the balcony, and a radio in the projection room kept playing with special reports throughout the evening. The next day President Roosevelt addressed the joint session of Congress and the American Public and stated that: “Yesterday, December 7, 1941, is a day that will live in infamy.” He went on to say that a State of War existed between the United States and Japan as well as with the European Axis Nations (Germany and Italy) It was the only time I remember hearing a radio at school. That evening San Francisco had an air-raid alert, and my diary notation included: “I'm thinking about joining he Army when I'm 17.”

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Friedens UCC Church

I attended a Memorial Service this morning at Friedens United Church of Christ here in Seward. It was for the wife of one of my long time friends who was part of our Coffee Klatch for the past 25 years. Jean had suffered with Alzheimer's disease for the past several years following an exemplary life. Norm is a long time Kiwanis member so we were all honored with special seating.  As I sat in the 2nd row pew and observed the beautifully decorated sanctuary it brought back many memories. It was before this altar that Elaine and I took our wedding vows those many years ago. It was here that I joined "Elaine's Church" and our four children were baptized. It was here that I sang in a quartet with Johnny, Keith and Freddie with Helen playing the piano. It was here that Elaine's Father and Mother's Memorial services were held as well as for many other friends and relatives. And, I realized how much this "humble edifice" means to me. Most facilities, places and things have changed over the past 50 years or are no longer here, but this Church, this Sanctuary, this Altar, have changed very little. It is with heart warming nostalgia I look back to that period 1949-1958 while we were members of this Church, to realize  those were some of the happiest years of my (our) life. And, the interesting thing is, I (we) didn't realize it at the time.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Cute Kids

Here are a couple neat kids. I wonder how many of you who see this picture might recognize them. This was taken some 40 years ago and they have both matured into outstanding adults. I can tell you that the picture of these cousins was taken in Vivian and Eddy Soucek's front yard here in Seward and they are my niece and nephew. I plan to put this on Facebook to see how many people may be able to identify them.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Selection Wisdom

Though Elaine has her Christmas Village set up on the buffet, and we have candles lit in the street side windows, we will not put up our tree for another week or so. We just don't have any "extra" room  like we did in the room pictured back in Virginia. It was what we called the "sun room" off the Living and Dining rooms. It had double windows on the east and west ends and 2 sets of double windows to the south. It was a great place for plants, the TV and Christmas trees. Elaine and I have never missed having a tree decorated but it has been more challenging some years than others. They have ranged from "farm cut" cedars to beautiful firs. Some were even "balled and burlaped" and planted after Christmas. We had to replace one spruce tree when the needles all fell off after being up for about a week. The tree pictured may have been one that we picked out at night from a dimly lit lot. It looks pretty nice from one side but the other side was bare. Tim was in college down at Duke at the time and had asked a girl out who he met  in a dimly lit situation. He later reported that she wasn't nearly as pretty as he thought when she appeared in brighter light. He and I concluded in a Holiday discussion that, "You should never pick out a Date or a Christmas Tree in the Dark".

Saturday, December 3, 2011

First Snow

It was a busy day at our house. Elaine's Christmas village on the buffet is very much a part of the season. It is all stored in the original boxes and packed in a big box under the basement stairway. Getting the necessary wiring for lighting each house is also a project. She was also able to get "candles" in our 2 front windows. These date back to our big house in Virginia where we had them in all our front windows. She also has the Nativity scene set up on a table in our entry way. We even had oyster soup for lunch to fit the Holiday preparations.

All of Elaine's work took place while snow was falling outside. We went to the Post Office after breakfast to get Christmas messages off to family when the snow started that continued during the day. While it measured between 4 and 5 inches on the deck benches, it was a very wet snow and much of it melted as it was falling. I cranked up the snowblower about 5:00pm and cleaned off the driveway. I believe our snow is over for now but it does help get one in the Christmas spirit. We have our tickets to go on the Concordia Home tour tomorrow so hope the weather is better. All 5 homes on tour this year are out in the country and off the "beaten path" so road conditions could be a problem. We enjoyed Public Television music as we ate supper this evening. After the Nebraska volley ball girls loss in the 2nd round of the NCAA tournament last night, it's a comfort to watch somethings other than sports.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Happy Little Home

This is the place that Mother always referred to as "Our Happy Little Home". The folks bought it a couple years after they were married and it was my birthplace as well as for sister Vivian and brother Don. The place was located on the south side of West Moffitt street and across the railroad tracks from the Seward fair grounds. Though we moved to the old family farm north of Garland as I approached my 7th birthday, the folks continued to rent the property. During WWII, Hughes Bros. purchased the property along with others in the neighborhood, as they expanded their plant. The house was moved up to 13th and Roberts where it was remodeled and is an attractive "little home" today. During the time we lived here, electricity was our only utility. Mother had a little kerosene stove for cooking and also a kitchen range but the house was heated with a wood stove. There was a shallow well next to the wash house and the "out house" is at the center of the picture. The place  consisted of 6 lots which provided "pasture" for the goats. I was unable to digest Mother's or cow's milk as a baby and Dad paid $60.00 for a Nubian Nanny that nourished me to weigh 25 pounds at the age of 6 months. It was a humble beginning but I couldn't have gotten off to a better start.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Old Gateway back on Duty

This picture of Elaine working on the old Gateway computer was taken a year ago but could have been taken this afternoon as she drafted our Christmas letter. We used this old machine very little during the past several months but "fired it up" a couple weeks ago and have it back on "limited duty".
Winter definitely began in southeastern Nebraska today with temperatures in the 30's and not forecast to improve over the next several days. It appears that the golfing season is over for this year but we certainly gave it a good run. I logged 175, 9 hole rounds and often played an extra 3 following the 9 holes.
We had our Magazine Club Christmas party this evening at the Seward Country Club. It featured a sirloin steak dinner with all the trimmings including peppermint ice cream. It's a great group and a good time was had by all.