It wasn't on Sadie Hawkins Day, it wasn't even Leap Year, but the results were similar when Elaine's brother Dale, brought his little sister over to meet some of us guys from Garland. Dale had built some terraces in our neighborhood and become acquainted with Don Armstrong. Dale thought that Don might want to dance with Elaine but when he hesitated momentarily, I jumped at the chance. And, the rest is history. I don't know whether to contribute some things to "chance" or Divine Intervention but the meeting of Elaine, our getting married, my going to work of the USDA Soil Conservation Service, all must have been one or the other. I certainly didn't run any of those major decisions through an analytical thought process. I just did what I thought was right (or is it possible that Sadie had something to do with it.)
Tuesday, February 28, 2012
This picture was taken 20 years ago after driving home our new 1992 Buick LaSabre. Had we taken a similar picture this morning, after Elaine and I were back home after taking things to the recycle center, it would look very much the same. I don't have the cap anymore but believe the shirt and jacket are still in the closet. I'm sure Elaine still has the blue coat. The old car has served us well through its 154,000+ miles. It gets driven less than 2,000 miles/year but seldom misses a day of being taken out of the garage. While driving, I am currently listening to a cassette tape that I put together. It includes some polka music, Willie Nelson, and others. Oh, there are a few things on it that don't work anymore but I can relate to that. I'm optistic enough to have filled the car's gas tank again the other day and we are still buying green banannas.
Monday, February 27, 2012
Sunday, February 26, 2012
Madison Jo Burianek was baptized in the Seward United Methodist Church this morning. She is the daughter of Brandon & Caitlin. Brandon is the son of Rodney Burianek & Amy Jo and Rodney is the son of Ron Burianek & Bonnie. Bonnie is the daughter of Ralph Walker & Christina. Ralph (the young man to the right of the picture) and my mother, Florence (in the center of the 3 sisters) were brother and sister. All of the Walker family pictured have passed on, however, Christina, Ralph's widow and Madison's great-great Grandmother is living in the Legacy retirement facility in Lincoln. Ralph was 18 years younger than my mother and only about 7 years older than me. He and I were probably closer as kids growing up than he was with his older brothers. By the time Ralph & Christina had a family, I was grown so never were very close with his family
This next picture, taken in 1927 of 5 generations, shows my sister Vivian as a 4 year old, my Mother, her Dad as well as his Mother and Grandmother. The elderly Grandma Walker died within a year of the picture being taken. I didn't get a picture of little Madison this morning after her baptism but I should have along with her parents, grandparents and Ron and Bonnie, her great-grandparents. Then I could have pictured 8 generations of Walkers/Burianeks. I am indebted to my wife Elaine for her work on family genealogy or I wouldn't have this much information. If Madison Jo ever traces her ancestry back 7 generations, she will find my Great-Great-Grandmother, Catherine (Black) Walker, who along with her husband Matthias, are buried in Wyuka Cemetery in Lincoln, NE.
Saturday, February 25, 2012
Larry drove his new Honda SUV last night and took Marv, Norm, PeeWee and I to the Northstar HS in Lincoln. We saw the Seward HS girls win their District Tournament by beating Crete 74-40. The game was much closer than the score indicates and the Crete girls played hard until the final buzzer. Hanna Tvrdy (#10) scored 16 of her 20 points in the first half for Sewards 37-26 halftime lead. She hit a couple 3-pointers late in the first quarter to provide some separation after Cretes early lead. Kourteney Zadina (#42) led all scorers with 22 and Beth Bohuslavsky added 14 points. Eight of Sewards girls scored in this their 98th consecutive win. The Crete Coach was quoted saying it was like, "five cannons going off all at once". The girls are good and so is the coaching. They have the top seed in the Class B State tournament and will play the #8 seed McCook on Thursday. My Buddies and I plan to be there along with at least 1,000 other people from Seward because we are taking them, One game at a Time.
Friday, February 24, 2012
In the fall of 1987, Elaine and I took Willard and Audrey Kilzer along and drove our Motor home to Kenora, Ontario. We had reservations to be picked up there and flown about 35 miles NE to the Delaney Lodge. We drew lots to determine which couple got the most primitive cabin and we won. We got out fishing the first day we arrived and for the next 3 days we were there. While the Bass and Northern fishing was excellent, the shore lunches were probably the highlight. The Indian guides would clean the fish, build the campfire on a small island in the English river, fire the fish, and heat up the spaghettio's. Fish never tasted so good. Willard and I grew up on adjacent farms along Oak Creek in the "Bohemian Alps" north of Garland. We shared many "growing up" experiences. And our paths were never very far apart even though some distance separated us for a while. I can say that we have known each other for 80 years. Is it any wonder that when we see each other monthly or so, that we always have a question for each other to confirm some memory of shared experiences.
Thursday, February 23, 2012
This is a busy day for us. Elaine had an early mammogram appointment and then went to Bible Study, I went to the Library and then to coffee where Ted Kooser joined us which he does occasionally. Then it was Home Delivered Meals and finished our route near the Senior Center where we went to the monthly Potato Bake. Even with the weather questionable, they served over 200. We ate with Orell & Jane Piening and Bob & Maxine Fiala. Jane and I grew up in the same neighborhood northeast of Garland and though I'm a generation ahead of her, we still have some common interest. Willard and Audrey Kilzer were there too from the same old area so we shared some family information. It even extended into some research after we got home in Cemetery Books that Elaine has worked on with the County Genealogy Society. Much of the discussion that takes place at these Potato Bakes could be considered "Oral History". Now I need to be ready to go to Lincoln with a group of "Old Guys" to see the Seward HS girls attempt to win #97 in the District Basketball Tournament.
Wednesday, February 22, 2012
This picture was taken at a Thrashing Bee near Exeter, NE on August 14,1983. We had just gotten back home from a 2-week trip in the Motor Home out to Yellowstone National Park on Friday night. We took Vivian and Ed Soucek as well as Mother and Dad with us in the Motor Home to this Thrashing event. They also had a saw-mill in operation. I noted in my Journal that: "Mom mostly sat and watched but Dad got all over the grounds, he even threw 3 bundles in the thrashing machine." We went on into Exeter for Mother's Birthday dinner and came home through Beaver Crossing. It was the first opportunity for the folks and Souceks to go with us in the Motor Home. It is interesting to note that I am about the same age now as what Dad was then.
Monday, February 20, 2012
Sunday, February 19, 2012
Three years ago one of my coffee drinking friends who was an electrician, helped me install a florescent light fixture over our island kitchen sink. It was about as difficult a task as two fellows our age wanted to take on. A few days ago, Elaine flipped the light switch and saw flashes of light from it and then darkness. My first impulse was to replace the T-8 bulbs to see if that was the problem. Another coffee drinking friend reminded me that the T-8 bulbs could be checked in a fixture with T-12 bulbs which we have in the basement. That check proved that the bulbs were O.K. We got recommendations for a good local electrician and called a young man whom we had not known. He said he could be at our house in just over an hour. He arrived on time and within 25 minutes had a new 4 lamp ballast installed, 13 wires hooked up, the plastic cover back in place and the job completed. It was some of the most efficient work I've seen in some time. When we received his bill it was $22.46 for the ballast and $65.00 for the "first hour of labor". We put a check in the return mail and were so pleased to have it repaired. I have always admired people who were exceptionally good at what they do, be it lawyers, musicians, sports figures, plumbers or electricians. Mr. Reed certainly fits into that category.
Saturday, February 18, 2012
We had two major estate auctions in Seward today. One at the 4-H building and the other at the Ag Pavilion, a couple blocks away down at the Fair Grounds. My bidding number was 225 at the 4-H building and 285 at the other. We haven't had many auctions this winter so there was a good turnout and things sold well. I spent a total of $15.44 (with tax) on two items; a collection of 12 farm directories and 9 of Harold Davisson's publications. I knew that we had several of them but not all so I enjoyed bidding. Of the 9, we had all but 2 including the one pictured. We now have copies on nearly everything Budd published. I spent the biggest share of the afternoon reading this book. It contains over 200 "stories" written by him between 1985-'90, but about many things that happened earlier. His stories are a great way to "catch up" on many things that happened during the years we were gone from Seward. I am even referred to in a couple of his stories for "having the largest Polka phonograph record collection of anyone in the Washington, D.C. area" and for having kept a Diary or Journal. Davission's books are not fancy, they didn't go through any rigorous technical edit, they may even contain some errors of fact, but the important things is, he "wrote it down" and he got it published for us and future generations to enjoy. He overcome the old adage that: "Perfection is the greatest enemy of very good". Thanks Budd.
Friday, February 17, 2012
This picture was taken in Yellowstone National Park in the summer of 1987. Elaine and I left Seward on July 25th with the VW behind our Motor Home. The Soil and Water Conservation Society annual meeting in Billings, MT is what prompted the trip. However, we took advantage of the opportunity to see many things along the way. We typically parked the Motor Home in a Campground and did our sight seeing with the VW. Gas cost about $1.00/gal and we only got about 8mpg as compared to 25 or so with the VW. We saw Register Rock and Oregon trail wagon ruts near Guernsey, WY; Jackson Hole, The Teton NP; and on in to Yellowstone NP. We parked in the Madison Junction Campground and drove the VW up to visit Seward friends in Ennis, MT and circled back past Chet Huntley's Big Sky Resort. We drove 267 miles that day. We continued to enjoy the sights of Yellowstone and drove up to Red Lodge. When we went on to Billings, MT we stayed at the Sheraton Hotel during the 4 days of the annual meeting. It was a great opportunity to be with many old friends from our SCS days as well as new ones in the Society including Alan Epps, the new Executive VP. We spent an evening at Rapid City, SD on the way home with 40,000 bikers who had come to Sturgis and got home for my Mother's birthday on August 7th. It was a great trip.
Thursday, February 16, 2012
Yesterday was February 15th and to many of us holding an elected office, the last day to file for re-election. My term of office on the Seward City Council will expire this coming December. When I filed 4 years ago for my 3rd term, I was sure that it would be my last time to do so and yet it wasn't certain. There is a finality about passing up your last opportunity to do something. It's just as well that we don't know it at the time. I didn't know, for instance, that I was playing my last game of baseball or basketball at the time and even then went on latter to play "family picnic" softball and "Grandkids" basketball. But as you get older and you recognize the proportions of sand in the hour glass, it takes on a different meaning. I remember Elaine's Mother saying "This will be the last time" when they came back east to visit us. Fortunately, they got back 2 or 3 times after her first pronouncement. Now I know where she was coming from. I will not run for elected office again.
Wednesday, February 15, 2012
Our weekly Seward Independent comes in the Wednesday mail and this afternoon we looked though it while having coffee, white coconut cake and ice cream. The paper has an 8 by 8 inch, colored, above the fold, front page picture and story of Seward girl Amy Heidemann, her fiance Nick Noonan, and their appearance on Saturday Night Live. While reading the story, I came across a Rivoli movie ad indicating "The Iron Lady" was being shown at 3:50 this afternoon. We decided to go. Meryl Streep has long been one of our favorites and her performance as Margaret Thatcher is outstanding. We also admired Thatcher during the 80's as England's Prime Minister. She and President Ronald Reagan had a lot in common. She is now 86 years old and suffering with Alzheimer's for some time. The movie is a series of "flash-backs" during her life including the past few years of having difficulty comprehending reality. The movie is well done but we don't like to see our "heroes" in the condition to which she apparently has declined. Meryl Streep demonstrated her mastery of accent, language and acting skills but the make-up artist who were able to change her appearance as they did, are real magicians.
Tuesday, February 14, 2012
What you see here is a Kindle Keyboard 3G with Wi-Fi. I brought it home after participating in the Library Board meeting this afternoon. I'm not aware of all our Seward Library has and makes available to patrons to check out, but I will have this until February 28. I don't know if I can get it figured out in that length of time but will have the challenge of trying. I don't really expect to get a book read but do want to explore the Internet connection possibilities. I believe I can use my Windstream account and send messages on the Kindle while riding down the road (with Elaine driving) but I'm not sure. This model is priced at $189.00 but with special offers it can be bought for $139.00 and Amazon has 9 used ones for $95.00. I also checked out, "The Robe" by Lloyd Douglas which Elaine read while in High School and wanted to read again. So tonight after getting home from my meeting with the Seward Aging Commission, we are having a very romantic Valentine's Day evening. She is reading "The Robe" and I'm playing with the Kindle. We haven't even turned on the TV.
Monday, February 13, 2012
This is a 1983 snowman that Julie and I made. We still have over half of the 9 inches of snow that we got a week ago and another 3" last night. Now we have had some freezing rain this evening and the possibility of more snow. We certainly need the moisture but not the ice.
There was a lot of conversation in Seward today about Amy Heidemann's performance on Saturday Night Live the other night. We are looking forward to Seward being featured for about 10 days this summer on a Lincoln TV station. It is a program called "Our Town Seward" where I'm sure she will be recognized. Our HS girls basketball team will also be in for some recognition if they can continue their winning ways. They won their 95th consecutive game last Friday night and will have one more home game before going into the District and State Tournament.
Sunday, February 12, 2012
Here is the way the 18th hole looked on June 29, 2000 when we visited there. I took the picture with my wide-angle Advantix camera. Elaine and I went out to California a few days ahead of a family reunion at Merced. We saw some baseball games and visited Pebble Beach. It is a very beautiful place, and I would enjoy playing golf there under the right conditions. Those conditions would include: An 80% reduction in fees; no spectators; only one playing partner who wouldn't laugh (Don, Larry or Charlie); an extra dozen yellow balls; and, something interesting for Elaine to do during the several hours that would take us to get around.
Saturday, February 11, 2012
I wonder on what Mark Fahleson based his opinion when he referred to Chuck Hassebrook as “a radical environmentalist”. I have known Mr. Hassebrook for over 30 years during my time as a “soil & water conversationist” at the local, state and national level and have known some people that may fit Mr. Fahleson's description, but Chuck isn't one of them. He has been an advocate for Rural communities, small business programs, small and medium sized farms, the conservation of our soil and water resources and other programs to help assure our Nations future. As a result of his bold decision to give up a “safe seat” on the University of Nebraska Board of Regents and run for the Senate, I hope people will look beyond the 30 second ads and “name calling” to get to know what the Center for Rural Affairs is all about under Chuck Hassebrook's leadership and what more he could do for our Country's future.
Friday, February 10, 2012
This picture was taken back in 1920 from the Seward brickyard smokestack looking west down Oak street toward the Mill, the Blue river, & RR water tower. The horizontal street is South 1st. The house in the bottom-right corner of the picture is where Elaine's grandparents, Charles and Anna Koch lived at the time. The picture was taken by a fellow who climbed the smokestack to repair lightening damage, took the picture, fell to his death, but the film was salvaged to produce the picture. (As the story goes) Many of the houses are still occupied. The mill burned to the ground in 1938 and the dam was destroyed some years later. The dam transformed the Big Blue River into a beautiful body of water that extended beyond the Seward City Park. Harold Davisson wrote about the Mill and the Brickyard in his: "Stories about a small town by a small town Boy" 1900-1973. As a youngster, I remember being at the brickyard one evening with my Dad and his lifting a cover enabling us see the red-hot coals in the kiln heating the bricks.
Thursday, February 9, 2012
I was still wearing my Washington Redskin Stocking cap in 1985 when Julie and I cut our Christmas tree. It was a tree that we had planted the first spring we were at the farm. We bought this farm in the spring of 1980 and sold it in the spring of 1989. Those were the years that land values took a significant hit from their highs in 1980. We have had many "second thoughts" about our decision to have bought the farm and about the hours of hard physical work that went with it. Elaine and I had grown up on farms and it seemed like an ideal place to retire after having spent 18 years in the Washington, D.C. area. What we didn't quite reckon with was the time, money, and energy it took to get the old buildings and farm in the condition we desired. I still had a demanding job with the State of Nebraska which limited my time & energy. What made it all worthwhile is what is shown in this picture. It gave Julie an opportunity to enjoy many of the benefits of a "farm experience". She could drive our Ford tractor when she was 8 years old. We visited with her and her mother this afternoon as she was working with some quilting material. Many things go in to making people what they are, and I'm satisfied that her farm experience and time spent with Grandma and Grandad were significant. I know what the experience pictured was worth to me--PRICELESS.
Wednesday, February 8, 2012
who lived across the street. It was at this place that I saw my first airplane in flight and we got our Majestic Radio. The electricity meter shown was one of the many things we missed at the farm. Mother's washing machine was converted to having an engine and she had to use flat irons heated on the kitchen wood stove. Our light bulbs gave way to kerosene lamps. But to me, the biggest change was school. The new Seward elementary school building was just completed and my 2nd grade class (along with others) moved it after the Holidays. I distinctly remember the brightly varnished floors during the 5 or 6 weeks I was there before moving. There were about 40 kids in the Oak Grove country school with only 2 girls in my class. I certainly wasn't accustomed to "big kids" being in the same room and all delighted in picking on the "town kids". The old maid teacher had a big bun and looked like "the wicked witch of the west". It wasn't an easy transition. But by the time I got to the 3rd grade, Miss Druker was the teacher for 3 years whom we all liked.
The farm provided many opportunities for raising a family. As shown on the picture, we had a country road separating the farmstead and a creek that was just below our cow barn. My folks taught me to ice skate the 2nd winter we were there. I don't know of a better place in Nebraska to have lived during the drought and depression of the '30's than in the Bohemian Alps with good German neighbors. We had a big garden, potato cave, chickens for eggs and eating, milk, butter, flour from Engler's mill, hogs and even cottontails and a squirrel to eat now and then. The folks made a good decision, and this date will be long remember as a major milestone in my life.
Tuesday, February 7, 2012
We had our marble discussion at coffee this morning. None of us had any exotic collections but each bought what they had. Bob had a bunch that he had actually played with as a youngster. Rich had a nicely partitioned container with various colors and kinds of marbles that he had found in the alley behind his store some years ago. He also had a jar full of various colored ones. Jay had one that is over 2 1/2 inches in diameter along with a good collection. He had a tin container with 6 little draw-string bags of Chinese Checker marbles. I took in my few including the one pictured. I don't recall where it came from but son Verlon may have brought it back to me from Virginia. I learned that it is called a "Sulfide" and may be of some value. It measures 1 7/8 inches and is in very good shape. The little creature inside looks more like a lamb from the other side than it does in the picture. I loaned it to Chuck to take to a friend who may have some idea of its value. He has already offered me $2.00 for it.
Monday, February 6, 2012
Sunday, February 5, 2012
I remember the "first" Superbowl game very well. Joe Namath quarterbacked the AFL, NY Jets to a 16-7 victory over the NFL Baltimore Colts who were 19 point favorites going into the game. Though there had been Championship games between the two leagues in '67 & '68, it wasn't until '69 that it was referred to as a "Superbowl" game. Namath was named the MVP of the upstart AFL Champions. (Those first 2 games have retroactively been considered Superbowl games.) One reason I may remember the game is because brother Jerry and his family had been at our house visiting where he did some carpentry and drywall work in our basement. It included finishing a "family room" with a built in place for a Television. My Diary entry for that date (January 12, 1969" included: "Tim went to several churches with his group. We didn't go and I read office material. NY Jets beat the Colts 16-7. Joe Namath did a good job. I wrote Verlon (down at VCU in Richmond) a letter. Carolyn got her blue suit finished." Elaine and I had been to the National Theater the night before and saw Woody Allen in "Play it again Sam". Those were the days. I was still working on my MBA and had been been designated "Acting" Director of the Personnel Division for the first time a few days earlier.
Saturday, February 4, 2012
There was moisture in the air most of yesterday and by about 10:00pm it turned to snow. While it has continued through much of the day, the majority of our 6 to 7 inches came in the early morning hours. The picture shows our "drooping" River Burch in the back yard. By late this afternoon, it has lost some of its snow and is attempting to straighten up. We were most pleasantly surprised when Elaine happened to see Carolyn & Ben cleaning off our driveway. I went out and made a token appearance and really appreciated their good deed. We had a lengthy telephone conversation with Dale and Marlene earlier this afternoon and I have been able to do some filing and cleaning out of files. I even came across the sales agreements for the purchase of our new, 1956 Pontiac station wagon. It cost a total of $3,117.55 including $89.25 for the Heater. As a Soil Conservation Aid with 8 years of experience, my annual salary was around $4,000.00. Had it not been for my Landscaping "sideline", our folks still helping with farm produce, and Elaine doing a lot of canning, sewing, and her part time work, it would not have been possible.
Friday, February 3, 2012
An interesting thing about being retired is that you can let one thing lead to something else without it disrupting your days schedule. Elaine had a phone call from a cousin in California this afternoon that prompted our need to look for a picture. Elaine wanted to send her a copy. In the process of looking for that picture, I came across this one that was taken on August 10, 1980. This picture included all of my folks' family at that time. Since then, some have departed and many others have come on to the scene. What struck me was that Dad was about 3 years younger then than I am now. Mother would have just celebrated her 80th birthday and just the other day, Janice told of getting the cake on fire while lighting the 80 candles on the cake. Now when I get this posted, I may "wonder" in to some other task. I've already completed my "one productive thing" for the day by installing a new switch so there's nothing scheduled until the City Awards Dinner this evening.
Thursday, February 2, 2012
The old stove is out, the new Maytag stove is in. The "staging area" shown here is in the garage with some of our collectibles shown on the wall. The fellows from Davissons did a great job of making the switch and getting it in place without having to move out the refrigerator. Elaine tried it out this afternoon. Like most instructions, they are very helpful once you get it "figured out". At one stage she considered the need for some engineering training. I tried to help a bit but could see that wasn't going to be the solution. She baked a pan of rolls that were a little overdone and then turned out a good batch of chocolate chip cookies. Things are looking up and I'm looking forward to more cookies as the "experimenting" continues.
Wednesday, February 1, 2012
It is ironic that I seemed to be scratching or massaging my left knee in this picture. And, last night I gave that very same left knee a good rub-down with Ben Gay. Even with that treatment, I wasn't able to play golf today in this 60 degree weather. I may have over done it a bit playing the last couple beautiful days. A cartilage was removed many years ago following a baseball injury and after an X-ray recently, the Dr. said it was bone-on-bone. He was surprised that I had been able to get along with it for these many years. Now I face a decision of giving up golf or having something done with the knee. Maybe a new golf swing is the answer. I still want to get a hole in one someday. Yesterday on #2 my ball stopped 13 inches in front of the cup and headed right at it. Donnie got his hole in one this past fall but as you can see, he's quite a bit younger and doesn't seem to have any knee problems.