Sunday, September 30, 2012

Some Win-Some Lose

Tim called a few minutes ago and they were on I-80 headed our way. They had just filled up with gas and food at the Sapp Bros. station this side of Omaha. During the time we lived in Ankeny, IA and frequently made the trip, it took 1 hour to get from Seward to Sapp Bros. We are eagerly awaiting their arrival. 
Our elation of Nebraska's coming back from being down 20-3, to beating Wisconsin 30-27, was dampened by the USA's Ryder Cup lose to the Europeans. My golf game wasn't very good today either so I can certainly relate to the Americans when they miss a putt. What I can't relate to is how they make many of them. Golf is one of the few things that a person can still do on a competitive basis when you get to be my age that even relates to what younger people can do. In some areas, experience can help make up for declining physical and mental abilities but in others, that experience under different circumstances, may even become a burden. The challenge is in recognizing the level of your abilities. Maybe Tim can help me do that. 

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Changing Times

We enjoyed getting out to see the progress on Julie and John's new house. Much of the floor covering has been installed, walls have been painted, and most of the appliances installed. Here is Julie showing Elaine and Carolyn how the freezer pulls out of the refrigerator. The whole kitchen is just fantastic. Sadie was along but she slept in her car seat during the entire time. She is a very fortunate little girl to be moving into a pink bedroom before being old enough to remember any thing different. Sadie will have difficulty believing me if I tell her that Uncle Burt Walker had to show me how to flush a toilet stool when I was about 10 years old. And, had never lived in a house with an indoor bathroom until Elaine and I were married. After living in a rented apartment for less than 2 years, we moved in to a little house of our own and again had an outdoor privy. We did get indoor plumbing installed within a few months. We still don't take many of our current conveniences for granted and continue to appreciate them. 

Friday, September 28, 2012

Win some - Lose some

How can two guys play so well (at times) and still lose two games in the Ryder Cup today. USA leads 5-3 after the first day but the Steve Stricker-Tiger Woods pair lost two.  Mickelson and Bradley had a great day as did several of the other Americans. We will see what tomorrow brings, but it's nice to start out with a lead. 
Our most significant accomplishment of the day was meeting with Dr. John Summa and getting lined up with him as our family physical. He has some 8 years of experience and all indications are that he will satisfy our needs. We have been spoiled with Dr. Vahle filling that role for the past 20 years or so. He was not only our Doctor but also a family friend. As we get older, any change is difficult but we will make it. I don't even like to change the shirt that I've worn the past 2 days playing golf. I think I'll wear it again tomorrow. 
The Royals are taking a beating in Cleveland where they are behind 8-1 in the 5th inning. Earlier this evening, the Indians catcher broke his bat into two pieces when he held up on a strike. I had never heard of that happening before. It demonstrates the extreme strength of an individuals wrist when they can do that.  

Thursday, September 27, 2012

We are looking forward to Tim and Laura coming out to visit. This picture was taken 10 years ago this November when they were here from Columbus, IN for Carolyn and Ben's wedding. While they have been back several times sine then, the last time was for Julie and John's wedding in July of 2010. We did get to see Tim and daughter Maggie up in Wisconsin at the time of Jerry's funeral in June of 2011. This isn't to say that we haven't maintained a close relationship. There is seldom a week goes by without a lenghty phone conversation and we "see" Tony and Maggie frequently on facebook. But this will be pretty special to have them here with us for several days in person. We might even talk some "politics" while they are here. 

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Good Deeds & Hard Times

This is brother Don on his pony during the drought of the '30's.  I did some hose watering in the yard this afternoon and thought about this picture. Our grass that took the full blunt of the summer sun, looks just like the ground under Flapper's hoofs. I have already decided to wait until spring to do anything with the yard but am looking forward to it being covered with snow so we can't see the nearly bare ground. While looking in some of my DVDs for this picture, I locked up my computer and couldn't do anything with it. I couldn't even get it shut down. While I was working with it, Elaine answered the door where two HS kids were out collecting canned goods for their Church. While she was getting some things out of the cabinet, I took advantage of asking them for computer help. They didn't profess to any great knowledge of an Apple laptop but said I could shut it off by holding the switch down for 5 seconds. That was just the help I needed. After shutting it down and bringing it back up, it works great. You wouldn't be reading this without their help. Elaine gave them an extra can of Beef Vegetable Soup. 

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Parental Pride

Meredith Wilson wasn't the only "Music Man". In 1937 a fellow came to our farm giving away Hawaiian Guitars and selling 52 weekly lessons that each cost $1.15. There was no way that my folks could afford such lessons for Vivian and I, but when the salesman played some beautiful music on one of the guitars, we were all impressed. He assured the folks that as "bright" and "musically inclined" as we were, at the end of the lessons, we could play just as well. Finally, he told of setting up a group right in our neighborhood since Willard Kilzer and Don Plautz were already planning to "buy in".  As the folks discussed the cost, I remember Dad saying it would take a full wagon full of wheat to cover the cost. There was never any consideration of only one of us being involved. So all 4 of us began our lessons. While we were told about the musical notes, we played entirely by numbers. It was a very simplistic method. While most of our lessons were given for a hour a week in one of our homes, occasionally we met with a similar sized Seward Class. Some of those lessons were in the old Nome Hotel. The folks took great delight in our ability to make music. We played at family birthday parties and all 4 of us played at Country School Christmas programs, etc. Vivian and I even played for our Junior-Senior Banquet at the Cornhusker Hotel in Lincoln when we were Juniors. I hope the folks "got their monies worth" when it was something that required considerable sacrfice. Since I was relatively good at it, it helped my confidence at an age when  it was necessary It got us out in front of people and built our self esteem which was very important throughout my career. It further cemented a friendship between Willard and I that continues to this day. I will discuss this with him on Thursday at the Senior Center Potato Bake. It's an example of the lengths parents will go for their kids and the kids hopefully, making the best of it. Thanks Dad and Mother. 

Monday, September 24, 2012

Seward Kiwanis Officers

The Kiwanis Club of Seward held their annual officer installation event this evening at the Country Club. Shown are the officers for the coming year. Left to Right-Shane Baack, Pres.-elect; Chad Denker, President; Julie Klimm, Immediate past President; Ken Block, Secretary; and, David Held, Treasurer. Julie did a great job as President. Chad will also bring great leadership skills to the position. He just returned from Washington, D.C. where he was honored as Nebraska's Outstanding High School Principal. Our Club is in Good Hands with a great team in the Leadership positions.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Family Features, etc.

  1. This picture of Julie taken when she was 2-years old makes us realize how Sadie definitely has some of her facial features. Sadie's hair is very dark which is similar to her Dad's and her eyes may also be more similar to Johns but her little nose and mouth is very much like Julie's  were in this picture. While there are certain features that "show-up" in youngsters from both sides of the family, they are all individuals in their own right. As a HS project, Julie worked up a chart of her "ancestry". It still hangs on our basement wall and includes her Mother's family back  about 5 generations. It is not nearly as complete on her Father's family.  I suspect John may have similar if not even more information on his family. I have no idea as to whether DNA information today is able to identify where the genes come from for any individual. It does seem that medical technology is beginning to enable certain predictions. It really gets back to the old Nature vs Nurture discussion. While our physical features may be influenced more by nature, I believe "who we are" is determined much more by nurture. As we watched the 30 or so youngsters that sang in Church this morning, I couldn't help but think how fortunate each of them is to have someone who brought them there before 8:00am to practice. Sometimes we don't realize how fortunate we and are family really are. 

Saturday, September 22, 2012


After showing pictures of me holding and visiting with Sadie when the girls came down the other day, it is appropriate to also show Elaine in action. Grandmothers and Great Grandmothers seem to have a special way with babies. And, it's not only confined to babies but in helping youngsters "grow up". And, it sometimes that takes longer than we may expect. All 4 of our kids spent considerable time with their Grandparents which was very positive for their education and maturity. Because of distance, we didn't get to spend as much time as we might have liked with any of our Grandchildren other than Julie. We did have an opportunity to spend some time with Heather and Anna during their time here in Seward. Tim and Tony and I went on a baseball trip when he was a teenager. And, he and Maggie went with us back to Washington, D.C. which were great chances to get to know them better. Grandparents should never miss an opportunity to spend time with their Grandchildren. It may be more valuable to them than money in a 503 account.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Mother & Daughter

This was taken yesterday when the girls came down to visit.  It's a picture worth a thousand words. In fact, I could write a number of words and it wouldn't tell the story as well as the picture. One word that might work is "contentment".  As much as Sadie seems to enjoy kicking her legs and swinging her arms, she is most content when "wrapped up" and resting on her Mothers shoulder. Being "wrapped" is only one of the many things that have changed since we had babies. I have heard it said that the only things that remains constant is change. Julie gave me a demonstration of her IPhone-4 which was Apple's top model until today. I don't know how  much the new model changes from hers but it was already way above my "grade level". One can't help but wonder if change in such technology will continue to accelerate or if it is reaching a level of maturity and will slow down. The automobile went through tremendous change (and improvement) during the 1930's. While the product continues to improve, the rate of change has been quite minor during the past 60 years compared to that earlier decade. But there are some things that don't change. The Love shown in this picture is an example. 

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Sadie in Action

The "girls" came down this afternoon and I had an opportunity to "visit" with Sadie. She is really a lively little girl. She swings her arms, kicks her legs and gets a lot of exercise without even walking. When we haven't seen her for a couple days, her changes are evident. It's just amazing how she has grown in 6 weeks. I expect it's more difficult for her parents or grandparents who see her more often, to recognize the changes that we  see. She is also much more aware of what is going on around her. She certainly responds when she hears her Mother's voice. Their visit was the highlight of the day that included going to coffee, playing 9 holes of golf (42), having a prime rib Lodge Dinner, meeting with our Church "Small Group" and watching the Royals beat the White Sox 4-3. Our Church group is studying and discussing the relationship between Christianity and the Stewardship of our Natural Resources. I'ts a topic with which we have had some experience. 

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Collection of Words

These are the shelves in my basement office that hold my 7, 5-year Diaries and 35 years of daily Journals. The little box in the foreground contains over 30 years of monthly planners. Some people collect stamps, tokens, coins, etc. It could be said that I collect words or memories. Some collections become more valuable as time passes but I don't expect mine to do so. It's value is very personal to those of us who "lived it". In fact, I'll be satisfied if it doesn't become a burden for someone someday. We also have quite a collection of pictures. However, with them, technology keeps changing. They go from prints to slides to digital pictures so storage, retrieval and viewing is an issue. At least with my collection of words it's all hard copy, though some of them are written with a pencil. 

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Busy Day

We are looking forward to meeting brother Don and Gladys tomorrow for lunch at the Golden Corral in Lincoln. We will probably have their Buffet which calls for some "self restraint" to keep from over eating. We took Verlon to the airport in Lincoln this morning and he flew back to Richmond. He had a slight delay in Chicago but landed in Richmond amongst some of the weather that hit the east coast this afternoon. I had a good golf game, sat in on a Chamber program where the Director of the State Department of Economic Development spoke, shopped at Walmart, and participated in the City Council meeting this evening. It had the potential for being controversial but further information will be gathered before decisions on Economic Development Boards will be made. Sometimes "kicking the can down the road" is a good thing. It's better than kicking it in the ditch if you want to save the can. 

Monday, September 17, 2012

Verlon Cooking

We continued to eat on the roast pork this evening that Verlon grilled yesterday evening. In fact, there is probably enough left for him to have a good sandwich before boarding the airplane tomorrow morning. While I was at Kiwanis this noon, Elaine and Verlon went town to Beaver Crossing to visit the Hardware Store and buy some little wheels for a cart that we have. It has had a bad wheel for some time. As it turned out, they didn't fit when they got home. But Verlon came up with an ingenious way to repair the old wheel that had gone bad. He got it all put back together and will be ready to help move the next item that's too heavy to carry. As he said, Grandpa Flowerday would have been proud. This was probably the last thing he was able to fix for us during this visit. His home maintenance work while visiting helps to keep our place in "ship shape". 

Sunday, September 16, 2012

A Good Day

With Verlon here from Virginia, it was a good opportunity for the Nebraska Cousins to get together today in Lincoln. Here is Carolyn, Verlon, MaryBeth, Laurie, Kathy, Terry, Becky and Sandy. It would have been nice if the other cousins could have been here from California, Colorado, Wisconsin, Indiana and Virginia. Eight out of 17 isn't too bad considering the distance involved. Missing were Gary, Julie, Mark, Jim, Cindy, Tony, Mark, Tim and Jon. Verlon was the first of the cousins and Tanya the last with 26 years between their ages. My cousins were within a similar age spread but Elaine's varied over a couple generations. 
I had an opportunity to play golf after two days of the course being tied up when I might have played. By the time I got home, Verlon and Elaine were already planning supper. Verlon had marinated a pork roast and was preparing to cook it on the grill. It needed to cook slowly which provided an opportunity to enjoy a Heineken and discuss the cousins get together, my golf game, and how the Yankees and Royals came out. It was a beautiful evening, the roast turned out great. Elaine complemented it with sour kraut, apple sauce, potatoes and apple pie with ice cream. The only things better would have been a Royals win and my not missing that last putt. Maybe tomorrow. 

Saturday, September 15, 2012


Last evening we went to Bee for fish dinner at Lou and Maryann's and this evening we brought home a Pizza from Sam and Louie's here in Seward. It hit the spot after watching the Nebraska football game and seeing the Yankee's beat the Rays. We were around early this morning and hauled our brush pile to the City Burn Pile. We accumulate shrub & tree trimmings, etc. on a pile out by the Lilac bushes and haul it to the burn pile once a year. I was handed the key to the pickup that I borrowed and was embarrassed to have to ask how to turn on the switch. The Key only opened the door and a computer connection which is a part of the key case is what turns the switch. By the time we got the brush hauled, the truck returned, showered and shaved, had coffee with a Kolachie, I announced that my days work was done. I just watech TV and goofed off the rest of the day. I missed my golfing exercise but the course was tied up with special events. Maybe tomorrow. 

Friday, September 14, 2012

Don's Wagon

These wagons were on Don and Gladys' auction last Saturday. As I "processed" this picture, it brought back memories of Don and his wagons as a kid. In the fall of 1940 when Don would have been 10 years old, he had his wagon fixed up with a "backboard" similar to what I had on my full sized wagon while husking corn.  I remember of him pulling his wagon up the field road north of the house  where I was working. It was a Saturday afternoon and Nebraska was playing Minnesota in Minneapolis. He had written the score on his wagons backboard. My Diary entry for October 5, 1940 includes, "Shucked corn today. Heard that Cincinnati won the world series game. Nebraska lost the football game". In checking the record, Minnesota won 13-7. Those were the days when Nebraska was in the Big-Six and Minnesota was a real powerhouse. Now, the last time they have outscored Nebraska was in 1960. We have a 15 game win streak going against them. While I had forgotten the score of the game, I still have the distinct memory of Don having written it on his backboard. (I suspect he abbreviated Minnesota- I would've had to). 

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Environmental Group Discussion

We had our first "small group" meeting this evening to study the relationship between "Faith, Science, and the Message of Jesus". There are 7 people in the group which makes for good exchange of ideas. We are considerably older than the others which makes for differing perspectives which I'm sure will be more pronounced as we get into the "meat" of the environmental issues. Elaine is the only one of the 4 ladies that grew up on a farm though a couple of the fellows did. It's difficult if not impossible for a person to grow up in town and have the same appreciation of Nature and the Environment as country kids. I recognize that kids growing up on a farm today is much different than in our day. One of the ladies involved is with the Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality, another works for the Nebraska Bankers Association which will lead to some interesting perspectives. The couple that host our group have only been in Seward for 2-3 years. They moved here from Tomah, WI and knew Chad and were aware of Vrana Drywall and Storage. They went to the same Church where Jerry's funeral was held a year ago. They are good people that we enjoy being with as are all the others in the group. It will be a good experience. Plus, Marti served an excellent dessert. 

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Sadie Elizabeth

This was taken Sunday evening when we went up to Owens' to visit and see Sadie. She and Verlon get along real well. The girls came down this afternoon and we were able to play with her again. She enjoyed being on a blanket on the living room floor where she was able to kick, swing her arms and enjoy herself. Verlon got down on the floor with her and we all enjoyed her responsiveness to his attention. Julie wrapped her up in a "swaddling" blanket as she picked her up off the floor. Then I was able to hold her for a few minutes and hold the bottle as she really got in to her feeding. She seems to change a bit each time we see her, it's just amazing. We are enjoying Verlon's time here with us. He has been working on our "deferred home maintenance". That includes scraping and painting and caulking the outside of basement windows as well as other selected house scraping, priming and painting. That along with a lot of other miscellaneous things that we just don't get done. We not only appreciate his work that gets done during his annual visits but also enjoy the opportunity to visit. We are watching the Yankee-Red Sox ballgame tonight and haven't cheered too loud (Verlon is a Red Sox fan) as the Yankees lead in the bottom of the 7th. But the Sox scored 2 runs after Joba Chamberlin came in to pitch  and after 7, the score is 5-3. We may be fans of different ball teams but we are all 100% fans of Sadie Elizabeth. 

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Seward Lied Senior Center

I participated in a monthly Board Meeting of the Lied Senior Center here in Seward this evening. As a representative of the City Council, I take part in the discussion but am not a voting member. Discussion included the possible need to increase the cost of meals. Anyone who has been in a grocery store can understand why. The meals are prepared at the Seward Memorial Hospital under the direction of a Dietitian and are contracted for on an annual basis. They served 196 at a recent monthly Potato bake. The monthly birthday/anniversary dinner meeting will be served tomorrow.  They have 67 reservations. Elaine will be among those recognized for her September birthday.  The Kiwanis Kitones will sing following the dinner. I don't think they(we) were necessarily a "draw, but hope that no one stayed away because of our singing. 

Monday, September 10, 2012

John Deeres

Brother Don sitting on his John Deere B just before it was sold at their auction this past Saturday. I'm not sure how long Don owned this tractor but it's been several years and he did a lot of restoration work on it.   Our neighbors, the Kilzers bought a used "B" in about 1940. They lived to the west of us and also farmed a place to the east of us so they drove it through our farmstead frequently. Each time we saw it, I wished we had one. Eventually we were able to get a permit to buy a new tractor during WW II from the County Rationing Board. I'm not sure how the allocation process worked but remember that we had no choice of the make of tractor we were able to buy. Two of our neighbors got Minneapolis-Molines, another a Massey Harris and one an IHC. Dad would liked to have had an "M" International. What we had an opportunity to buy was a 1944  Model "A" John Deere. I  had the privilege of driving it home from Seward. It was a good tractor that I spent many hours  on it during my farming days.   There are many stories including some close calls associated with the tractor. Dad kept it for several years but had switched over to Olivers for his later farming years. 

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Family at the Auction

Don & Gladys' Auction yesterday provided a chance for us to spend a bit of time with their family. This is Matt Deseck, Ty Gorton and Tony McWilliams. I just happened to catch them together while I was sitting in the shade. Matt and Tony have played baseball this summer. We were able to see Tony play 3rd base for Pius X  HS when they came out to beat Seward earlier this spring. Ty just got home from having a cast removed after surgery at the Shrine Hospital in Minneapolis. His good natured personality is an inspiration to all of us. I understand he has affected the Doctors and Nurses at the Hospital the same way.  Kathy is seen in the upper left corner of the picture talking to Verlon (His head is not shown). Verlon was the 1st of the Florence and Tony Grandchildren and Kathy the 2nd. While it's difficult to "keep up" with siblings families when it gets to Great Grandchildren, having them as "friends"  on Facebook helps. 
Here is Don with Dalton Leefers who became the lucky guy to get Great Grandpa's Stevens Little Scout 22 cal. Single Shot Rifle,  when his Mother, Jeni, was the high bidder on one of the guns that were sold yesterday. Don was real pleased to see it remain in the family. It is an ideal gun for a young man to have especially when he  it was Grandpa's. 

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Don & Gladys Vrana Auction

We left early this morning to drive to Syracuse, NE to attend brother Don and Gladys Auction. It was a most interesting day. The weather was perfect and an excellent time to visit with relatives and old friends. Don has completed 40 years in the profession and has served as President of the Nebraska Auctioneers Association. There were 6 or 7 of his Auctioneer buddies were there to help. He didn't plan to do any selling himself but one of his fellow "Col's" suggested he sell the first item. It was a good little shovel that would have probably brought $15.00 under normal conditions but I and one of his buddies ran it up to nearly $50.00. The successful bidder was one of his Auctioneer friends who ask Don to autograph it for him. Like most auctions, some things didn't bring what might have been expected and others brought more. It all balances out. Don did make it clear that even though he was selling his auctioning equipment, he would be available to help out whenever he was needed. He and Gladys have a wonderful family and many of them were there. We enjoyed the time we had to visit. It was particularly nice since our son flew in from Richmond, VA last evening and was with us today to visit with cousins. 

Friday, September 7, 2012

Baby weight gain

We had good news that our new little Great-
Granddaughter weighed 9 pounds, 2 ounces at her 1  month check up today. It's good news since she weighed 8 lbs. 1 oz at birth but then lost weight for the first couple weeks. They got an improved feeding regimen worked out and she is really doing well now. This picture was taken at the Seward County Museum recently and includes much of Dr. Bert Morrow's office equipment. He was the Doctor that delivered me many moons ago so it was interesting seeing his old stuff on display. Of particular interest is the baby scale in the foreground. I weighed 9 pounds when I was born and wondered if I was weighed on this scale. Since I was born at home I  might have just been weighed on a little spring scale like we used to use to weigh frying chickens when we sold them. Whatever it was, it didn't stunt my growth because by drinking goats milk, I was up to 25 lbs. at 6 months. 

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Vrana Auction

Here is the sale bill for brother Don and Gladys Vrana's Auction that will be held on Saturday, September 8th in Syracuse, NE. They are retiring from the Auctioning business after some 40 years. This auction will be held to reduce their "inventory" of items which were accumulated during those years. Don has spent many hours along with young family members working on projects down in his shop, including the restoration of the '47 John Deere B. His collection of John Deere 1/16 size toy tractors has been the envy of anyone who ever had a JD tractor. I'm sure there is a story connected with each of the Pedal Tractors. The auction also includes a great collection of high quality guns. I have my eye on a couple things to buy for no other reason than the fact that they came from Don. Our hunting together goes back to the days when I was about 15 and he was 11. Dad would let us take his single shot 410 and hunt squirrels in the big trees down along the creek. My first gun was an over/under single shot 410 with a 22 cal. rifle on top. It was made during WWII and had a plastic stock and grip. Dad used to carry it on his tractor and shoot ground squirrels and it was sold when they had their "retirement" auction. I've always regretted not coming back for that auction so I'm certainly not going to miss this one. Hard telling what we may bring home to enjoy until our "toys" are passed on at our Auction. 

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Times Change

I came across this picture yesterday as  I pulled up the one of us 5 fellows that went back to D.C. in 1948. This picture was taken in just about the same spot  with Elaine and I, Verlon, Tim, Carolyn and Jon. There was only 14 years between the one of us 5 "farm boys" and this one. A lot happened in the 14 years. While Elaine and I  were "going-to-gether", we didn't become engaged until nearly a year later.  I had hardly heard of the Soil Conservation Service at that time back in January of '48. However, by the summer of '62 Elaine and I were married, had 4 children, I had worked for SCS some 14 years, had completed 70 college hours at UN-L, bought a farm and had it paid for, had owned 3 different houses, passed the FSEE examination, completed a year long training program as an Administrative Trainee and was promoted to the Personnel Division of the National Headquarters Office in D.C. and had moved back there. That was probably the most "dynamic" 14 years in our lives.  While we have lost friends and relatives during the past 14 years, our personal life style changes have been rather minor. We still live in the same house, draw the same annuity check(though it's larger), drive the same car (though we also have a newer one), shoot about the same golf score ( but from the yellow tees),  and continue with Kiwanis, Bank Board, City Council, Church, etc. We are indeed very fortunate that we can say that the changes in our lives haven't been as significant as during that earlier period. One very major change that we are thoroughly enjoying if the birth of our first Great Granddaughter Sadie Elizabeth Owens a month ago. Life is Good. 

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Memories of Ed Pollak

This picture was taken in the fall of '47 when Bub Wilken drove his '37 Chevy and took Ed Pollak, Don Armstrong, my brother Don and I on a trip down to the Ozarks in Arkansas. (Bub also took the picture} The car "broke-down" in Conway where we spent several days while it was being repaired. I don't know how we could have had a better introduction to the southern life style. Some years ago we traveled through Conway and I couldn't find anything in the Metropolitan City that resembled the small city that we visited years earlier.

This scene was at the Capitol in Washington, D.C. in January of 1948. A cab driver recognized us as farm boys early in the day and made us a deal for seeing the most significant sights in the City in one day. He even took the picture of Ed, Tony, Don, Bub and Don Armstrong. It wasn't until years later when we lived in the area that I fully appreciated the great job our driver did in getting us to the right place at the right time to help us see as much as possible.

This picture to the left was taken 63 years after the one above. Don Armstrong's were here from Wyoming (Don took the picture) and he, Ed and I spent an afternoon back in the Bohemian Alps north of Garland where we all grew-up. While we stopped at the Garland baseball diamond, we drove past all of our old farmsteads, past land that we farmed and heard Ed tell about the County roads that he helped grade. There wasn't a hill that we went over that didn't bring to mind a memory from one of us. Ed was a great guy.  They played bohemian music at his funeral today. It was very appropriate. We missed Ed at the Accordion Jamboree held at the County Fair this fall. We always made a point of setting close to where Ed sat at earlier Jamborees because he always sang along with the accordions. He had a wonderful voice and seemed to know all of the songs. I lost a dear friend.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Birthday Celebrations

This Lady had a Happy Birthday today. It included lunch at the Olive Garden in Lincoln as well as some shopping. And, was topped off with a Raspberry birthday cake baked by Carolyn and enjoyed at our house this evening by Elaine and I, the Hughes' and Owens'. Elaine graciously shared her birthday attention with Sadie who was 4-weeks old today. Our shopping for Elaine included a purse, slacks and a blouse. We also had a special dessert at Olive Garden following our Soup and Salad lunch. We drove in after my round of golf and had no trouble going through the new roundabout on Superior Street at 14th. Elaine also had several phone calls and cards. While it wasn't a particularly significant numerical birthday, it will be remembered more as her first one as a Great Grandmother than for any other reason. It is just amazing how little Sadie has grown and changed during these 4 weeks. We didn't have the opportunity to be close to any of our Grandchildren when they were at this age so it is most interesting to see the changes in Sadie as we see her every few days. 

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Ed Pollak

This was the scene at the Garland High School Alumni reunion a year ago in June. Seated are Don, Ed, Tony and Jack. Ed didn't attend GHS but the other 3 of us represent the remaining members of the Class of '42. The three of us were back again this year for our 70th anniversary of our class. Ed wasn't able to attend as a guest this past June because of health problems. He died the other day and his funeral will be this Tuesday here in Seward. He was a very good old friend. As young men we hunted and fished together. Along with my brother Don, Don Armstrong and Bub we visited Arkansas and the Ozarks in 1947. In early 1948 the 5 of us drove to Virginia and Washington D.C. and later that year, Ed, brother Don and I saw our first major league baseball games in Chicago. On our trip back to D.C. , Ed broke down a motel bed by switching off the light and jumping into bed in an attempt to beat the darkness. There was always a good time when you were with Ed. He will be missed.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Vrana Farmstead

This picture was taken in the late '50's while Vivian and Eddy Soucek lived in the old Vrana farm house. It was this picture that Marilyn Bower used to do the oil painting that we have in our living room. I included it here to show the small elm tree that is right in front of the right (east) side of the house. At the time the house was being remodeled in 1950, the tree was just a 6-7' shoot. It was somewhat in the way of the digging of the basement but the decision was made to save it. As time went by, the farm was sold, the house demolished, land was moved but the tree remained. It was one of the "landmarks" along with the windmill and a walnut tree in the west yard that helped to orient us . Last week when me made our annual "pilgrimage" out past the
old place, we noticed that the tree was dead. It is no great loss to the owners  and probably served little purpose in the present sitting. The land has been moved to where it is really not at all like it was when we lived there. And, yet it is sad because now there are only two landmarks. The walnut tree looks good this year but a few years ago, it looked like it was failing. The wheel on the old windmill is falling apart but the tower is still in stable condition. The old place is losing any identity that still remains.  It probably doesn't matter to anyone except Don, Janice and I who grew up there. Everyone else who ever lived in the old house has passed on, as has the old farmstead and the elm tree. The location of the farmstead will have about the same meaning to Great Granddaughter Sadie as the location over at Caslav, in the Czech Republic where my Great Grandparents grew up.