Friday, November 30, 2012

Cottonwood Trees

Karen Ott's weekly message paid tribute to Cottonwood trees today. It took me back to my youth where we had this large tree in our front yard. Sister Vivian is standing on a big rock that Dad dug out of the north field and drug it down to the yard. Here are Karen's descriptive words:

 "The best thing about the cottonwood, in my estimation, is its  remarkable foliage; the air is never so still that there’s not motion somewhere in the tree’s canopy; Native Americans believed the winds themselves were the bearers of messages and commands from the higher powers, with the talkative trees acting as a sort of spiritual postal service. I understand why. The slightest breeze sets the leaves to quivering, and even in the dead calm of a sultry summer afternoon, or the near stillness of a peaceful night, one can hear the trees  deliver a whispered prayer.  As the calendar nears the New Year the very last of the tree’s leaves, frosted and curled by freezing temperatures,  still manage a final raspy goodbye before gently falling to their earthly home below."

We had another big cottonwood on the north side of the garage, a big one across the creek west of the cow barn, one along the creek near the Wagenknecht line fence and two of them across the creek, just south of the horse barn. Dad pointed out to me that one was a male and the other a female. They are distinguished by their bark to us novices. I have always admired the cottonwoods stately nature and rustling leaves. 

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Close Neighbors

When we came back to Nebraska from Virginia in 1980 and moved to this farm, we had close neighbors. "Close" refers to their house being about 100 yards from ours but also to our relationship. Though we sold the farm 23 years ago, we have continued a close relationship through our Church. Elaine baked a Cherry Pie which we took out to them this afternoon. Their youngest son, Brent, 27 of Malibu, CA was killed in a para-glider accident. Brent was born during the time we lived neighbors and as a toddler enjoyed coming over to visit, especially when we were working out in the garden. His funeral will be tomorrow morning. Neil and Cindy are holding up well and are pleased to have their oldest son Nate; Ryan, his wife Sahra and their young daughter Thalia living in nearby Lincoln. 

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Christmas Season

Elaine put up her Christmas scene on the buffet again this year which is a major part of our Holiday lighting. The NOEL display is on the Credenza.
We watched the lighting of the Christmas Tree in Rockefeller Plaza this evening and are now ready to watch Duke play Ohio State in Cameron Indoor Stadium.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Cobblestone Hotel Opening

We also enjoyed food and drink in the totally "no smoking" facility. People from the Cobblestone Headquarters in Wisconsin were there and introduced. I was sitting next to one of them who was very familiar with Tomah. He said his Dad was a contractor and build several buildings there. I expect he and Jerry were probably acquainted. The Governor talked about this Hotel being an example of the use of Tax Increment Financing (TIF) to make things happen. The local Banks, individual investors and most of all, Shane were recognized as important in the process. The Mayor, City Administrator and others were also acknowledged. The new Hotel comes at a time when our Super 8 is undergoing changes in ownership. We certainly needed the new one.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Christmas Spirit

It's beginning to look like Christmas around our house. Elaine put up the tree this morning and I even helped a bit with the lights. She has the Nativity Scene set up on our table in the entryway and a Czech one on a step table.  She also set out the N O E L figurines which always get rearranged to LEON.  I hung the big wreath on the front door.  Snow started falling as we finished breakfast and continued through much of the morning but the ground was warm enough for it to melt as it fell. I would have called it a "skift" but the TV weather people called it a "dusting" in Lincoln. We know that to count as a snow, it must be enough to "track a rabbit" but I don't know where you draw the line between a "dusting" and a "skift". We practiced Christmas Carols at Kitones tonight in preparation for  3 "engagements" coming up before Christmas. You wouldn't believe how much time we spent practicing "Here Comes Santa Claus". We have several new members in our group who haven't sung this particular arrangement. I was asked at Kiwanis this noon for my blog "address" and suggested to the fellow that he just Google "Tony-The Crow's Nest" and was pretty sure it would come up. I tried it when I got home and was surprised at the number of "Crow's Nest" there are on the web. In the Czech language, a Crow is referred to as a Vrana, our sir name. 

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Winter Scene

I took this picture with my Kodak Brownie Camera in 1943. It is a unique view of the barn, corn crib and windmill at the old Vrana farm. The windmill is the only thing still standing. Even the creek has been moved and the trees cleared. I was standing on a high bank with the creek between me and what you see; it actually comes from the left , flows below me and leaves in the trees to the right.. Had I taken a picture in the other direction the creek would have also been nearby. The bank on which I was standing was a narrow (25-30' isthmus) The creek made a wide circle and swung around near our other buildings before coming back around as shown in the picture. On one occasion after a heavy rain, the water level of the creek rose to the point that it cut across the isthmus on which I was standing to take this picture. Interestingly, there was a waterfall of about 4' which was the amount of grade in its normal circle route. After the farm was sold, the creek was straightened by cutting through the isthmus. The 4' over fall worked it's way back up the creek for several miles making the channel that much deeper than it was years ago. If all of this is too difficult to follow without a drawing, just enjoy the picture. 

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Seward's Lighted Christmas Parade

Seward's lighted Christmas Parade was held this evening and went past the front of our house. This is the 2nd year for the parade. Lincoln discontinued their event a couple years ago and Seward was able to get some of their floats. This full-size helicopter is courtesy of Whisler Aviation from right here in Seward. It contains thousands of little lights. Last year it was a bitter cold night and our Kitones sang on a float. Since this is the beginning of the parade route, we had invited them all to meet early at our house for a little "pre-parade" refreshment. This year it became apparent we wouldn't have enough of our group to sing. However, to the few of us who sang in Utica on Wednesday, I invited any who wished to come again for a bit of refreshment and to watch the parade. We didn't really expect anyone to come but we had a nice group arrive. We made some hurried preparations and thoroughly enjoyed the company. It is usually at those extemporaneous events that you have the nicest time. Seward is known as the "4th of July City" and the Christmas Parade is a beginning attempt to also become the "Christmas City". Pat Coldiron, Executive Director of the Chamber of Commerce, deserves a lot of credit for the event.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Vrana Ancestory

Elaine has been recognized for her genealogy efforts. Following a recent   request, i put together this line of the Vrana name. Our earliest records show the name spelled with a "W" but Thomas is credited with making the change to the "V".  There were other children in each of these families but I only listed the line that led to my Dad. Then carried it on down to Anthony J. who is our only Grandson. I don't mean to slight the women but am only tracing the family name. I have listed my Dad's siblings. Elaine has a certain amount of information on each of their families. My generation of 1st cousins have maintained contact over the years. In fact the youngest cousin has taken the lead in putting together an email newsletter every couple months. We try to get together for a meal once each year to talk family history etc. Since the time of John Wrana, who was born in 1739, there are some 256 people involved in young Anthony J.'s Gene pool.  

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Thanksgivings over the Years

We had Thanksgiving at John, Julie and Sadie's new house. In addition to all of John and Julie's preparation, Ben fixed the turkey, Carolyn made her Sweet Potato Pecan Casserole, Elaine baked the Pumpkin Pie and I took the Cranberries. It was a great day and Sadie provided a lot of entertainment. It was also good to see the Redskins beat the Cowboys. Some years ago I went back through my old 5-year Diaries and Journals and compiled what I call: "Thanksgivings Over The Years". It starts in 1940 with 3 years missing in the late 40's when I didn't keep a Diary and in 1966 when I didn't get the entry made. This year will be my 68th "chapter". The entries include such things as: Husking corn, shooting 7 rabbits, walking a mile in the mud to get to Flowerdays, visiting Elaine in the hospital after Jon was born, getting the call that Aunt Dixie died and Elaine & Jon flew to NE, Nebraska beat Oklahoma 35-31, Dinner on the deck with all our family and folks, had 25 people at the farm for dinner, drove the Motor home from Franklin, NC to Columbus, IN with the "girls" along, Elaine and I flew to Hawaii, Tim's visited us in Ankeny, IA, Ben came down dressed as a Pilgrim and brought the turkey, played golf with Charlie, enjoyed the Macy parade in NY city after having been there, watched football, etc. We have become more appreciative of everything we have to be thankful for as each Thanksgiving Day comes along. 

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

King George V Protege

Elaine found this Medallion among her souvenirs. It commemorates the coronation of King George V and Queen Mary on 6/11/1911at Westminster Abbey in London, England. We have no history of the item other than knowing that Elaine's Grandparents on her Fathers side, immigrated to this country in the early 1880s. Her Dad maintained a keen interest in England all his life and was a collector of such items. It "triggered" my doing some research on the successions to the British Crown. King George died on 1/6/36 and his eldest son ascended to the throne. However, he indicated his intentions of marrying Wallace Simpson, an American divorcee and abdicated the throne. His younger brother, George VI's coronation was held on 5/12/1937. I remember listening to the ceremony on radio. I was in the 7th grade and County examinations were held in Garland. I didn't have to take any  that morning which accounted for my being home. 

King George VI had married Elizabeth Browne-Lyon in 1923. They had two daughters, Elizabeth and Margaret. He died on 2/15/1952. Elizabeth was born 4/21/1926 and married Prince Phillip 11/14/48. They had 3 children  Charles, Anna and Andrew. Charles married Diana in 1981 and Prince William was born 6/21/82. His brother Harry was born in 1984. On 4/29/11 Prince William married Catherine Middleton. 
By coincidence, Elaine's Grandfather William Flowerday died on 6/2/53, the day of Queen Elizabeth's coronation. 
Elaine and I took a Globus Tour of England in the fall of 1994. Among our stops was the city of Liverpool, the home of the Beatles. We walked over to the dock. looked to the east, and thought about the fact that 101 years earlier, Elaine's Grandmother had disembarked from that port to come to America. I wish we knew more about the Medallion but it will remain a valuable keepsake.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Coin collection

Elaine and I have been "playing" with our coin collections recently. We have done very little with them during the past 20 years. We had many of the "state quarters" but never put them in a folder and cashed them in some time go. This "Barber of Liberty Head" carries a date of 1896. This is significant to both Elaine and I since both of our Dads were born in that year; my Dad on October 18 and Elaine's Dad on October 26. This is one coin that we will plan to pass on to family. We started our "collection" during our early years back in Virginia. We never did take it very seriously and a few times a year we would try to catch up our Whitman books of pennies, nickles, dimes, quarters, half dollars and silver dollars. We have cashed in all  of the silver dollars over the years and all of the books have many vacant "slots". We are of a notion to have a local dealer turn them into cash but will see if some of the family would like them. The total "collection" is certainly of limited value in comparison to the time that was spent in putting it together. 

Monday, November 19, 2012

Seward, NE Business District

This is an old picture postcard showing the west side of the Seward, NE "square"; the west side of the County Courthouse block. This picture was taken before the brick streets were laid in the early 1900's. The big building beyond the end of the block was the old Windsor Hotel which was demolished over 50 years ago. However, the full block of buildings look very similar today. The closest building was a Bank at the time but has been a cafe for a number of years. It was "renovated" a few years ago and is now the "Cafe on the Square". It is one of Seward's most popular restaurants. The building at the far end of the block is the Masonic Lodge AF&AM. To my knowledge, it is the only building in the block that is still utilized by the original owners. The street is now part of Nebraska Highway #15 which runs north & south across eastern Nebraska from Washington, KS to Vermillion, SD. The highway carries a lot of heavy truck traffic and only parallel parking is permitted. Back in the 1930's when traffic was very light, there was not only diagonal parking but also parking in the middle of the street. A few years ago when there was discussion about the heavy truck traffic, my friend Billy suggested that we needed to bring back the center parking. He reasoned that the truckers would find some other route and wouldn't come through Seward. He is the same guy who wouldn't answer his phone, saying that if he wanted to talk to someone, he would call them. Billy isn't with us anymore and we miss his "outside the box" thinking. We need to do more of that. 

Sunday, November 18, 2012

The Ladies/ "The Dust Bowl"

I call this picture, "The Ladies" or it could be "How many women are needed to take care of a baby". We all enjoy "playing" with Sadie then letting her Mother provide much of the "care" along with the nourishment. On the days that we don't get to see her, we wonder what changes are taking place and what will be different when we see her next. Hopefully, it may be as soon as tomorrow but Thanksgiving Day for sure. 
We are watching Ken Burns "The Dust Bowl" as I write this. Timothy Egan who wrote " Worst Hard Time" apparently provided information for Burns production. While it's just getting started, "The Dust Bowl" looks like it will maintain the high standard that has built Burns reputation. I will be interested in seeing if Burns gives the tribute to Hugh Hammond Bennett, founder of the USDA Soil Conservation Service, that Egan did in his book. 

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Schweitzer Auctions had the Glenn Ficken sale down at the 4-H Building in the Fair Grounds this morning. Glenn had an earlier auction where he sold his antique tractors and farm machinery. Today items were mostly of the collectible variety and included the snoopy dog pictured. I didn't stay to see it sold but it did bring back memories of having one when our kids were little. It seems like maybe it was still around when Julie was little. This auction had a lot of stuff including 20 pedal tractors, numerous pull toys, comic books, rare coins, model cars, etc. I was not there very long but it didn't appear to me that things were  selling as well as they might have earlier. Many things sold for $2.50 as well as boxes that included several items. There were a limited number of bidders and most  items went to collectors. Since we are no longer in the "collecting" stage, I didn't buy anything. A 1:00pm tee time brought me home early. Dale and I got in our 9 holes despite the wind in time to see the beginning of the Nebraska-Minnesota game. Nebraska won 38-14 and for the first time in several weeks, it was not a "nail bitter".

Friday, November 16, 2012

Julie & Sadie

We went out to see "the girls" this afternoon. I held Sadie for a while and recognized how her nose, mouth and chin is very much like Julie's was on this picture. She was a bit over 2 years old at the time it was taken. Sadie's eyes and hair is much darker than Julie's was but that may change as she gets a little older. She does have new hair coming in but it too is quite dark. I dreamed last night that she was about 6-months old and was laughing and playing around. This was the first time that she "appeared" in my dreams, I'm sure this was just the beginning as we get better "acquainted". There is so much "history" that I could tell her about. She will have a hard time believing some of the "hard time" storiesl. I told Jay this morning about Vivian and I taking our Mother's "keepsake" quarter with us when we went to a swimming pool party with a church group when we were about 10 and 12 years old. It was a quarter that Grandpa Walker had given to Mother that was coined on the year of his birth (1877) and was the only money we had in our possession. She told us not to spend it unless we had to. Fortunately, our good neighbors paid our way and we brought the quarter home. Over the years, the coin got a hole drilled in it so it could be worn with a chain. I have it today in a safe place but need to write up a story on it. The swimming pool party wasn't the only time we took it along "just in case" and always brought it home.  I trust that Sadie may enjoy hearing the story some day but never being able to relate to it. 

Thursday, November 15, 2012

'44 Model A John Deere

This is not Dad nor I on our old '44 Model "A" JD but it could have been. Our Kitone group sang at the Greene House assisted living facility this evening. I had an opportunity to visit with my classmate Jack Armstrong who is a resident there and told him of a discussion we had at coffee this morning. An auction is coming up in Seward this Saturday that includes some Ertel type model tractors. I was asked about my collection of models that led to the story of Dad getting our JD through the County Rationing Board back during WWII. I told of having the model of the "real thing" brought back a lot of memories, not all of them good. I told of Don having the misfortune of getting the grease gun into the fan and damaging the radiator. We took the radiator up to Cliff Armstrong (Jack's Dad) and he was able to do a very delicate job of welding to get it repaired. Under normal circumstances it would have been replaced but this was wartime and nothing was available. Cliff did such an excellent job that the radiator never was replaced during the 20+ years Dad had the tractor. I told Jack that story this evening along with how appreciative we were (and still are) for his willingness to tackle a difficult problem and the skill to fix it. Jack was pleased to hear the story and said, "I suppose he charged you $3.00" which was probably about what he did for at least 3 hours of work. Were those the "Good old Days" or what?

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

The Seward Foundation

I participated in my final meeting of the Seward Foundation Board of Directors this evening at the Civic Center. We consider grant applications 2 times/year and approved 3 applications tonight. The requests were from the High School, City Library and the Youth Center. The Foundation's permanent endowment has grown slowly to just over  a half million dollars. During it's 30 year history over $735,000. has been allocated in local grants.  The endowment funds have been invested locally and the figures demonstrate what can be done by never spending the principal. The Board is made up of 2-members of the City Council,  2 from the District 9 School Board and 3 at-large members. I have served on the Board for 14 years and my fellow Council member Dave has served for 16. This was the last meeting for both of us and the Mayor will appoint our replacements. It's a great 501 (c) (3) organization and I have been pleased to be a part of it. 

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Seward Lied Center

I continue to "wind-down" my City Council responsibility by attending  my last meeting of the Seward Aging Services Board this evening. The 8-member Board not only serves as the "Senior Center's" Administrative decision makers but also as "Volunteers" for many functions, such as the monthly Potato Bake. They served 193 customers at last month's Bake. Emily is the only employee and she receives a very modest stipend for every thing she does. During the month of October, they served 522 meals, assisted 265 seniors with transportation, offered nutrition information to 31, provided exercise classes to 101 and 16 people were given checks in the Health Clinic. The Center is open 162 hours/month and last month, 865 volunteer hours were logged. It is another of the many things that make Seward, NE a very attractive location for people of all ages. 

Monday, November 12, 2012

Seward UMC Building Project

Elaine and I participated in a 5:00pm soup supper at our Church last evening that was followed by Focus Group discussions on the building project.  It was a productive evening. Concept plans were drawn and presented to a Congregational meeting some months ago where a vote to continue was approved by about a 2-1 vote. One of the "driving forces" for the project is the condition of the heating and air conditioning pipes encased adjacent to the foundation of the Sanctuary. There is no basement so pipe failures that have already occurred constitute major problems. The preliminary architectural plans call for the "removal" of the current parsonage which is adjacent to the Church. It was recognized at the meeting last night that a decision on the parsonage is really the first decision that needs to be made. One of my concerns is the changes that are taking place in the basic Worship Services, . While the "contemporary elements" have brought in new members, I wonder if the passion is there for the "product" being offered to make the necessary financial commitment. 

Sunday, November 11, 2012

The Future vs the past

As Sadie sat on my lap the other day after having had her 3-month birthday, I wondered it she would see as many changes in the world as I have. When I was her age Calvin Coolidge was President and the population of the US was 115,829,000; Tennessee schoolteacher John T. Scopes was arrested for teaching the theory of evolution; Al Capone took over the Chicago bootlegging racket; Annual Federal spending was $2.92 billion and a first-class stamp cost $0.02. Airplanes were a bit of a novelty and as a 4 or 5 year old, remember seeing one fly over Seward. Women had won the right to vote only a few years earlier and if they worked outside the home, it was often as a "domestic". My Mother was the only one of her siblings or Dad's to go to HS and she only went through the 10th grade. Though we lived in Seward (at the NW edge) we didn't have water or plumbing in the house. We did have electricity which was greatly missed when we moved to the farm in 1932. Much of what we ate came from our garden or was raised locally. I wasn't able to digest Mother's milk nor cow's milk when I was a baby so was "raised" on goat's milk. Our home sat on 6-lots so we had room to keep the goat's for the family milk and Dad even butchered them occasionally. We also had chickens for eggs and meat. But neighbors and families helped each other in time of need. Living conditions today for most of our 330 million population far exceed what we accepted back at that time. As I look at Sadie, I only hope and pray that conditions during her lifetime can continue to improve and do so on a sustainable basis.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Small Group Study

Thursday evening our Small Group from Church finished our discussion of "A Hopeful Earth; Faith, Science, and the Message of Jesus". The 141 page paper back was written by Sally Dyck and Sarah Ehrnan and provided 7 lessons. Rev. Dyck is Bishop of the UMC, MN Conference and her niece, Sarah Ehrman is an environmental HS teacher. We met at the Guthrie home and Marc led the discussion. It was a most interesting experience. Marti is with the NE Department of Environmental Quality, Karen with the NE Banker's Assn., Larry works with Farmer's Co-Op, and his wife is with BKD. Elaine and I have had careers dealing with the environment, so we had ample experience to draw upon. One of the questions in the final lesson asked, "Would Jesus Bless some of the food we have today that is produced in unsustainable ways and contains questionable  material". That brought up the question of our Church sponsoring  "Trunk or Treat" where some 1,400 people came to the Church on Halloween for "Treats" of candy, etc". Kids walk away with big bags of candy that is obviously unhealthy but it is a way of getting people to visit the Church or at least the parking lot with the open trunks. It might be considered a "Trick of the Devil" to bring people to Church. What do you think??

Friday, November 9, 2012

The Golfers

This was a golfing group at the Seward Country Club this afternoon. It was a beautiful day and our scores reflected the improved conditions. L-R is Tony, Dale, Chuck and Charlie. This was Charlies fist day out since Monday because of back problems. Chuck (Charlie's son), had a 39, Dale and I each had a 40 and Charlie had a 42. There might have been a couple Mulligans utilized somewhere along the way but they didn't distract from the camaraderie or the valuable exercise. I chipped in on #6 for a birdie which helped my score. Yesterday, I chipped in on #4 from about 20 yards out for a birdie. I recently read that it helps to look at the spot where the ball was setting after you chip or putt it. That "TIP" has helped. We are going to try it again tomorrow and finish before the Penn State game begins in Lincoln. I wouldn't be  surprised if the Golf Gods give me a lesson in humility tomorrow after my "bragging".

Thursday, November 8, 2012

The Fiscal Cliff

This is a cartoon by Koterba that was in the Omaha World-Herald this morning. We have reached a time when it is widely recognized that bipartisanship is necessary. The OWH Editorial reminds us that our national debt has reached $16.2 billion dollars. That equates to $51,674. for each citizen. And, we are told that the government has to borrow $0.40 for every dollar it spends. It will not be enough for congress to talk about changes, they need to be implemented. An early test will be the extension of the Bush tax cuts that are due to expire the first of the year. I was hopeful that Senator Bob Kerrey might be reelected to the Senate and help lead a bipartisan effort but that was not the choice of Nebraska voters. Senator Elect Fischer has signed the Norquist tax pledge which doesn't seem realistic in light of the situation. There is no question but what government spending must be cut but raising taxes must also be an option. I'm willing to pay more now or suffer the impacts of going off the fiscal cliff.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Sadie at 3-Months

Sadie enjoyed the day before her 3-month birthday on our living room floor Monday. She is really growing, developing a personality, and likes to be held in a "sitting-up" position. She holds her head up when on her stomach and came close to rolling over while on the floor. We visited with a young mother at the grocery store this afternoon who had a cute little 2-year old girl. We realized how quickly that Sadie would be at that age. Elaine helped serve lunch for the Methodist Women this afternoon while I played golf. It was a beautiful, though chilly, day and I had one of my best 9-hole rounds of the year, a 39. 

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Election 2012

Yes, Nebraskans vote and it's generally to the right, even though I put this "badge" to the left. Some of us voted for Senator Bob Kerrey and we hope that a majority of us will. He has the experience and ability to be a leader in helping  solve some of the congressional problems. Nebraska has 3 congressional districts  with the Omaha metro area being one of them. Lincoln and several counties in the eastern part of the state constitute the 1st district and the rest of the state is in the 3rd district. Following the 2010 census, it was extended to reach the Missouri river on both the north and south parts of the state. The counties to the south and to the west of us are in the 3rd. Most elections in that district are determined in the primary. Obama carried the Omaha district in '08 which gave him a vote in the Electoral college, but there was enough "gerrymandering" recently that I doubt he will do it this time. We  have a retired Minister and his wife in our church who moved here after having served several small communities out in the Nebraska Sandhills. They tell of walking into the polling place in one of the locations where he had served for a number of years, and an election worker said, "Here come the Democrats". Regardless of who wins the Presidency, I don't believe things will be as good as those who voted for him expect or as bad as those who voted against him fear.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Japanese Maple Color

This is a view out of our bedroom window looking to the northwest. It shows the fall color of the Japanese Maple against the Blue Spruce. We did very little watering during the drought this summer. The Maple leaves turned rather brown but the little rain late fall along with the freeing temperatures turned them to the bright red. Our high temperature was 45 today which is our lowest high for the fall. It was not a fit day to even think about playing golf. Yesterday , I reached the mark of having played 201 rounds of 9 holes. A few of those were logged while playing alone. In those instances, I played a yellow as well as a white ball and kept score of each separately. Therefore, I counted each as a round. Elaine is well aware of my claim that I feel 10 years younger on the days that I play golf. She has been very supportive of my golfing since I call it my exercise program. 

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Seward Magazine Club

Elaine and I assisted Jack & Glennie Duensing in hosting the Seward Magazine Club at the Civic Center last week. Hosting involves serving the lunch and providing the program. While the program brings interesting entertainment and often  an educational experience to the group, the discussion of magazine articles was the reason for the Clubs beginning. It happened some 80 + or - years ago when a group of people decided to meet frequently to discuss items of interest they had read about recently. Magazine subscriptions were at a premium in those days but I'm sure it was the social aspects that has kept the Club thriving all these years. 
The Duensing's arranged for this group of musicians to provide our program the other night. They are students at St. John's Elementary here in Seward and began their violin training with the Suzuki method. They are now taking lessons from various teachers. The three to the right of the picture are in the 5th grade and the other two, the 6th. The two 6th grade girls along with a brother, are triplets. They played a variety of pieces and demonstrated their skills to every ones enjoyment. Each of them also had an opportunity to show their individual ability and the young man's rendition was outstanding.  A most enjoyable evening even if I had to make the coffee.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Tony ran the Marathon

Tony Vrana, our only Grandson, ran the Indianapolis Monumental Marathon today in 3 hours, 27 minutes. He is a senior at Indiana University in Bloomington and has been running for the past few years. This is the first full Marathon that I am aware of his running.
While Tony was running back in Indianapolis, Charlie and I were out at the Golf Course here in Seward. Needless to say, the course wasn't crowded with the temperature barley reaching the 50 mark as we teed off. I parred #1 and was primed for my tee shot on the 153 yd. #2. The pin was way back and I got off a good shot. It looked good all the way and then hit the pin glancing off about 12' to the southwest. The wind in the north caused the pin to "tilt" to the south and caused the ball to deflect at about a 145 degree angle. Needless to say, that's the closest I've come to getting a hole-in-one.
Getting close doesn't count in Golf nor Football. If it did, Michigan State would have won the game against Nebraska.
Here is a picture of the Medallion that all finishers of the Indianapolis Monumental Marathon received. I'm sure Tony will be pleased to receive it. We haven't heard any of the details as yet but am sure they will be forthcoming.  His parents from Columbus, IN and sister Maggie from Oberlin College were there to cheer him on. They had rooms rented for last night as well as tonight. Tony was a soccer goalie in earlier athletic endeavors and then got into cross country. Our only regret is that the 700 miles between Seward, NE and Columbus, IN kept us from seeing much of his athletic activities.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Tim's Basketball Charting

Tim was a dedicated Nebraska Cornhusker fan when we left Nebraska in 1962 and moved to Arlington, VA where he went into the 5th grade at Fairlington Elementary. He was a good little basketball player during his years at Gunston Junior High. However, the schools were integrated as he went in to Wakefield H.S.  He was small for his age and had skipped 2nd grade so he had little chance of making the team. So  he worked with the Coach and got the job of keeping statistics for the team. His skills were well utilized and he became a very integral part of the team. There was no question that he would return to Nebraska and go to UN-L following his H.S. graduation. While it was difficult for us to leave him here, the fact that both sets of Grandparents lived here in Seward helped. He wasn't at the University very long before he got acquainted with the basketball coaching staff and made his experience and interest known to them.
On October 31, 1969, I flew out to Lincoln for the weekend on my way to a Personnel Inspection assignment in the Salt Lake City SCS State Office. I visited our Lincoln Office, met Tim after his last class and rode the bus out to Seward. The next day, Saturday, we went back down to Lincoln where he had Basketball "Chart practice". I visited Aunt Dorothy and at Dale's. It was a cool 45 degree day. I was able to set in back of Tim at the end of the Nebraska bench as we watched Nebraska beat Colorado. We went to Church with my folks the next day. Don's, Soucek's and Jerry's were all there for dinner and the afternoon. Don's took me to the Airport in Omaha where I flew on to Salt Lake City via Denver. I believe Albert and Flora may have taken Tim back to his dormitory in Lincoln, 43 years ago today. It was good to see him and see him doing something he so enjoyed.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Sadie's new Room

Here is Sadie Owens with her Grandma & Grandpa after having spent her first night in her new house. She slept through the night in her crib bed in her own room. She continues to grow and develop her own personality. I don't know what to think of her hair. It kind of reminds me of the way mine would stand up in back if it wasn't controlled with hair oil. She is a sweet little girl and I'm sure she will have beautiful dark hair. Her presence has caused Elaine and I to take much more interest in little kids that we may come in contact with. We are inclined to ask questions of the Mothers about the age of the children, etc. when we see them. We have watched some of the youngsters in Church grow up so fast that it seems unbelievable. We were so busy working when our own kids were at this early stage that we just took so much for granted. Now it seems like a miracle every time we see Sadie and the changes that have occurred. Elaine missed an opportunity to baby sit her for a short while yesterday afternoon by being out shopping (and I was at the golf course). Her reaction was like that of missing Christmas but she was assured there would be more opportunities.

This is Sadie's bed and dresser. The dresser has some special meaning to Grandma Carolyn since she refinished and painted it special for the baby. I havn't seen it operate but understand they have a monitor that enables Julie and John to "keep tabs" on Sadie from their bedroom. When our oldest son Verlon was about 18 months old, the Stork brought his brother Tim. We didn't have a monitor and didn't need one to hear Verlon call out for some parental attention, after we all went to bed. He would start out by calling "Mommie", "Mommie" 3 or 4 times and when that didn't bring any results, he would say, "Daddy, Daddy" and how could any father resist going to the boys bedroom to see what he wanted.