It was 10 years ago this spring that Elaine and I participated in the Cornerstone Dedication at the Seward Memorial Library. I was on the Library Foundation Board during the preceding years of fund raising, selection of building site, Architects and Building Contractor. It was a great day of celebration when we reached the day of this picture. Our efforts have proven to be very worthwhile during these past 10 years. The Library continues to be one of the "Jewell's" of our downtown area, an intellectual center and attraction to people considering Seward as a future home. The Library Staff has continued to excel in providing services to the community. An effort is now underway to "Write the Next Chapter" by finishing the lower level to make available more shelf space, meeting rooms, etc. Our relationship with the Library is an example of the appreciation you have for things for which you contribute your time, your talents and resources.
Monday, February 25, 2013
Sunday, February 24, 2013
We had a great Prime Rib Dinner last evening at the Owens'. It included a green salad, vegetable, deviled eggs and "southern" pie with Avocado candy. Sadie didn't get that much variety but she was very enthusiastic about her pureed veggies. She really loves to eat and has her mouth open, her arms swinging and legs kicking as the spoon approaches. She has also started squealing and likes to hear herself make noises. Her parents have her on a pretty rigid sleep schedule. She was taken up to her bed fairly early with the "white" noise turned on as well as the monitor. We were able to watch from the living room as she rolled around a bit and then went to sleep. Raising a child is much more technical than it was 60 years ago.
The Adult Choir sang at Church this morning under the Direction of Leslie Stratton. Virginia Frazer provided Organ music and Rev. Griger gave an appropriate Advent sermon. Even without familiar old hymns, this was an exception to our more common non-traditional services. We have always prided ourselves in the ability to cope with change, but somehow that doesn't carry over to Church. Our reaction to the contemporary type services is comparable to the way we feel about the way the Star Spangle Banner is sung occasionally by Rock stars. Is nothing sacred anymore???
Saturday, February 23, 2013
I spent far too much time on the computer today. It's one thing to get your workbench or garage "organized" but something else to organize your computer. I started out with "Documents" and began the shifting of things into appropriate folders when I found items that were completely out of place. I did make some progress on material for income tax but am still awaiting information from a couple sources. The Nebraska-Iowa men's basket ball game in Lincoln took up a bit of my time as the Huskers came back from a 19 point deficit to win 64-60. Tim Miles, the new coach is really getting 110% out of his available talent. Connie Yori, the Nebraska women's coach was on hand last night to watch her Seward recruit, Hannah Tvrdy score 21 points in our winning the District final over York 56-38. York led most of the first half but the shots began to fall in the 3rd quarter. It's easier for us "Old Guys" to car pool and attend games than to organize our computers. Now on to State. I've logged enough computer time for one day.
Friday, February 22, 2013
We had between 5 and 6 inches of snow yesterday afternoon and evening. It came with temperatures in the teens and a chilling north wind. It was good to see the sunshine this morning. I got out early with the snow blower and cleaned off the driveway and sidewalks. Elaine helped by clearing the porch area. Carolyn stopped by with some Dr. Scholl socks she had ordered for me through Amazon. We didn't get our newspapers today. I called the Lincoln people at noon and was told it should be here by 2:00pm. Then called the Omaha folks at 3:00 and was told it would probably be delivered tomorrow. Both papers are delivered by the same carrier here in Seward and come in the same plastic bag. I wonder about the future of Daily Newspapers. Will they go the way of daily mail.By 3:00 pm our driveway was perfectly dry. It is amazing what sunshine will do. The temperature never got above 25 but the combination of sunshine and low humidity dried it out. The weather forecasters tell us that we are going to need a lot of moisture here in Nebraska if we are to escape the ravages of another summer of drought. Much of our front lawn is gone and will need to be reseeded this spring. The back yard can get by with a bit of over seeding. We didn't do as much lawn watering last summer as we should have to keep the front lawn alive. I thought the blue grass would go dormant and then came back with cool fall weather, but it was not to be. A fine leafed Fescue will probably be the best bet for seeding this spring and I do plan to put on enough water to keep it alive. I gave a talk once about living in this part of the state where "Sometimes it Rains and Sometimes it Doesn't". Here we have to pray for the moisture we receive and can never take it for granted.
Thursday, February 21, 2013
Carolyn sent us this picture of Grandpa Ben, Sadie & Pip. She appears very comfortable setting on the couch with Ben as he works on cross word puzzles. Ben is one of the few people I know who works them with a pen. It's not a question of his getting all the words filled in but how many minutes it takes him to do it. I hope Sadie will continue to "work" with Grandpa Ben in working cross word puzzles to build her vocabulary. I read recently about the correlation between the size of vocabulary and IQ score. It also related the "average" number of words that people learn during their developing years. The number for young children was almost unbelievable. I suspect Sadie will far exceed those averages. I enjoy reading George Will, the syndicated columnist because it is seldom that he doesn't include a new word for me. During my working career, I had the privilege of associating with many well educated people which helped my vocabulary. I also had the opportunity to work on highway construction, in a packing house and a variety of other jobs. The meaning of some words have changed considerable during my understanding of them. I believe Sadie will be able to rapidly assimilate a substantial vocabulary and will continue its expansion.
Wednesday, February 20, 2013
Many Seward people were at the Lincoln North Star HS this evening to see the Bluejays beat the Columbus Discoverers 51-43 in the District Tournament. Columbus had defeated Schuyler last night in the first round. Seward goes in to the District Tournaments ranked #1 in Class B even though they have lost twice to Beatrice and to Pius X (Class A) this season. This was not one of Seward's better games. They had a 16-6 first quarter lead, 21-13 at the half, picked up some momentum to lead 35-20 at the 3rd quarter point and then gave up 23 points in the 4th to finish 51-43. We stayed to watch the first half of the Crete-York game which was very close. Seward will need to play better to beat either of them in the finals.
Norm Schulz, Marv Taylor and I went down together. Between games we had a Sloppy Joe sandwich and when we got back to our seats, Kevin Sjuits, Channel 10/11 sports announcer, was filming some of the Crete-York game. We had a nice visit and Norm took the picture of Kevin and I. He is my favorite local sports announcer. Norm didn't even set down with us but continued to visit with him until halftime when we left. The Finals are scheduled for Friday night but we have a significant snowstorm scheduled for tomorrow afternoon and into Friday so we will see what happens. We are so dry in eastern Nebraska that the Weather Forecasters tell us we would already have snow here but the air is so dry that it evaporates on the way down.
Tuesday, February 19, 2013
Sadie is a good eater. She learned very quickly that pureed food is tasty to eat, even without the "seasoning" that we adults would demand. She may be amused some day by looking at this picture. I trust it will be available to her. We heard a report at Kiwanis this noon about concern for protecting and preserving today's digital images for future enjoyment. I have "saved" hundreds of pictures taken since '02 when I got my first digital camera. At the end of each calendar year, I burn them onto a DVD. I trust they will retain their quality for as many years as the 35mm slides that we took with Kodak film 60 years ago. Elaine is pretty apprehensive about not having "hard copy" pictures in an album. We do have some prints made at Walmart, and I do print out collages of selected pictures each year. Elaine had done an excellent job of "building" albums of pictures of our ancestors to accompany her genealogy work. These albums include many black and white photo's that are over 100 years old and in very good condition. Most of them taken in a studio by a professional photographer. While it's easy to get many good pictures at a reasonable cost these days, I hope we don't loose the opportunity to get at least a few "hard copy" pictures that will have a lengthy "life expectancy".
Monday, February 18, 2013
We saw the Doctor Zhivago movie last night on TV. The full 200 minute film was shown with no commercials and only a very brief intermission. The movie was released in 1965 but we didn't see it until January 29, 1967. It was during the semester break from my senior year of classes at GWU. I was working more than half-time and carried 18 hours both semesters to fulfill the requirements for my BBA. I did write "It was one of the best movies I have ever seen". We enjoyed it as much last night as we did those 46 years ago. The sound track with Lara's Theme is most captivating. While the movie's "love story" was as enthralling as the first time we saw it, the story line with Bolshevist (Communist) overthrowing the autocracy of Tsar Nicholas II effected me much differently. Even with the country's unrest back in '67, it seems to me that we are much closer to "serious political unrest" in this Country today, than we were then. And, the build up of guns among our citizens adds to my concern.
Sunday, February 17, 2013
Marian (Ramsey) Fosler's 85th birthday was celebrated with her family hosting a reception following 10:30 Church this morning. She and Elaine were "secret sisters" in High School even though Marian was "older". Marian has been an inspiration to many of us with her optimism and faith that always looks at the "bright side" of every issue. Her husband Dale died a couple years ago and she accepted his passing with the comment that "he never wanted to be an old man". In addition to being a Farmer's Wife, Marian owned and operated the Fabric Fair Store in Seward for a number of years. People came from miles around to take sewing lessons, buy fabric, sewing machines, buttons, etc. It was a unique business and very successful because Marian made it that way. She is one of a kind that we need more of.
Saturday, February 16, 2013
This sign went up recently in the Fallbrook area of NW Lincoln to designate the future site of the Cattle National Bank and Trust Co.'s newest Branch. The site is just across the street from the new Super Saver Grocery store that opened last week. Both are very near the entrance off #34 which is the Highway between Seward and Lincoln. It is a very convenient stop for the many people who commute daily and even for those of us who get to Lincoln frequently. We had no intention of going today until learning of my HP PC being dead. We took it down to Best Buy where we bought it back in '07 and learned that the Power Unit was not functional. They will put in a new one, do an operational review and call us when it's ready. I was also hoping to get some new Dr. Scholl's sox but unable to find any. We were able to get a spring Calvin Klein coat for Elaine. We couldn't pass up the opportunity to stop at the Super Saver and to take this picture. Our commitment to go to the Habitat for Humanity Dinner will keep us from seeing the Duke-Maryland basketball game tonight.
Friday, February 15, 2013
Janice and Jerry were born on 1/21/37 and I believe this picture was taken in the fall of that year. I wore glasses during my 8th grade in country school but don't remember ever having them while in HS. I would have been 12 years old at the time of this picture, Vivian 13 1/2 and Donnie approaching 8. We got the new bike after wheat harvest. As I recall we got it on a Saturday night from the Gamble's store on the North side of the Square in Seward that was operated by Nick Ress. The tires were low and I pushed it the couple blocks over to Uncle Burt Walker's Sinclair Filling Station to get air. Our Model A Ford had a trunk that was used to get it home. We had a small knoll in our west yard at the farm which helped Vivian and I learn to ride. We first coasted down without pedaling to learn to balance and then added the pedaling. While Vivian and I were pretty big kids learning to ride a bike, we lowered the seat and handlebar down and Donnie learned soon after we did. Dad had a bike when he was a kid so it was not problem for him to ride but Mother had a bit of fun learning. She never did get comfortable riding because of starting to laugh and often "crashing". The bike was one of our first purchases after times began to get just a bit better.
Thursday, February 14, 2013
We delivered a Valentine and little gift to Sadie this afternoon and caught this picture of her. She likes sitting in her highchair and was reacting to her Daddy's "playing with her". She has adapted well to eating pureed fruit and vegetables. When our kids were little we just bought the canned food but Julie cooks the food, runs it through the "Puree" machine, freezes it in small containers, and has it available "on demand". She really likes bananas. Elaine and I both had dental work done this afternoon and she will go along to Ridgewood where the Kitones sing this evening. Elaine gets up to see her sister Joyce who has been at Ridgewood for some time, but Joyce would be disappointed if she didn't come along. We will have our Cheese Pizza after we get home and can enjoy it after being to the Dentist.
Wednesday, February 13, 2013
Elaine and I were invited to the Seward Women's Club meeting this afternoon where Betty Galen presented me with their Lifetime Volunteer Leader Award. I am not aware of the criteria for the award nor do I know their interpretation of "Lifetime", but believe they recognize someone in the community at least annually. In presenting the award, my many years on the City Council, Planning Commission, Kiwanis and Ketones were mentioned. My service has not been that special when compared with many people in the community. Our Fire Department, Rescue Squad, Senior Center, Youth Athletic programs, Youth Center, Food Net, Back Pack program, Home Delivered Meals, Scout programs, etc. wouldn't exist without volunteers. My humility was quickly brought back in shape by a malfunctioning garage door when we got home. Fortunately, Carolyn, Julie and Sadie stopped by just minutes after it happened. Carolyn helped me get it fixed before my going to the Bank Board meeting. Elaine helped take down our outdoor Christmas lights after I got home. So it was a good Ash Wednesday, even if we didn't get to Church.
Tuesday, February 12, 2013
Monday, February 11, 2013
I was 2 years old when this picture was taken. I believe Dad took the picture with his Kodak camera while I was probably tugging at his pant leg. I have no memory of Great Great Grandmother Catherine Walker who died the following year. I was 8 years old when Great Grandmother Emma Carlson died. She was blind because of diabetes during her later years but a very kindly lady who tracked my growth by putting her hands on my shoulders each time we were together. My Grandpa William Walker was an "idol" who I spent time with as a youngster. I even rode on the bull-tongue of his grain binder to tap the laggard horses on the tail, while harvesting wheat. I was his oldest Grandson and was somewhat of a favorite but my younger Brother Don would tell you that he was # 1 with him because of their similarity in many ways. Mother Florence and Sister Vivian were both very influential in my early years and beyond.
Here is our Daughter, Granddaughter and Great Granddaughter which is a continuation of the above picture (even if I'm not on either). All told it includes 8 generations of my family extending from Catherine's birth on 10/4/1833 to our Great Granddaughter who was born on 8/6/2012. There have been many changes during those nearly 180 years. My Grandfather was the first generation to drive an automobile, my Mother the first in the family to attend High School and enjoy radio, my generation was the first in the family to attend college, Carolyn's generation grew up with television, Julie with computers and we can only imagine what is in store for Sadie.
Sunday, February 10, 2013
The Lincoln Journal Star carried a major front page story today on Governor Kay Orr's Legacy. After having served as State Treasurer for 8 years, and earlier as Chief of Staff for Governor Charles Thone, she defeated Democratic candidate, Helen Boosalis for Governor in the fall of 1986. I was working for the Nebraska Natural Resources Commission at the time and we attended her Inaugural Banquet and Dance. I had briefed her on our activities a couple times during the campaign. We had completed a number of Natural Resources Policy Studies and were working on a State Soil and Water Conservation Strategy at the time. I had also been asked to brief Mrs. Boosalis, Mayor of Lincoln. Our studies were non-partisan and both candidates appreciated learning more about them. It was the first time in U.S. history that both candidates for Governor of a state were women. This picture was taken on May 19, 1987 when I arranged for Governor Orr to sign a Proclamation designating Soil Stewardship Week. Several people were involved and a Press Conference followed. During Governor Orr's term, there were major State tax revisions. LB-775 was passed which provided a stimulus for industrial development and job creation. It was probably the most significant "marker" of her administration. She was very supportive of our State Soil Strategy and would include in her talks to farm groups the message that "If we are short of water, we can pray for rain, but if we allow our soil to erode, we can only pray for forgiveness". She was a good Governor and a very nice Lady.
Saturday, February 9, 2013
Amanda Mandachit with AYA (Academic Year in America) brought 3 German students out to our recent Magazine Club Meeting. AYA is sponsored by the American Institute For Foreign Study (AIFS) Foundation, a not-for-profit organization founded in 1967 with the assistance of the late Senator Robert F. Kennedy. Its mission is to promote worldwide understanding through cultural exchange. The 3 students are living with families in Lincoln, NE and attending High School. They are all 16 years old and are taking classes with the 11th grade, Juniors. All 3 spoke excellent English which some had been studying since 3rd grade. They all had delightful personalities and it was obvious they could blend in very easily with young people here; even serve as excellent role models. Amanda told of the detailed process involved in matching students with homes here in the Lincoln area. They have a very high success rate with the biggest difficulty being when the host family has to part with the student. It is surprising home many of them bring their families back to visit. It is a win-win program.
Friday, February 8, 2013
This was the back door of our house in Seward where my sister Vivian, little brother Donnie and I were born. We are shown here in early 1932 before moving to the Old Vrana Farm on February 8th. I liked my Aviator cap since that's what the fellows wore who flew airplanes. I had seen Earle Smiley's plane at the County Fair and saw one flying east over our place during the summer. Though sister Vivian was 18 months older, I had caught up with her in height by the time Dad took this picture when I was 6 1/2 years old. I suspect my big overcoat was a "hand-me-down" and I was very comfortable looking a bit "sloppy". Brother Donnie obviously had a neat, well fitting cap and coat and always seemed to look neat. Our move to the farm was quite traumatic for Vivian and I but Donnie, who just had his 2nd birthday in December, took it in stride. Dad was moving back to the farm where he had grown-up but it must have been difficult for Mother to give up her electrical appliances and go back to kerosene lamps, engine on her Maytag, and flat irons. She was only 30 years old at the time and I don't recall ever hearing her complain. She was a real trooper.
This was the house that we moved to on that 8th of February in 1932. It was the place that my Dad had moved to with his parents in 1903 when he was 6 1/2 years old. The lower level of the house was build with native limestone walls some 18" thick. It was built into a bank with the back side of the limestone wall extending only a couple feet above the ground level. The lower level consisted of one big room with a wainscoting ceiling and a dirt floored "cellar" off to the right. The upstairs consisted of 3 rooms in addition to a small room where the stairway was located. During the years of my youth, the whole upstairs was used as bedrooms. The big room on the 1st floor was our "Family room", it was where Mother cooked, we ate, we did our homework, Dad read his newspaper, we listened to the radio, practiced playing our guitars, Dad played his accordion and mouth harp, we sang and learned lessons that have served us well. February 8 is a day that will live in my memory as one of the good turning points in my life.
Thursday, February 7, 2013
This picture looks like something that might have been in the Saturday Evening Post back in the 1940's, but in reality, it was taken during the recent Holiday season. It is of our youngest son, Jon dressed in period attire playing his Mandolin in Lydecker's Freeman's Store, circa 1859, in Vienna, VA. The store is along the roadbed of the old Alexandria, Loudoun and Hampshire Railroad. Jon was 7 years old when we took him and his 3 older siblings back to Arlington, VA. He was to celebrate his 8th birthday the day President Kennedy was killed and the Fairlington school program was cancelled. He became familiar with computers while in Junior High and also developed a "Soil Conservation" tri-fold for a school contest. When he received an award for his efforts, he decided that he wanted to become a "Soil Scientist". He received his BS degree in Agronomy from Virginia Tech and began his career with the USDA Soil Conservation Service/Natural Resource Conservation Service. He has been stationed in Virginia, several locations in North Carolina, New York, Nebraska and since the mid-90's, back in Washington, D.C. He has been involved with Civil War era re-enactments and historic interpretations as an avocation during the past few years. Jon has done us proud.
Wednesday, February 6, 2013
We enjoyed cake, pizza and other treats today at the opening of the new Super Saver Grocery Store in the Fallbrook subdivision. It is a great well planned area that also includes a Concordia University facility and will have a Branch of the Cattle National Bank that will be built this summer. It will be across the street from this new Super Saver. It is about 20 miles from where we live in Seward and on Highway 34 at the North West edge of Lincoln. Many of our 7,000 people that live in Seward work in Lincoln and, there are probably a like number that live in Lincoln and work in Seward. This may become an ideal place for these commuters to buy their groceries, their gasoline and do their banking.
On our way home, we stopped to see Sadie on her 6-month birthday. We brought some treats from the new store to share at their house. Sadie was in good spirits, she got a new highchair and a lot of best wishes. We were in Lincoln for our 9-month check-ups with our Opthomoligist. I had anticipated a new prescription for eye glasses but Dr. Mousolf said it wouldn't help. He was pleased with the condition and health of both Elaine and my eyes. And, recognized that sooner of later, I may need to have cataract surgery and Elaine may need to have her eyelids adjusted. We got appointments to see him again in 9 months. When you get to be our age and get a 9 month "grace period" you feel good about it. He did say that if anything changes, we shouldn't hesitate to get back in touch. That's good news so we celebrated with Sadie and her family.
Tuesday, February 5, 2013
This is a picture of my friend Dennis that was in the Lincoln on-line newspaper coverage of the Superbowl. Dennis keeps score for the HS basketball games and I visited with him about the game tonight. I sat next to the scorers table and enjoy the game from that perspective. He has been a long time 49er's fan but also cheered for Sam Koch and the Ravens. Dennis always has a good time and this setting was no exception. The Seward HS girls beat Fairbury 69-44. Seward pulled away in the 2nd half but Fairbury came within 6 points a couple times just before the half. Kourteney led the Seward scoring with 26, Hannah had 21 and Taylor had 15. This was the last regular season home game and the 7 senior girls were recognized. Seward has had outstanding teams for the past 6-7 years but it will be difficult to maintain that level of play next year. A dynasty like Seward has enjoyed only comes along infrequently, we have thoroughly enjoyed it but knew it was not sustainable.
Monday, February 4, 2013
Sam Koch, #4, did his hometown proud last night. He is shown here with 12 seconds left in the Superbowl game and his Ravens leading 34-29. Sam did just what he was supposed to do by taking care of the ball, killing as many of those 12 seconds as he could and then going out of bounds. Then with 4 seconds left, he got off a booming free punt from the 20 yard line and by the time the 49er's punt returner made a few moves but was taken down, the game was over. Sam did his part in a great Superbowl victory. He has gone a long way since making 100 punts every day after school when he was in Junior Hi. There were a lot of stories floating around Seward today about a young man who grew up in "Our Town Seward". The Lincoln Journal Star noted this morning that Seward's Amy Heidemann who is the lead singer of the band Karmin and appeared on the cover of Rolling Stone magazine this fall is going to have to share some of the Hometown fame with Sam Koch.
Sunday, February 3, 2013
Here is Elaine visiting with Greg of the Zabka Funeral Home here in Seward. She and Greg have had many conversations over the past couple months. Elaine was the local contact for the burial of a Cousin who died in California, had no close family and wished to be buried with her parents here in Seward. We have been friends with Greg and Dixie for many years. Greg and I are on a local Board of Directors, in the same Fraternal Organization, and they and we attend the same Church. and are members of the local "Magazine Club" (Seward's oldest social organization) Unfortunately, he belongs to the Rotary Club and I am a Kiwanian. During the 25+ years that we have known them, we watched their 2 little girls grow up, get married and have children. Their Mortuary has an excellent Web site at www.zabkafuneralhome.com/. It provides current information but is also adding archival records. In checking the web site this afternoon, we were saddened to see that Rick Kilzer, the 62 year old son of Willard and Audrey died this morning. He has been in poor health for a number of years but in our last conversation, Willard was optimistic that Rick's therapy was helping him improve. He and Willard can now join a "Newcomers Club" together.
Saturday, February 2, 2013
Willard's "Celebration of Life" service was held this morning at The Great Plains Community Church with Rev. Galen Skinner Officiating. It was a very appropriate service that recognized Willard's honesty, love of God and Family, and his life as a Farmer. Rev. Skinner read a poem by Eleanor Lynn Culver as part of the Service which was reflective of Willard. The final verse was:
"I think a man who loves the soil
Finds happiness in rich supply,
Though toil he must to earn his bread
He reaps much more than wheat and rye,
For with each little grain or pod
He cultivates a faith in God"
After the Service, we enjoyed lunch at the Goehner Fire Hall. It was an opportunity to visit with family and friends and share our memories. I had played baseball among doing many other things with Willard and was asked, "What position did he play?". He was versatile enough to have played anywhere but his normal position was 2nd base. This picture (and our faces don't show very well) was taken in the latter '40's. He is kneeling, 2nd from the right. (I am standing in the back row peeking around the big guy in the middle). I believe Carl Bock was managing the team when the picture was taken but Willard managed it for a few years following. During his tenure as Manager, he came up with the signal, "Come on kid" for the batter to bunt and have a "suicide steal" when a runner was on 3rd. We had fun with it because it usually worked and Willard was even called, "Come on kid" occasionally..
Friday, February 1, 2013
Our bird feeder needed filling again today. The Cardinals, Juncos, Finches, Bluejays and sparrows are the main customers. It did warm up a bit today and it looks like the Groundhog will see his shadow tomorrow indicating another 6 weeks of winter. I have noted in my "scheduler" the dates 90 days hence from the foggy days we've had during January. We will need all the rain we can get in Mid-April if we are to avert another drought year. Weather forecasters are not optimistic. We will need to have part of our front yard reseeded this spring as well as the rest of it needing to be "over seeded". We will probably do more watering this summer than we did last year. I was optimistic that the bluegrass could go dormant and come back but it didn't. I've learned that it takes a bit of water along the way to keep it alive. We did receive our "Gurney's" seed catalogue the other day and Elaine suggested we may want to plant garden instead of grass. We did that one year when we were back in Virginia and had sweetcorn within a few feet of where the buses rumbled by. It did get the ground in shape to plant bluegrass that fall and we reestablished a nice lawn. I don't expect we will try that here in Seward.