Friday, May 31, 2013

Peonies and Memorial Day

Our Pink Peonies are beginning to bloom. The first one opened yesterday, on May 30 which was Memorial Day originally. It makes you think the Peonies know more about when the day of "remembering" should be than the politicians who changed it. While we took plastic flowers to the Cemetery last Saturday, I believe we will pick the Peonies that are in bloom tomorrow and take them  out to our Parents' graves. This ritual was so much a part of both Elaine's family and mine that to do anything less would bother our conscience. I have little doubt but what the tradition will not be continued much longer. However, we do it not so much for those that have gone on before as we do it for ourselves. I will even take along a Dandelion digger to get a couple of them that I saw near my Folks and Elaine's parents' Tombstones when we were out last week. Dad and Albert would expect me to do so. 

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Looking Somber

We did many interesting things during the time the 3 older kids were in college, working, etc while Jon was still at home. One of his favorite questions while he was in HS, when we came home from work was, "What are we going to do tonight?" We had this "Tin Type" picture taken in the "Old Country" Amusement Area in Virginia during that time. We were to look serious since the time of exposure was some 2-3 minutes in which we were to hold still. The expressions on our faces might have been representative of parents sending that youngest son off to the Civil War. Little did we know at that time that some 40 years later he would be so deeply involved in Civil War History. Just this morning he sent us an email telling of his responsibility in the preparation of a sign describing a historic site.
We also look that somber after our days activity. Elaine had her last Bible Study with Rev. Doug due to his transfer, I learned about the death of an old friend at my Coffee group. Then we did Home Delivered Meals with only a minor problem of misreading an address. As I closed the garage door it went back up and required 30 minutes of work standing on my old garage chair to get the cable properly adjusted. After another 1.20" of rain last night and the gutters overflowing, the mission for the day was to get them cleaned out. Three of the downspouts were completely blocked with the "flower stem" residue that had fallen of our trees. We got them all cleaned out and even washed some mud out from under the Buick's fenders. The Nebraska Women lost the first game of the College World Series this morning. We were all set to watch the Royals-Cardinals game to see if the Royals can break out of their 8 game losing streak, only to find it in a rain delay so we are still looking pretty somber.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Cousins Reunion, June 27, 1998

Plans are being made for a Vrana Cousins reunion in late June at the time Janice and Larry are here from California. We will get together for lunch and visiting in Lincoln the day after my birthday. The group pictured here was at Mahoney State Park near Omaha, NE. We continue to be a very compatible group. 
We mowed our entire lawn this afternoon, trimmed Lilac bushes, etc. Then had storm watches and tornado warnings in the area. We received another 1.0" of rain but no hail nor storm. At one time about 6:00pm they were reporting the likelihood of 8 tornadoes on the ground in Southeastern Nebraska. We haven't heard any damage reports but I am sure there was some. 

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Grandma Vrana

Pat got out a Vrana Cousins Newsletter this morning. I included my Blog site address for anyone who may be interested. To be sure there would be something they could all relate to, I'm adding this information I wrote on our Grandmother some years ago.
Antonia Milacek (September 28, 1870-June 2, 1960)

Grandma was born at Damirov (Caslav), Bohemia, in Czechoslovakia and came to America at the age of 3 with her parents, John (Jan) and Antonia (Fannie) (Prasil) Milacek. They settled on a farm in Saunders County, Nebraska near the village of Weston. After having a younger sister Mary, her mother died. John, her father sent back to the Czech Republic for a second wife (Maria Houfek) who came to America with her daughter Anna. John and Maria were married soon after her arrival and eventually had five more children, 2 boys and 3 girls. John died in 1909. Maria lived to be 91 years of age and I remember her as a very pleasant, little white haired lady.
At the age of 18, Grandma married Joseph J. Vrana and they lived on a farm near Linwood, NE. John, the eldest son was born in 1891, my dad, Anton in 1896, Rose in 1898, Emma in 1900, Anna in 1902. After moving to the Seward County farm in 1903, Joe was born in 1906 and Tillie in 1910. In addition there were other children who died at birth or as infants.
While my early memories of Grandma date back to a similar time that I’ve written about Grandpa, she was in many respects, a mirror image of him. She was a strong, large boned, rugged woman with an “outgoing” personality and a heart of gold. I believe everyone who lived in the village of Bee during the 1930’s, 40’s & 50’s knew Grandma Vrana. In fact, she had probably done something for many of them. It was easier for her to communicate in her native Czech language but had no problem making herself understood in “broken” English. She lived a full life without ever learning to sign her name or be able to read.
I have heard stories of Grandma not only shocking grain but also helping pitch bundles onto a hayrack at thrashing time. And, have distinct memories of her working in her garden and with her chickens, ducks and geese. She loved her flowers. Their little house in Bee had a perpetual smell of oats being cooked for the chickens. Her chickens were her friends. She raised them after being hatched under a “setting-hen” and knew them all by name. I remember on at least one occasion of her leading a cow out to the farm in exchange for one that had just come “fresh”. The cow would then be tethered along the Northwestern railroad right-of-way just across the gravel street east of their house.
Grandma’s greatest attribute, according to my memory was her concern and care for others. This was especially demonstrated by her care and love for her grandchildren. I don’t know the details of her grandmotherly care but do know several of the grandsons spent enough time with her and Grandpa that they learned to speak a lot of Czech. She had a knack of telling me and my siblings about what great things our cousins were doing. It wasn’t until we were teenagers that we learned she was “bragging” to the cousins about us. She not only told us about our cousins but also some of the things the Bila and other Bee kids were doing. Some of it was an example of what not-to-do.
The big buffet in the living room held pictures of all of the grandchildren among others. Setting nearby was the Christmas cactus that seemed to bloom perpetually. My memory is not clear on the utilities in the house but I remember helping get a radio set up in the living room for them in the mid-40’s. I believe the house consisted of the kitchen, living room and 2 bedrooms along with the “back porch”. Most of the meals were eaten in the kitchen. Roast duck, dumplings and sauerkraut were always special.
Grandma did some sewing. Probably making most of her own clothing. Her favorite was making aprons for all the granddaughters and probably other little girls in Bee. I believe she also made comforters and possibly little quilts. Though a black dog is shown on this picture with her, it seems her favorite was a little Dachshund.
Grandma weathered the loss of several babies and infants in her early life but also of Emma on March 23, 1931, Rose on September 5, 1948, Grandpa (Joseph J.) on February 7, 1950 & Tillie on November 20, 1959 in addition to several grandchildren. I remember of Aunt Anna commenting that she would tell Grandma of Aunt Rose’s death in Czech because the words wouldn’t be as harsh as in English. Emma’s death was the result of falling out of a unlatched hay mow door during a barn dance. Reflecting on her life, I marvel at her ability to “carry-on” and to make the best of what life provided. I have no idea of whether or not Grandpa would have consoled her from his biblical studies during her times of grief. She lived a subservient life in a male dominated society and yet, she was the one that “held everything together”. I don’t ever remember hearing her complain and believe she took great pleasure in the simple things of life: her family, her friends, her pets (chickens, etc) and her garden. Maybe she taught us more by example than we have ever realized.  

Monday, May 27, 2013

Sadie Enjoying the Municipal Band Concert

You may wonder what Sadie was enjoying and giving her full attention but it was the Seward Municipal Band. They played their first concert of their 126th season last evening at the Seward Band Shell. Sadie's Grandmother Carolyn had her set up on the blanket while John and Julie played in the Saxophone section. Great Grandparents joined the party with lawn chairs. While 7:00 pm is her normal bed time, she was a real trooper at the concert which was from 7:30-8:30pm. John has been playing in the band for the past 8 years and though Julie played in it some years ago, this is her first year back. They have a good number of Band members, excellent leadership, and should have a good season. The clouds seemed to build as the evening progressed and by this morning we had some 2.0" of rain in our gauge. Lincoln had over 3 inches and Omaha had winds of over 70mph which did considerable damage. Though we had sunshine all afternoon, we are again in a storm watch area. A tornado has already been spotted  near Smith Center, KS in the storm that's headed our way. Fortunately, we have a basement in which to take cover if necessary and a sturdy workbench under which to take cover it necessary. Elaine put fresh water in our container downstairs and the workbench isn't far from other sources of liquid that could be consumed in an emergency.                          

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Walker Grandparents

Among the graves that we "decorated" yesterday were my Maternal Grandparents, William H. and Anna Walker. Also resting in the plot are Aunt Dorothy and Uncle Bill. Grandma died in 1943 at the age of 63, Grandpa moved to Seward after her death, he remarried a lady who was his "housekeeper" and died in 1951 at the age of 74. Grandma was very kind to me as a kid when I stayed with them for a week or so during several summers, but I never really felt like I knew her very well. Grandpa and I had a much closer relationship. He was the one I spent time with herding cows, doing chores, making hay and even cutting wheat. I was 26 years old when Grandpa died and we had a close relationship even as I grew to adulthood, married and had our oldest son. In addition to "inheriting" some of his genes, he was a factor in helping make me what I am. It is truly a blessing when Grandparents and Grandchildren can have that relationship. 

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Sadie doing "Patty-Cake"

We got out to see Sadie this afternoon. Grandma Carolyn was taking care of her while John and Julie planted landscaping material around their house. We had some 0.60" of rain during the night so it was a bit wet. As shown on the photo, Sadie has learned to "patty-cake". In fact, Carolyn says that if she sings the song with Sadie and "throws it in the oven", she will swing her arms just as Carolyn does. Sadie has also learned to waive "bye-bye". You might say she is being "Home schooled". We did some planting too this evening by putting in a climbing Black Eyed Susan. This is the 3rd year that we've had one climbing up a Trellis that I built out of "Chicken wire" next to the clothesline post. While the first two vines were a bright yellow, this one is orange. We hope it does as well as it's predecessors. It wasn't until after we had it planted that I remembered the difficulty of cleaning the dead vines off the chicken wire last fall after that first hard freeze. But it was worth it. There was never a time, even with our dry weather last summer that we didn't have yellow flowers in bloom. I think Sadie will like the looks of the pretty flowers but we won't let her eat them. 

Friday, May 24, 2013

Family Picture with Founding Fathers

Albert and Flora came to Washington in the summer of 1965 to visit. We always did a lot of sight-seeing when we had company and this is an example. Ben Franklin and Thomas Jefferson seemed very cordial by inviting us to join them for the picture. We had been back there for 3-years at this time and felt we were "well established". We bought a new 1965 Chevy Impala Station Wagon that we drove back to Nebraska to take Albert and Flora home. We visited Flora's sister and family in Pennsylvania, went on up to Niagara Falls, drove across Canada to Windsor and crossed the old bridge into Detroit. We stopped at the old "Tiger Stadium". It was midday and we were able to walk into the ballpark and got a picture of Tim and a Groundskeeper raking the ground around home plate. Then we went on to Seward. It was another case of 8 of us traveling together for several days and getting along remarkably well. I came across this picture this afternoon in our continuing efforts to reduce our inventory of "stuff". I tell Elaine that we don't want to get rid of the stuff that we can enjoy going through when we get old, and she reminded me that she thought that was what I was doing. 

Thursday, May 23, 2013

The Pause that Refreshes

Elaine and I went to the Senior Center Potato Bake for lunch today.We always find old friends to visit with but still miss Willard since he and I always had questions to ask each other about things we were involved with over the years. We stopped at Merle's Greenhouse and brought home some annuals. We planted them after mowing the lawn and then took a break. I had the extension cord out to use with a little weed-eater that I got from an auction some time ago; it worked great and much easier to use than the big one that I brought in from the farm. We also covered the flower bed with a light layer of decomposed compost and watered it down. Traditionally Peonies have been some of the main flowers for Memorial Day. Last year they were past it and this year they will not be ready. We will have to rely on plastic flowers but tell ourselves, it's the thought that counts. 

Wednesday, May 22, 2013


We met my Brother Don and Gladys for lunch at The Villager in Lincoln and then went nearby in Eastridge to visit Elaine's Brother Dale and Marlene. Dale took Elaine out to the garden and fixed her up with a bag of Rhubarb. I'm not sure if she will bake a pie with some of it or just fix it as sauce. I had a piece of Rhubarb pie with my lunch at the Villager which is known for their excellent pies.  One of the reasons for ordering it was to compare it to the Rhubarb pies that have been brought in to coffee recently by Rich and Stan. Despite the Villager reputation for special pies, mine didn't score nearly as high as what the fellows brought in. So with all of this "competition", I wouldn't blame Elaine if she tells me that the Rhubarb at our house will  be served as Sauce. Incidentally, why is an argument at a baseball game referred to as a "rhubarb"??

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Tales of Birds, etc.

We had a great group at coffee this morning. Ted told an interesting story of seeing a Barred Owl by the pond near their house a few years ago. He had just obtained a book with battery powered bird calls. He had watched the Owl with binoculars from his deck to confirm its identity. When he pressed the Barred Owl "button" in his book, it took off immediately and headed right at him.  The "call" was repeated and he had to duck as the big Owl came within about 6 feet of him. He also told of about 40 Turkey Vultures cleaning up the remains of a "fish kill" in his pond in three days a few years ago. Birds, Nature in general and, local current events are popular "agenda items". Ted's a Great Story Teller as well a Poet. 

Monday, May 20, 2013

Progress in Downtown Seward

This is what was left of the old Roller Skating Rink in Seward this morning on the Jones National Bank and Trust Block.The old building to the east of this has also been demolished to make room for the remodeled building and parking. Max Wake, President of the Bank spoke at Kiwanis this noon and told us of the plans for their new facility. It's nice to see the progress as facilities are upgraded but the passing of old buildings, brings about a certain amount of nostalgia. The Skating Rink was built after our skating days but we did go to a Church Group party there one night after we moved back to Seward. I hadn't roller skated for at least 25 years and I quickly learned that my "center of gravity" had shifted during those years. It took a few trips around the rink to make the appropriate adjustments. When Elaine and I were courting, we did a lot of roller skating and were really pretty good at it. We could do the Skater's Waltz together better than the Blue Skirt Waltz on the dance floor. 

Sunday, May 19, 2013

PiP & (Jack)

This is Carolyn & Ben's dog "Pip". She just had her 3rd birthday and is closest to Ben. She is really "Ben's Dog". We have never became very well acquainted with her but we do admire her appearance. We have also enjoyed observing how much she and Ben seem to appreciate each other. She is a beautiful dog and has a very attractive face. Animals, particularly dogs and horses seem to have an ability to sense what people think of them and consequently react according. Pip and I have never reached the level of being on a first name  basis. My (our) problem may be in comparing Pip with Jack, their previous little Toy Poodle who we helped raise. He became a "part of our family" when Carolyn was teaching school, and he would spend the day with us. I would pick him up after coffee and Carolyn would stop by to get him after school. He lived a good long life and in his latter years, we would visit about the matter of growing old. Some of our best discussions were when I would pick him up, he would set on my lap, look up to me as I shared some of my aches and pains. We agreed that the matter of growing old was not for "sissies". In fact, he agreed with everything I ever said, what a dog, RIP. 

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Victory in Sight

Back in the 1970's when Red Auerbach was managing the Boston Celtics, he would light up his cigar when he was satisfied they had the game won. There is something to be said for those moments of pleasure when you know you're going to win, while the game is still on. This was the situation early this afternoon when our Garage Sale had exceeded all expectations and it was time to open a Heineken that had been in the basement refrigerator since Jon's were here to visit. Much of what was "left over" has been loaded in the car trunk to be taken to the Et-Cetera store next week. There are still a few things left on the FREE pile but even that was very successful. (It will probably all be gone by morning). We not only got rid of a lot of stuff that we would never have used but we made a lot of people happy. And, as I remember, Red Auerbach's facial express when his team had it made, was not much more animated than mine. 

Friday, May 17, 2013

Garage Sale

This is part of our Garage Sale stuff that we set out this afternoon. We have been working up to this for several days and by about 3:00pm we had people stopping by. I put out signs about 4:00 and were very well pleased with what we were able to move this evening. We will pull much of the remaining stuff back in the garage for overnight and see what  else we can get rid of tomorrow. This is the first Garage Sale we have had for a number of years and though we are tired,  have been very pleased so far. Our criteria for a good Garage Sale is "How Much Stuff we can get Rid Of". We had a big Free Section which was very popular. I don't believe we sold or gave away a single item that we would have ever used again. And, we made some new friends in the process. 

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Seward United Methodist Choir

We were Blessed with the Choir performing at our 8:30am Traditional  Service the past 2 Sundays. We also enjoyed having Organ music for both weeks. The 10:30am Service in now the Contemporary service which is designed to attract new, young people. While we can accept many of the changes that we faced  every day, there are some things like the Organ music and the old familiar songs that we think are still an important part of Sunday Morning Worship. We are getting a new Minister on July 1 so will see what the future holds. 

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Sadie & Her Great Grandparents

This was taken last Sunday on Mother's Day when Sadie agreed to be photographed with her Great Grand-parents. We received a copy of a short video that Julie had shot of Sadie that we couldn't watch without laughing. She continues to learn something nearly every day. On this short video she demonstrates the noise that can be made by "blowing bubbles" with her lips. Then she pretends she is able to talk and amuses herself with the conversation. Seeing that early this morning got us off to a good start for the day. 
We did hit 100 degrees in Lincoln yesterday but was cooler today. We had set a new low record of 31 on Sunday morning and a new high Yesterday, all within a 2-day time frame. A big percentage of the State's Corn and Soybean crop is being planted this week. Some of the corn that was planted a month ago is being replanted. Most of it is being planted with no-til or minimum tillage to conserve moisture and limit soil erosion. 

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Kiwanis Interclub

Here is a group of us from the Seward Kiwanis Club that went to a Spaghetti Dinner this evening sponsored by the Lincoln SE Club at the Christ Methodist Church on "A" street in Lincoln. It was a good dinner with Meat Balls, Tossed Salad and excellent cookies. It was also a chance to visit with old Kiwanis friends as well as those from NRCS & SWCS. Mr. Scheinost told of having been out to Holdrege, NE this afternoon where a Monument was dedicated to recognize "Hastings Silt Loam" as Nebraska's State Soil. It has been designated as such for at least 25 years. I told them of my efforts 20+ years ago to get it listed on the State Road Maps along with the State Flower, Bird, etc but was not successful. There were over 150 people at this dedication today and I suggested maybe the Monument and the apparent interest would make this a good time to try again for listing on the Sate Highway Maps.
PS. We enjoyed listening to Nebraska Sports Radio on the computer and hearing Pius X win their way into the Championship game of Thursday morning. We cheered for Tony when his hit drove in 2 insurance runs.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Elaine & Petunias

Elaine planted Petunias this evening. With temps up in the 80's we felt it was time to do some planting. She is working on her knees about like Sadie positioned herself yesterday to play with her toys after crawling across the floor. It was the first time we had seen her move across the floor with arms and legs coordinated to move her swiftly. She is really changing rapidly. I hope Elaine's Petunias can do well this year. We have had beautiful flowers in this bed but last year they just didn't do much. We were very conservative with our watering last summer not believing that it could be as dry as it really was. If we would have spent a bit more on water last summer, we wouldn't have had to spend $150.00 this spring on overseeding. 

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Mothers & Daughters on Mother's Day

Here are "The Ladies" on Mother's Day in the Hughes back yard in front of the Snow Ball Bush. It has been a tradition to take a picture at this location on Mother's Day when the bush is often in full bloom but this year, there are hardly buds. We do gave a Great addition and a new Mother this year. We were able to see Sadie crawl today and she really gets around. She has been in the Toy Box a couple times at Grandma Carolyn's house and her choice is the stick that colorful, various sized "donuts" are stacked upon. She doesn't pay much attention to the donuts but goes directly for the stick. We finished out the afternoon by watching Tiger Woods win the Players Championship down in Florida. Sergio Garcia went from being tied with Tiger for the lead to being tied for 8th place in just the last few holes, I almost felt sorry for him.  

Saturday, May 11, 2013

First Golf of the Season

This picture was taken a year ago today but it could have been taken today. I was out there but had on a windbreaker and the Maple tree isn't leafed out yet this year. Charlie called early this morning to see if I was interested in playing. It was my first time out all season. I didn't do real well but was able to stay "respectable". Elaine and I mowed the front and back yard this morning along with a bit of other yard work.
 We only played 9-holes but it was enough for my first time out. I have no visions of playing a lot this summer but do hope to be able to play occasionally. It only takes a couple good shots to bring one back out. I made a 12 foot put to finish the last hole so that may take me back.

Friday, May 10, 2013

May 10, 2012, One Year Ago

This picture was taken 1 year ago today, on May 10, 2012. I had played my 50th 9-hole round of golf for the year, we had driven out past the site of the new Cobblestone Motel, picked up and planted Petunias, and I sat down to enjoy a Dr. Pepper in 85 degree weather. It's interesting how much difference a year can make. I haven't played any golf this year; it was announced the other day that Cobblestone has already had 3,000 rooms occupied. Last year  the trees were all leafed out and the Rose was in bloom. Even the Hostas at the base of the Red Oak tree were far ahead of where they are today. We did buy 4 Geraniums today and planted them in our black kettle. We also did other yard work and sat at the same table for nearly an hour with coffee and cookies. We did decide that at our age, we really didn't have to feel guilty about not doing anything if we didn't feel like it. However, I went on to dig out a small stump and pruned the Holly bush.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Baltimore Oriole in our Back Yard

We saw a Baltimore Oriole in our back yard while we were eating lunch today. It was at the bird feeder when Elaine first spotted it. It didn't stay there very long before flying first to the Blue Spruce tree and then over on the ground near the Flowering Quince bush. It soon flew away. We used to see them in the shelterbelt out at the farm but don't see them here very often. We understand they like Grape Jelly so will get some and put it out. Our morning Coffee Group discusses birds to some extent nearly every morning so I will have something to report tomorrow. One of the fellows in the group lives out in the country where he has established excellent bird habitat. He reported this morning that he has seen 49 species so far this year. I haven't kept track but doubt that I could list over 15 that I have identified in our back yard. I did load up the old Red Ryder today to scare off the stray cats so that may help.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Nice Kitty

We had a great day. There was a good group at Coffee this morning, but I came home early for Elaine and I to leave for Lincoln. We had a very enjoyable lunch at the Olive Garden. Seated next to us was an old friend from our SCS/NRCS retirees organization along with some of his Economic Research Service friends that I worked with years ago. We did some shopping where Elaine was able to get a pair of dark slacks and a shirt. We took some things to Dale and Marlene, had coffee and made friends with the cat. After a good visit we came home on #6 because of construction on #34. We hadn't been that way for some time and enjoyed the scenery. Wednesday is Senior Citizen Discount Day at our local grocery store so we got our week's supply along with Broasted Chicken for supper. Shopping in Seward is always a social  event, and we enjoyed visiting with one of the HS Teachers who has lost about 100 pounds during the past year. He is a great guy and has had a very positive impact on many SHS graduates. Elaine and his mother were HS Classmates and continue to be good friends. It has all made for a very good day and Alex Gordon got another HR but the Royals are behind Baltimore 5-3. 

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Golf Balls and Stuff

I worked with golf balls this afternoon. It was with a two-fold purpose. One to get many of the balls I've collected over the years ready for a garage sale. And, two, to help me build up enthusiasm for getting back out to the golf course. I drove through the Country Club parking lot last evening on my way home from a Kitone gig and this morning had a golfing conversation with a friend. I'm thinking that maybe I'll get out to the driving range sometime this week. I have 26 egg cartons (12 spaces in each) filled with balls ready for our up-coming garage sale. I will also have some clubs, bags, pull cart, etc. to put out. Even if I get back to playing like I did last year, I know that I'll not be using any of the things that I put out to sell. I will price every thing to go--just hope the supply doesn't exceed the demand. I didn't even think about the egg cartons filled with golf balls that serve as a TV stand in my basement office. It consist of 7 layers of 6 cartoons each arraigned for maximum stability. My TV there is one that Julie had while she was in NY City. It's connected to Time Warner Cable and has excellent reception. We will also have at least one TV on the Garage Sale. Since it cost $10.00 to get rid of a TV at our annual Seward Clean Up Day, it will be priced pretty low--like maybe for Free. 

Monday, May 6, 2013

New Kiwanis Members

Here is a group of people that were inducted into the Kiwanis Club of Seward today. Also included in the picture is the Club President (right end) and  the membership chairman (2nd from the left end). A couple of the new members were unable to stay for the picture.  This takes our membership over 100. We are among the larger clubs in the Nebraska-Iowa District. Our Club has a great cross-section of talents. That is a real benefit as we take on various projects. Concordia University continues to be a good source of members. It is not unusual for Professors to belong while they are here, leave to answer further calls, and move back to Seward in Retirement. There  were 17 of us Kitones who sang at the Ridgewood Care Center this evening as the folks were finishing their evening meal. The Kitones are just one of the many Kiwanis projects. Our Bank-Pack Program provides week-end "groceries" to over 50 elementary school families here in the Seward School District.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Congratulations Tony McWilliams

We attended a "Graduation Party" this afternoon honoring Tony McWilliams. Tony is Brother Don and Gladys' Grandson graduating from Pius X in Lincoln. He is shown here with John & Julie Owens and Grandma Carolyn holding Sadie. Tony has been the 3rd baseman on the Championship Pius X team and started the triple play in the Districts yesterday. His name was also in the paper this morning for being among a number of Pius X students with a 4.0 average in the 1/291 group. Tony will be attending the UN college of Engineering-Architecture in Omaha on a Walter Scott 4-year Scholarship. The Scott family provides 50 such Scholarships annually. Tony's education will also include working as an Intern with an Architectural firm as he completes his academic studies. We are all very proud of his accomplishments to date and foresee a very bright future. Congratulations, Tony!

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Heather, Tony & The Derby

We watched Orb win the 139th running of the Kentucky Derby this afternoon. It was an exciting race with Orb and several others overtaking the early leaders who ran the first half of the race at a torrid pace. The track was wet on a rainy day that didn't seem to dampen the enthusiasm of crowd. It has been 38 years since we attended the 101st running for the Roses back in 1975. A lot of changes have taken place since then. The Grandstand with the twin steeples was the "trademark" for the track. Now it is sandwiched between much larger and impressive structures. We brought home 2 drinking glasses from the race we attended. They have become collector items over the years and while we have enjoyed them, I put them on e-Bay a couple days ago. There are still a few days to go in the auction but at this point, haven't received a bid. The eBay listing is number 290910208218. Our interest in the Derby and e-Bay listings were down on our priority list today since we received a picture early this morning of Granddaughter Heather receiving her PhD yesterday and our Grandson Tony getting his BA today. We are very proud Grandparents knowing the effort they each made to achieve these goals. Congratulations Heather and Tony !

Friday, May 3, 2013

Old Windbreaker in the Garbage

I spent a couple hours this afternoon out in the Garage and in cleaning out my car trunk. While I had taken my golf clubs out of the trunk during the winter, all of the rest of the golfing stuff was still there. Elaine has washed my sweatshirt and towels, etc, and I have done some sorting and throwing away. I'm shown here dropping my old windbreaker in the garbage can. It has been a favorite over the years. I bought it down in Texas back in the mid 90's. It was very light and roomy and just perfect to wear playing golf. It was nice to wear on some of the trips that we took since it could be packed in an overnight bag and yet provided a lot of protection. I also took inventory of the golf balls that were in the trunk. Some people need to buy a dozen balls every couple times they go golfing, and I seem to accumulate them at about that rate. It could be that the fellows I played with were very adept at finding balls. And,  my "retriever" enabled me to pull many out of the water. Some of the fellows I played with would give me any of theirs that had the slightest flaw. I never felt it made that much difference at my level of play. I haven't been out to the golf course yet this spring but working with the balls etc. has motivated me to at least get out to the driving range and putting green one of these nice days. I may even use a couple new balls on the putting green. 

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Snow in May

We woke up  this morning with a covering of snow on the ground. It looked like about 1" here in Seward but Lincoln and Omaha have both reported nearly 3". Ours is gone this evening but the temperature is to get down into the 20's. We were watching the Kansas City-Tampa Bay baseball game this afternoon when play was halted in the bottom of the 4th because of rain. After an hour or so it turned to snow and many of the players were out taking pictures. It appeared that some of them had never seen snow before. We normally don't do much with eBay this time of year but with our strange weather, we put 3 items on this afternoon. I will get Elaine involved keeping the necessary records in we continue to list things. That along with a garage sale should help us get rid of some of our "stuff". 

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Graduations during a Cold Spring

This fellow isn't as old as he looks. He is our youngest son decked out in his Civil War Reenactment outfit. He has "done" several historic men during the past couple years with Congressman Justin Morrill being the most widely known. We had hoped to be with Jon and his family this weekend where their oldest daughter will receive her PhD from Indiana University at Bloomington, IN. However, a change of plans will keep us home in Nebraska. With the weather as it is, we are pleased to be here. We were also looking forward to seeing son Tim and his family in Columbus, IN. Their son will be receiving a BA degree from Indiana U. It was a coincident that the cousins ended up at IU after each having attended other schools. 
It is difficult to realize that it's the first of May with our temperature as it is. We are sitting on the freezing point here at 7:20pm with winds making it feel like 24. We could have some snow by morning. We certainly need the moisture we are getting but would like to see some warmer temperatures.