Thursday, October 31, 2013

The Potato Sack Girl

The "Potato Sack" girl and her parents came to visit us this evening. She seems to know she is more special when she has on her costume that her Mother made for her. The potatoes look very real and were made out of old pantie hose from the EtCetrea store. The lettering on the burlap was also hand printed with templates. It seems that sponsored events have taken place of the house-to-house trick and treating. Several of the Churches here in Seward are sponsoring a Trunk-or-treat event. The Methodist seem to have started that a few years ago. Adults seem to have gotten much more involved in Halloween Activities. It is surprising to see decorations on the White House  and even the Nebraska Governor's dog was shown dressed up for the evening news. I suspect stimulating the economy may have something to do with promoting the Holliday. It's come a long way since I was a kid. The matter of Trick or Treating was not yet invented. We only knew the Trick part of the equation. Upsetting outhouses was one of the chief tricks. I have never ran any faster than getting away from an upset shanty when the owner heard the commotion and came out with a shot gun and hollering obscenities.
On another occasion some of us got tangled up in a chicken scratch-pen and never did get the shanty upset. Back in those days there were still many outhouses in the small towns. Seward had their share and so it wasn't unusual for some of the owners to move their shanty a couple feet to the front so the Tricksters would fall in the hole. While I never saw it happen, there were stories of owners guarding their shanty by setting in it. Then the guys would sneak up quietly and upset it with the door being on the bottom and trapping the old guy inside. 
So we are much more civilized these days. It's much nicer to set in the living room and watch a Great-granddaughter get a candy out of the bowl and take it to her parents. They don't allow her to have any candy. 
We had a good day today with Elaine going to Bible Study this morning, me going to Coffee, then doing Home Delivered Meals and Elaine getting a permanent during the afternoon. Carolyn came by while she was gone and I was working in the yard, Jon and Verlon both called in addition to John, Julie and Sadie coming over. It was a great day.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Corn Picking with Confidence

This is a 1949, Bick Farm Equipment Co. Calendar picture. It was among the "treasures" that was saved by Elaine's folks and Dale brought it out to us recently. My family had Oliver's and Virgil Bick was "our dealer". My brother "Don" had a 77 like the one pictured that he bought new from Bicks. What really fascinated me in the picture was a reminder of the mechanism involved in getting the wagon hooked up to the corn picker. While I was still at home, we had a very similar set-up except I pulled it with a Model A John Deere.  We lived in "the Hills" and maneuvering the rig across gullies, up and down hills, was a challenge. It was always necessary to turn to the right because of the wagon not turning very short. I distinctly remember one day when the field I was working in presented some special challenges. I got the rig turned into the standing rows and just stopped for a minute to take a deep breath and question whether I was up to the challenge. I decided that since I was the one that planted the corn, I had cultivated it and there was no one more capable than me of meeting the challenge. (At that time my Dad  did very little with the tractor since he still used horses for some of the farming.)  I went on with confidence and had the wagon full when Dad got out with a team of horses and an empty wagon. When I became Director of Personnel for SCS in USDA, I had more than one opportunity to tell this story. When a new State Conservationist was selected, they were brought in to D.C. and taken up to meet key members of Congress with whom they would be having contact. They would usually come to visit with me after the hill visit. It wasn't unusual for them to question what they were getting in to and whether they were capable of doing the very demanding job. They understood my analogy, and I was able to give them the confidence they needed since no one was more capable of doing the job than they were. 

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Potato Farmer Julie and Potato Sack Sadie

This is Sadie with her Mother Julie in a Rotary Club Halloween custom competition this evening at the Seward Civic Center. The battery of my camera was low so the picture doesn't do justice to the "Sack of Potatoes" costume, nor to Julie's "Potato Farmer" outfit. They didn't win a prize in the judging but the Grandparents and Great-Grandparents all agreed that they were #1. It's interesting that the crowd at the event with competition from less than a year old to age 12, filled the Auditorium. The event topped off a busy day of being in Lincoln for Elaine's further examination in preparation for having her eyelids lifted. The test showed that she was missing quite a bit of vision with their drooping. I had to wait a while for my new glasses to be finished so we spent time with Dale and Marleen. They are continuing to reduce "stuff" also as they prepare to move into smaller quarters in the near future. Dale gave us University of Nebraska Yearbooks from 1945, 1948 and 1950. Elaine and I each went through one of them this evening. They were most interesting in that we came across the pictures of several people that we worked with over the years. I'm not sure what we will do with them since they are so heavy, it will be almost cost prohibitive to mail if sold on eBay. I may even try Craig's list. I'm certain that there are Grandchildren out there today who would be interested is seeing what it was like when their Grandparents were in College. 

Monday, October 28, 2013

Sadie, Julie and Old Times

We got out to see Julie and Sadie this afternoon. I was surprised that Julie had on a Nebraska sweat-shirt after Saturday's performance but Sadie liked it. She was telling us, "Bye" here and can say it just about as well as I can. She enjoys playing and eating Cheerios and even fed me some. I think she will learn to count by playing with them; her lessons are already underway. She wanted her milk cup out of the refrigerator and I was able to get it for her. It is a special little plastic cup that she can drink out of a little spout but it won't leak out of it. Many improvements have been made since we had kids. It was a busy day with Elaine's brother Dale out for a funeral and stopping by to visit. He brought out a box of old newspapers which also help one  realize how much change has taken place since we had toddlers. In 1950 the Lincoln Star published a 2 column listing on the front page of College football and Major League baseball scores. Football scores were listed by quarter and baseball by inning. Eddie Lopat pitched an 8-0 shutout for the Yankees against the Red Sox with Yogi Berra catching. I was curious as to what we were doing on that September 23 date in 1950 so checked it out in my Diary.  I had written, "Got up at 6:00. I fed Verlon (He was about 5 weeks old) while Elaine got breakfast. We were done washing by 9:00. I got the door latch fixed down at Tobin's. The five lots north of St. Johns school were sold for $3,760. I worked on District books. Verlon back on S.M.A." (after not getting along with evaporated milk). The next evening we took the "baby" out to Flowerday's and went to a Dance in Bee where the Charlie Kucera Orchestra played. Those were the Days.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Seward Auctions

Schweitzer's had an Auction yesterday down at the Ag Pavilion for Albertina Luebbe. I went down soon after it started at 9:30 and found so many nice things that I came back and took Elaine down to see everything. Pictured here is the "Doll Section" which was certainly outstanding. There were many very nice things but nothing that I wanted badly enough to keep me away from watching the Nebraska-Minnesota football game at 11:00 am. I was still optimistic that the Huskers could pull it out but it wasn't to be. Once in a while you can win a game when the opposition out plays you, but not very often. Yesterday, the best playing team won. We didn't stay for Social Hour after Church this morning but came home for a sandwich and off to Underwood's Auction for the Russ and Marian Keller estate. It was a beautiful 70 degree day for an "At the House" auction but I didn't find anything there either that I couldn't get along without. Since I've been working on eBay to get rid of "stuff", I'm much more selective about what I bring home. I did enjoy the social aspects of both auctions as an opportunity to visit with old friends and even with a couple new ones. One of the new friends has lived for several years in a house that my partner Clarence Schmidt and I landscaped at the time the house was built over 50 years ago . It was heartening to hear him tell how much he appreciates what we did and that they are still enjoying the trees. 

Saturday, October 26, 2013

A Flag Display Proposal

This is a Google aerial shot of highway #34 at the eastern edge of Seward. The highway is labeled as McKelvie Road since that is what it becomes as it goes straight east for several miles. The City Walking-Biker trail is seen crossing under the highway along with Plum Creek. The in-out drive at the bottom of the picture encircles the State Monument recognizing the first settlement of the city, Marv Taylor asked me to write a brief summary of what the Seward Kiwanis Club is proposing in the way of a Flag Display at the entrance of the City. The "focal point" would be at the driveway (white spot) just off the highway with the 50 state flags extending on to the right between the highway and the row of small trees. Here is what I wrote for Marv's use as we look to the Kiwanis International Foundation for funding.
The Kiwanis Club of Seward has a long history of support for Kiwanis International Projects as well as local service projects. One such local project has resulted in the installation of over 700 flag poles with US flags in the area during the past few years by the Club's Flag Pole Committee. The proceeds from this volunteer effort are used to fund youth projects. We now have plans for a Flag Display that would welcome people into the City as they drive on Highway 34 between Seward and Lincoln. Several years ago Seward was designated as the State's 4th of July City because of its long history of major celebrations in recognition of the event. A Flag display as envisioned would harmonize well with the City's tradition.
The focal point of the display would be a large American flag on a 50' pole surrounded by 5 smaller poles with Flags from the 5-branches of Military Service. This would be located on City flood plain property at the eastern edge of the City. It would be across the highway from the State Historic monument recognizing the City's first settler. The focal point would be connected to the nearby City Walking-Biking trail with a hard surfaced walkway. The walkway would also be extended beyond the focal point with flags from the 50 states displayed on either side.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Yellowstone Lodge

Twenty years ago we took Carolyn and Julie along on a trip to Yellowstone National Park and points west. It was our second trip there with the girls and Motor Home and a really great experience. The girls are shown here walking back toward the Lodge after having been down to see the "Morning Glory" and some other geysers. We have been back to Yellowstone since then and had been there before but traveling with the girls made this trip special. We also experienced a slight earthquake during one of the nights while we were there. Elaine and I were sleeping in the upper-deck,(above the cab) and were both awakened by it. The girls were sleeping on the lower level and didn't awaken. It was really just a slight jolt and was all over so we didn't have any chance of getting them awake to experience it. They may have missed that but didn't miss many things along the way. It was a great trip with a lot of happy memories and many pictures; plus the fact that we have completely forgotten about our 7 mpg gas mileage. 

Thursday, October 24, 2013


One never knows what will sell on eBay. Here is a little 6 inch wooden ruler from a company in Vineland, New Jersey. It sold this afternoon for $13.49 to a fellow from Vineland, NJ.
This is the back of the ruler. I suspect the Lirio Basket & Paper Company goes back a few years and can't help but wonder if the purchaser may have a connection with the company other than being in the same city. I got the ruler in a box of "stuff" at a recent Auction here in Seward. While it is a nice little, metal edged ruler, we really have no use for it. This is one of the virtues of eBay. It lets items be "redistributed" to people who can enjoy them. This is an exceptional "deal"; on most items we hardly get paid for the gas it takes to get them to the Post Office. The time it takes to do the pictures, describe the item, put them on eBay, send the invoice, etc cannot even be considered. Part of the reward is in the pleasure of making someone happy. Hopefully too, there may be some benefit in keeping the "brain cells" active. It doesn't take much to make an old man happy and it's exciting to see the bids come in. There are two Auctions in Seward this weekend so I will be among the bidders looking for bargains that might by recycled. 

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Untypical Fall Day

This picture was taken yesterday of the Hospital parking lot. The corner from which I took it is only a half block from our house. The parking lot and landscaping covers a full city block which is directly across Columbia Avenue from the Hospital. The maple trees are a very crimson red when the sun shines on them. Unfortunately, we didn't have much of a chance to enjoy them today. We had appointments with our Ophthalmologist in Lincoln this morning. Since it involved both Elaine and I, we spent over 2 hours in the examination room. Elaine will have surgery to raise "drooping" upper eye lids. I got a new prescription for trifocals. Despite these "corrections" we were both pleased with the Doctor's assessment of our "eye health".  
I attended a joint meeting of the City Council and the Seward County Commissioners this evening to discuss the question of the County joining the City in building a 15 million dollar "Wellness Center" here in Seward. There will be further discussions but the consensus seemed to be that it would be very nice to have but it may be difficult to get people to agree to  pay for it through an increase in property tax. My earlier City Council remark was quoted when I said, "I wanted a Mercedes until I found out what they cost." (It was such a busy day that I didn't even remember the World Series game but got to see the last 3 innings.)

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Well Fed Sadie

Sadie and Grandma Carolyn were over to visit Sunday afternoon while her parents were in Omaha. She is very much "at home" with Carolyn and also enjoys our back yard One  of the first thing Carolyn does is empty our bird bath before Sadie gets into it. She is playing with a little ceramic bird that normally sets on the deck railing. She is up to 24 pounds now and her balance continues to improve. She is to the point of walking so fast that it's really a trot. She particularly likes to take off from our living room and pass through the hall on the way to the kitchen; then she can come out of the other kitchen door into the dining room and back into the living room. She not only waves good bye, but says "Bye" as soon as it appears that someone is leaving. I expect it was Carolyn that taught her to show off her tummy. On command, she will pull up her skirt and pat her tummy. She will even point to her "belly button". I haven't taken a picture of her doing that yet since it might embarrass her as she gets older. She is a real delight to have around and does something new each time we see her. We had our Kiwanis Empty Bowl Luncheon today where we raised enough money to provide "Back Pack" meals to over 50 children in the Seward Schools. As "well fed" as Sadie is, it's difficult to realize there are that many families in the District that need help. She doesn't realize what a lucky kid she is, nor do we always remember. 

Monday, October 21, 2013

A Rose is a ...

In her 1913 poem, "Sacred Emily", Gertrude Stein wrote, " A rose is a rose is a rose". That expression has been used by countless poets and writers to mean different things. I am using it here to express our appreciation for neighbor Chuck Matzke bringing over a beautiful bouquet of roses yesterday afternoon for Elaine. Chuck and Jan are well known for their rose gardens which are enjoyed my many people as they pass by their beautiful home at Columbia Avenue and Seward Street. Elaine is feeling better but wasn't up to going to Church yesterday morning. When the Matzke's noticed that she wasn't with me, they felt that a bouquet of roses might speed her recovery.  Chuck walked them over and they have hardly been out of Elaine's sight since. "A rose by any other name would still smell as sweet" according to Shakespeare but A Rose is More than a Rose when   a bouquet of them are walked over by a concerned neighbor to someone recuperating. Thanks

Sunday, October 20, 2013

1992 Buick LaSabre at 150,000 Miles

Our old '92 Buick LaSabre reached a milestone over the weekend when it hit 150,000 miles. We have maintained a "log" of all expenses including the original cost when it was purchased on March 27, 1992 from Rolfsmeier Motors here in Seward. It's cost was $18,342. but Sales  and Property tax and the Registration Fee added another $1,467.35. After getting insurance and filling it with gas at just over $1.00/gal, we were ready to go. Within a few months we drove it back to Baltimore, MD for a Soil and Water Conservation Society Meeting, saw a baseball game in Camden Yards and visited Tim & Laura in Columbus, IN. During the 10 years that it was our "new" car (before we bought the '02 LaSabre) , we enjoyed many interesting trips. We drove it back to Columbus, IN 11 times during those 10 years, many times it was in conjunction with other travel. We drove to SWCS Annual Meetings in: Baltimore, MD; Ft Worth, TX; Norfolk, VA; Des Moines, IA; Keystone, CO; San Diago, CA; Biloxi, MS; and, St Louis, MO. We drove to the Valley in Texas 5 times. And, one of our best trips was in May of '93 when Tim and I drove nearly 4,000 miles in seeing 9 Major League Baseball games in US and Canada plus spending a day at Cooperstown, NY. Elaine and I visited other baseball parks with it as well as National Parks, Presidential Libraries, and other points of interest from coast to coast. It has held up very well having had little significant repair. I continue to have the oil changed every 3,000 miles and have never had to add any oil between changes. Just to look at us on this picture, I think I have changed more than the car but we have both done very well. Our good care may have had something to do with that. 

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Seward UMW Bazaar

The Seward United Methodist Women's Bazaar was held today. Like the 4th of July event in Seward, the planning for the next years event begins before the current one is over. Elaine has been very much a part of the furnishing, pricing and selling of items in past years and was most disappointed when she wasn't feeling well yesterday and couldn't help. I took her things up yesterday morning and reported her plight. I  went back up today to take some pictures for her. She is feeling much better today and even fixed sausage and eggs for supper. I was pleased to be able to buy some cupcakes and left my "silent auction bid" on a pie baked by Nancy Lambert.  We got a call later this afternoon saying that I was the successful High Bidder. Since it was for a pie of the bidders choice, I plan to ask that it be a Cherry Pie. Pictured here at the Bazaar, check-out table are Sarah, Diane and Sally. They have been very much a part of the leadership in helping to make the event a success. I hope that Sarah was successful in her "Silent Auction Bid" for receiving  instruction on Blogging.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Julie & Sadie

I came across this picture of Julie taken back in the early spring of 1981 when she would have been about the same age that Sadie is now. There seems to  be quite a bit of facial resemblance; their hair is similar thou Julies was lighter color. Julie was a bit more slender too as you look at her little fingers. I don't believe her toes were as chubby as Sadie's little "piggies"either. While there are resemblances, we know that Sadie is a unique person in her own right and that she also has many of the Owens features. 
It was a quiet day around our house with Elaine spending most of it in bed. She woke up with a headache and while determined to go help prepare for the Church Bizarre, realized she couldn't make it after throwing-up a couple times. It seems there is a "flu-like" sickness going around and she got it. Hopefully, it won't last very long. 
Meanwhile, I'm getting some new experience by finding out what's in the refrigerator. Carolyn stopped by earlier this afternoon and will be around all weekend in case we need some help. I fully understand why older people move to be near a daughter. Although, it would have been difficult for us to move back to North Carolina if Carolyn and Julie hadn't moved back to Nebraska those many years ago. It is almost like a "re-run" watching Sadie grow up after having had that opportunity with Julie. Only this time we are older and Sadie is fortunate in having much better living conditions. 

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Our Welcome Hanging Basket

With our first frost of the fall inevitable shortly, we made some preparations for winter today. First we switched the inserts on our outside doors from screens to storm windows. After having gone through this ritual every spring and fall for the past 30 years, we have things marked and can do it without any problems. I cleaned some "wild asters" out of a flower bed, chopped them up with the lawn mower and put them on the compost pile. They never met our  expectations. We did mow the front and back yards which also cleaned up fallen leaves. We have enjoyed this Vining Geranium at our entryway that Carolyn gave Elaine for Mother's Day. It has bloomed all summer and fall. We don't really have a place to hold plants over the winter but will try to protect it and a few other plants for a few more days. I was pleased to know that the Federal employees were back to work today. And, even more pleased to have  a phone call from brother Don who got home this afternoon following  back surgery yesterday in Lincoln. He was doing well and pleased that it had corrected the numbness in his legs. His golfing season is over for this year but looking forward to next year. Now, if I can just get our programable thermostat set to where we are both comfortable during the day as well as over night....

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Little Liberty Free Library

Our local Seward paper carried an interesting story today on Carolyn and Ben's efforts in establishing a "Little Liberty Free Library". It is located in the yard of Pat Coldiron's Liberty House. The article tells of the origin of the "Free Library" idea where people are welcome to  take a book and bring a book on the honor system. Some years ago, our son Verlon was instrumental in building and setting up something very similar in a Richmond, VA restaurant where he ate frequently. We are pleased that our family has continued their interest in Libraries over the years--it stems from their early training when we couldn't afford to take them elsewhere. We visited with Carolyn this morning and saw some of her other projects. She and Ben complement each other with their creative talents for restoring and painting old furniture and making it very attractive. This Little Library is an example of their making something out of scraps which will hopefully, bring pleasure to many people. It already adds to the appearance of Liberty House, a Bed and Breakfast  that also has many antiques and collectibles on display and for sale.  It will be a busy place this Saturday as the "Autumn Antique Market" is held on the Lawn and in the House. There will be demonstrations of an Apple Cider press, Spinning Wheel, etc. It will be a busy place.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Our Sadie

We got out to see Sadie this evening. She likes the cup that she can reach into and get Cheerios. It is made with an opening that lets her reach in but closes to keep them from spilling. The only thing that is more fascinating to her is my camera. Her vocabulary continues to grow. While there are only a few "words" her sounds and actions tell you exactly what she is thinking. She and her Grandma Carolyn spend quite a bit of time together and they both seem to enjoy every minute of it. Family time is important and we take advantage of every opportunity to spend as much time with her as possible. It is a bit reminiscent of our time when we spent with Julie when she was little. Not that we didn't enjoy our own kids but we were so busy with work and other activities that we didn't have time to realize how enjoyable they could be.  I hope that I can teach Sadie how to say 3 like I did Julie. I would demonstrate her arithmetic ability when she was about 2 years old by asking her what was 2 + 1 and she would say Three!!. I would than ask about 4 -1 and again she would say Three!!. About that time people began to catch-on. We all got a laugh out of it, she in particular even though she didn't know for sure what we were laughing at. And while Sadie doesn't know what a lucky little girl she is to be loved by as many people as she is, some how she seems to sense it. 

Monday, October 14, 2013

7 Stages of Man

While looking through some old Auction purchases today for items to possibly put on eBay, I came across William Shakespeare's "As You Like It" where he writes about All the World being a Stage and discusses the 7-Stages of Man. He described the stages as: 1) The infant 2) The 'whining' school boy 3) The lover (or teenager) 4) The soldier 5) The 'justice' or the man 6) The 'age shifts' (becoming old) 7) The 'ends this strange eventful history' (dies). These stages have been depicted in many forms over the years from cartoons to cut glass windows. Here is one example.
The interesting thing is that the life expectancy has increased significantly since the time of Shakespeare and even more importantly, the 4th and 5th stages is where much of the extension has occurred. My Brother Don is a good example. He is 83 years old, plays golf nearly every day, continues to work occasionally as an Auctioneer, hasn't lost any of his height and could easily pass for someone in their early 60's. It was only a year ago that he sold his interest in a  very active Auctioning Business to his partner. Improved diets, medical care, safety features, exercise, lack of stress, etc. all, along with other factors have made this possible. Many of our generation are enjoying it but expect that coming generations may have to continue to work later in life like Don has done.  And, if they are like Don, they will enjoy it. 

Sunday, October 13, 2013

A Foresome

This was taken on July 7, 2004 here in Seward. Jerry, Don, Larry and I had been on a 3-day golfing trip to western Nebraska. We left on Monday the 5th, after Janice and Jerry had been in Seward for their 50th HS Class Reunion. Larry did all the driving of Jerry's Chrysler mini-Van. We played the Wildhorse Course at Gothenburg that afternoon and drove on to the Holiday Inn in McCook. We played the hilly Heritage Hills course there on Tuesday morning and visited the Museum in the afternoon. We stayed over again but were to Cambridge the next morning for an 8:30 tee time.   The front 9 was pretty flat but the 2-year old back 9 went up into the hills. We enjoyed the big old Cottonwood trees on the course. We ate lunch in Holdrege and followed the rain in to Seward where we had over and inch when we got home at 5:00pm. While we kept score, we didn't let a "poor lie" distract from the pleasure of the camaraderie. We all agreed it was a great experience, that Larry did a good job driving, and Don's sense of Humor contributed to a "once in a lifetime experience". 

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Write Stuff

There was an interesting article in this morning's Lincoln Journal Star on, "Write Stuff". Several "journal-keepers" are quoted and tell of relief and motivation with daily writing. Psychologists are quoted as indicating that writing can have a beneficial effect on mental health. Some people "Journal" to record everything they consume as a method of reducing weight. Others write about intimate details and insist that their Journals be destroyed. My main reason for having kept 5-year Diaries for 35 years and annual Journals (Standard Diary as shown) for many, many years  has been to "keep track of things". I don't write things that I would not want my wife or kids to see. Over the years we have gone back and briefly identified the date when significant events occurred. This listing is called, "Highlights" and filed in a 3-ring binder. These highlight items probably average about 20/month and are accessed often when we question when something happened. Once we get a date for a happening, we can go into the Journal and get more details. Often there will be something written that will trigger further memories. I had just started my 2nd, 5-year Diary when I started to work for the USDA Soil Conservation Service.  In those days each of us "Field Employees" were issued little "shirt pocket" notebooks where we were required to keep track of which farmers we worked with and what we accomplished. These records supported our monthly accomplishment reports and were subject to review by "auditors".  While my personal "Journaling" of what happened is not necessary to justify my actions, it's an extension of my memory and relieves the frustration of not knowing.  

Friday, October 11, 2013

The Farm

This was our Barn, Corncrib-Granary and Tractor Shed out at the Farm which we had during the 1980's. The farm more than took care of any concern that we may have ever had about what we would do in retirement. Though retired from Federal Civil Service, I moved right into a full-time State level job. Elaine too continued to work full-time in a demanding job, also in Lincoln. We look back on our days at the farm with mixed emotions. We had many very happy days out there in making improvements to the house, yard and out buildings as well as with the garden, fish pond, and raising switch grass seed, etc..  It provided an opportunity for Granddaughter Julie to have many of the benefits of "growing up on a farm". We did make a wise decision to sell it when we did, and simplify our life style. A few years after our selling it, the barn and all the building shown on this picture were completely destroyed by a tornado. Fortunately, the house just a few feet to the left of this picture suffered only slight damage. It was ironic that my Dad helped move the "Post and Beam" Barn back on it's foundation after the 1913 tornado. It seemed that it had been shoved a few feet and neighbors were able to move it back by prying with bars. This picture is most valuable in refreshening our memory which tends to Emphasise the Positive

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Need to Get Back to Work

I'm not sure what he's saying and I really don't want to know but believe this picture demonstrates how some USDA civil servant employees feel about the "shut down". After 9 days, tempers are on edge and whiskers grow. I don't know the answer  but believe most people would agree that we can't continue to   increase our fiscal deficits. It's amazing that the stock market had the increases today. Those folks must hear or see something that most of us do not. We bought groceries today and looked for "sale" items. It seemed that the price had gone up for everything that wasn't on sale. I got a haircut this afternoon and the price  of it even was up $1.00. And, I use to wonder why old people complained so much and talk about the "Good Old Days".

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Golfing in Syracuse, NE on a Beautiful Day

I played golf in Syracuse, NE today with my brother Don, and his friends Joe and Jerry. It was the 2nd time this year that I had a score for playing 9 holes. My other golfing this year was in a scramble. A year ago I had scores for 217 rounds so I didn't expect too much of myself today and had just about what I expected. Don and I talked about our first golfing experience and how we got into playing the game. We agreed that one of our best experiences was when Jerry, Larry, Don and I went on a 3-day golfing tour of western Nebraska. I don't remember when I played my last basketball game and believe my last baseball game was at Garland after we had moved to Lincoln, but I kept the score card from today's round just in case it turns out to be my last round of golf. 

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

2009 in Virginia

How time flies. These pictures were taken back in  Virginia over the 4th of July week-end in 2009 when we had the family together in recognition of our 60th Wedding Anniversary. We really had a great time visiting, sightseeing and enjoyed the fireworks from our Arlington Hotel. Some of the "kids" drive down towards the Airport for a better view of them. Our 65th anniversary is only months away but we don't plan anything special. We would welcome all the family to be here but  don't plan to make a big event of it. We have talked about a "before and after" picture in the Lincoln Journal Star Celebrate section but have plenty of time to decide.
Here are the 5 grandchildren taken during the weekend after we had lunch down in the Crystal City area. I regret that we don't have a very good picture that includes Ben, Mary and Laura. Tony now has his BA degree from Indiana University , Maggie is a senior at Oberlin College, Heather has received her PhD at IU in Bloomington, IN as well and is teaching in New Haven, CN; Anna is in George Mason University (and scheduled for a catheter ablation at Washington Hospital tomorrow morning." ) Julie and John have been married since July of 2010 and have Sadie who was a year old in August. The house in the background was not where we lived. 
But here is our old house on South Arlington Ridge Road.  We lived here for over 12 years and it was during the time that all 4 of the kids were in  nearby Elementary, Junior High and Wakefield HS. The house has received considerable remodeling since we left. The street has also been narrowed which makes it a much more attractive place than when we lived there. It was built in the 1930's and was a very solid house. There are many stories that could be recalled from the house during those 12 years. Jon was instrumental  in making root beer. After having it bottled and capped, we began to hear strange noises coming from the basement only to find that it was blowing the caps and spraying all over. 

Monday, October 7, 2013

PET's for Handicapped Mobility

Yvonne Patterson, a former Seward resident who now lives in Columbia, MO, presented the program at Kiwanis this noon. She is involved with an organization which produces "Personal Energy Transportation". They are called PET's and are sent to developing countries around the word to enable mobility for individuals who are unable to walk. They are a low tricycle type chair moved by peddling the front wheel with one's arms. The pedals also serve as the handle bar for steering. They are built in a small and large size. Pee Wee is shown here in a small one with Club President, Shane Baack standing by.  While many handicapped people in this country have a battery powered "scooter", these PET's are utilized in the developing world. They are produced at a cost of $250.00 with primarily volunteer labor. The Plant in Columbia where Yvonne volunteers produced 2012 of them last year. The project was begun in 1994 in response to the tragic loss of mobility in Zaire due to landmines and polio. By 2012 the project is in over 90 countries. 

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Dedication of the Lower Level of Seward Memorial Library

We participated in the Ddication of the Lower Level of the Seward Memorial Library this afternoon. Shown cutting the ribbon to the open stairway are:  Juanita Hill, Board Chair; John Hughes, Foundation President; Becky Baker, Library Director; and Josh Eickmeier, Mayor of Seward. Sally Ganem, wife of Governor Heineman made complementary comments about our Library which is a "jewel" in our community. Our former Mayor's son was the Architect on the lower level after having been involved in the building design ten years ago. It is commendable that a City of our size has been able to raise private funds to build such a facility without any "bonded indebtedness". The pride of having done so seemed to be evident in the large crowd that participated in the event. 

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Inspiration Point

Work continues at "Inspiration Point" down at the Seward City Park and County Fair Grounds. Plans are underway to deepen the old ice skating pond.  Then in cooperation with Nebraska Game and Parks, stock it with fish. It is also planned to have a handicapped dock where people can fish from a wheelchair. It will be a nice addition to the community. This is all particularly interesting to me since I spent much of my first 7 years with the Park as our playground. Our house was just across the railroad track from it and my older sister and I walked over frequently. The skating pond dates back to the early '50's when Ben Hughes, President of Hughes Brothers, Inc., began construction of a dike to protect the plant from flooding. The pond was created early as a source of fill for the dike. When some of the town skeptics questioned Ben's early efforts, they referred to the pond as, "Lake Bennie Ha Ha". The Corps of Engineers eventually became involved and completed the protection that we enjoy today. I was standing on the dike this morning while taking the picture. Heritage Hall is shown through the trees over the tractor.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Bulova Accutron Wristwatch

I spent more time than necessary today trying to put this Bulova Accutron wristwatch on eBay. I inherited it a few years ago from a friend, had a battery put in it and wore it until the battery ran down,  then put it on the shelf. In our efforts to reduce our inventory of "stuff" it seemed appropriate to put it on eBay. Our local Jeweler put a new battery in it this morning and it runs. The Accutron watches were some of the first to operate with a battery rather than a spring. They have become somewhat of a collectors item and some are listed on eBay at very high prices. I took pictures of it like the one shown and also tried to get a close up of the face and back. All went well until I tried to get it listed. It seems that my efforts to get a close up didn't produce a picture to meet eBay's standards. Consequently, its still not listed. I may have to just put it on with this picture and see what happens. My $10.65 investment in the new battery is my biggest concern at this time. If that wasn't concern enough, we had Black Hills Gas people here this afternoon looking at our furnace. After a quick inspection, they are coming back Monday. Then when we were eating supper, the crown on my front upper tooth fell off. The good news is that we missed the Tornados that hit eastern Nebraska last night and this evening and I sold an old Nebraska Farmer on eBay for $2.50.,

Thursday, October 3, 2013

"The County Agent" by Norman Rockwell

Many of you will recognize this picture of "County Agent" by Norman Rockwell which was painted back in 1948. The Original hangs in Hardin Hall on the East Campus of UN-L in Lincoln. Our Magazine Club is meeting tonight and I plan to report on a Smithsonian Magazine story on Rockwell. His Saturday Evening Post and Look Magazine covers were an attraction for many us us during his "hey-days" of the '40's, '50's and '60's. While the magazine story was interesting, I googled the County Agent and found an even more interesting story. It was written back in 1999 by Wes Jackson of The Land Institute near Salina, KS and quotes a University of Nebraska story about the painting. He tells of Clinton Hoover, Director of the Hall (called the Nebraska Center at that time) meeting Harold Ripley, the Co. Agent in the picture, as he and his wife stopped by to see the painting on their way back home from California. After learning of the Agent's name and that of the family, Wes followed up  and learned that none of them were any longer involved in agriculture. 

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Don Armstrong, RIP

I lost one of my long time, best friends yesterday. We received word that Don Armstrong had died after a fall that put him in an ICU unit at  Idaho Falls, ID for the past 15 days. I could list literally hundreds of stories in which he and I were involved; Most all of them good. We entered Garland HS as Freshmen in the fall of '38 and became close friends almost immediately. We played baseball and basketball in HS and continued on Town Team for years after graduation. The 5 of us pictured back in Washington, D.C. were there to get a car for Don that was given to him by his older brother in the Marine Corps at Quantico, VA. The 5 of us had previously driven a Model A Ford to Yellowstone NP in the summer of '46 and to the Ozarks in the fall of '47. Don was always the "stabilizing" force in our travels which helped "keep us in line". Even in recent years we spent time together as winter Texans and traveled on tours to Mexico with our wives and others. This past summer was the first in several years that they didn't get back for the GHS Alumni Reunion. A year ago when they were here we enjoyed some extra time together visiting our old neighborhood; and had a great time. Don had a very positive influence on my life in many ways. None more than during the fall of '46 when Don had become acquainted with Dale Flowerday.  At a dance in Dwight, Dale brought his "little sister" who had just turned 16, over to meet Don who was always the best looking guy in the crowd. Don was a modest fellow and when he didn't ask her to dance, I did. The rest is history and I may have never met my wife had it not been for Don. How much better friend could one ever hope to have. 

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Thad Weber, Toronto Blue Jays

We had the pleasure of Thad Weber, Toronto Blue Jay's pitcher, joining us for coffee this morning. Thad is from Friend, NE, has a BS degree in Biology from UN-L and pitched for the Huskers during his college days. He was drafted by Detroit, traded to the San Diego Padres and then went to the Blue Jays. He pitched for the Buffalo Triple-A team before being called up in mid-season. His last game was in late August when the Blue Jays were in Yankee Stadium and he pitched 2 innings in relief. He said it was a thrill pitching there and also being able to watch Mariano Rivera pitch. Thad has developed a "cutter" which has added to his arsenal of pitches. I knew he was going to be with us this morning so took my Cooperstown Baseball along and had him show me how to grip and throw a cutter. He says it doesn't move more than 4-5 inches but looks like a fast ball and makes the move just a few feet from the batter. One of the fellows that coffee's with us occasionally is a retired school Principal who lives in Friend. He has known the Weber family over the years and was instrumental in our getting to meet him. Thad is married with a 5-year old daughter and 3-year old son. They are expecting another addition in the very near future. Thad says while Friend is their home base, his family has been with him during his years in professional baseball. I had him autograph the Toronto story in my Baseball Book that tells of Tim and I attending a game there in 1993. Having an active Major League Baseball Pitcher show me how to throw a "Cutter" wasn't on my "Bucket List" but will be among my special memories.