Monday, March 31, 2014

Ridgewook Care Facility

Joe Caldwell, Administrator of the Ridgewood Care Facility, provided the program this noon for our Kiwanis Club. Ridgewood is the oldest of the Care Facilities in Seward and is undergoing considerable renovation and new construction. When completed this fall, what is now "Ridgewood West" will be the parking lot for the combined new and renovated facility. It will be divided into 3 "family units" with one of them being for residents needing memory support. The new addition will include a chapel and other facilities not now available. Ridgewood is owned by the Jack and Eldora Vetter  corporation with headquarters in Omaha. They are native Nebraskans with over 30 facilities, most of which are in eastern Nebraska but some in neighboring states. Joe speaks highly of the Vetter's and of their personal interest in the welfare and care of residents. Joe is a busy fellow with a staff that includes 11 nurses and CNA's to care for 60 residents in addition to support and administrative personnel. He is also President of the Seward Chamber of Commerce.
The square section on the left of the layout is all new construction as well as the connection of the two wings at the top of the right side. We spent a lot of time at Ridgewood during the several years that my Aunt Ethel was there and Elaine and I took care of her business. My Uncle Joe was also there during part of that time. As we deliver Home Delivered Meals to some of the folks that live alone, it seems that being in a care facility provides a higher quality of life. Medicare has been a great help in maintaining the dignity of the ageing. 

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Friendship Force

We took "time out" from watching basketball this afternoon and attended Sue Imig's presentation at the Library of the Lincoln Friendship Force trip to England, Scotland and Wales last fall. Sue is pictured in the front row with their group. Having been a school teacher, Sue made an excellent presentation to a large crowd. Members of the Friendship Force spend one day of their tours as Guest of members of the Club in the area they are visiting. Sue has hosted members from Canada who were here in the summer and wanted to visit the area where the Sandhills Cranes "stop over". Though the Cranes had moved on, they were most pleased with the presentations made by the Audubon staff. Sue said her day with the host in England was one of the highlights of the trip. She showed many pictures, told interesting stories that were reminiscent of our trips to Great Britain. We had the added benefit of Elaine's 2n'd cousin and his wife on one of our trips that showed us around "Flowerday" country near Norwich including the house where Elaine's Grandfather was born. It was ahead of a 10 country European trip where Carolyn and Julie accompanied us.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Dr. Dale Flowerday and his little Sister

Here is a picture of Elaine and her brother Dale that was taken about the time we started going together. Dale was unable to attend the Hall of Agricultural Achievement Banquet last evening but he was the subject of some discussion. He served for many years as an Agronomy Prof. who worked with under grads as well as serving as Advisor for many PhD candidates. He was Honored by the Hall in 2009 along with Dr. Stephen Baenziger. Last night Elaine mentioned to Mark, who was sitting next to her at the Banquet, that Dr. Flowerday was her brother. We are always amused because the usual response is a "chuckle".  He then went on to tell of how Dale could relate to the students and always made his classes interesting to the point that no one ever missed a class. He was well known for his humor and jokes but he also had his serious side. He received recognition on several occasions as the students' favorite Professor. Last night Mark even went on to tell Elaine how pleased he was to be able to set next to her since she was Dale's sister. I even related to all the people at our table that it was Dale that was responsible for introducing Elaine to me. I'm not sure but strongly suspect that he was the one that nominated me when I was accepted into the Hall many years ago. Membership is gained by nomination by an existing member and acceptance by the 200+ membership. Ten to twelve new members are brought in each year which is the number necessary to maintain the membership. The process has worked well for 98 years and I am pleased to be a part of it.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Nebraska Hall of Agricultural Achievement

We attended the 98th Annual Nebraska Hall of Agriculture Achievement Banquet this evening at the East Campus Union on the UN-L Campus in Lincoln. Former UN-L President Martin Massengale is pictured here as he paid Tribute to Alan Moeller, one of the Honorees. Moeller was recognized for his many contributions to the Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources during his 36 year career there. Also  recognized was Dr. Stephen Taylor for his impact of food and the food industry. Dr. Taylor has dedicated much of his career to food safety and toxicology and has become one of the world's foremost authorities in the area of sulfite sensitivity and food allergens. Twelve new members were inducted into the Hall this year including some old friends. We sat at a table with Loren Schmit, Dayle Williamson's and Mark Knoble's. It is an opportunity to see many of the people I worked with some years ago. I was inducted into the Hall about 25 years ago and haven't missed many Annual Banquets. Shown at the podium is Alan Moeller, next is MC Roger Wehrbein and his wife, then Dr. Stephen Taylor and his wife. A good time was had by all.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

ATTITUDE by Charles Swindoll

I referred to Charles Swindoll recently in my blog on Dana Snyder who used this "Attitude" message of Swindoll's as a theme for his talk. My sister Janice who lives in California, commented that she uses this as part of the orientation for HS students who work as volunteers at their Merced Hospital. She says it is posted on their Bulletin Board for all to see. She also sent me a copy of Swindoll's message on "Commitment". I must admit that when Dana asked at Kiwanis how many of us were familiar with Swindoll, I didn't raise my hand, though many of our Club did. After a minimal amount of research on the web, I find that he is an evangelical Christian Pastor, author, educator, and radio preacher. He is the Senior Pastor at the Stonebrier Community Church in Frisco, TX. It is interesting that Wikepedia information  indicates that he "overcome a severe stuttering problem" while in HS. I assume Dana was aware of that but didn't mention it. Swindoll does have an ability to "break down" some very important "life shaping" messages into simple, understandable language. And, after all, isn't much of our "character" shaped by a few simple principles or "truths". 

Wednesday, March 26, 2014


We attended the funeral service for long-time friend, Dave Langemeier in Lincoln this morning.  Dave was an Economist with USDA ERS and transferred to SCS soon after we came back to Nebraska and I was working with the Natural Resources Commission. We worked together on several projects as well as with the Lincoln Chapter of the Soil and Water Conservation Society. This even included golf in various locations. Dave was stricken with Pancreatic Cancer and died the day before his 72nd birthday. The number of people participating in his Memorial Service at the Good Sheperd Lutheran Church was testimony to Dave's life. On our way home we drove through the old Nebraska State Fair grounds. This picture still shows the race track and grandstand but that isn't even there anymore. A new building has gone up immediately north of the old 4-H building which is still standing. Only the outer walls are left of the Mercantile Arts Building. The only other landmark still in existence is the "Ice Box" which was the "Show Arena" at one time. We have even seen the Circus in that building. Devany Arena still remains and will continue to be used by the University for Volleyball, etc. It's interesting to see the transition taking place that we call progress, but there are many happy memories that can never be replicated. I won't attempt to relate the loss of a landmark to the loss of a dear friend but the Innovative Campus can take us to a more brighter future, while Pastor Poppe assured us that  Dave was celebrating his birthday in a more glorious place.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Kiwanis Ag Recognition Banquet

Chuck Schroeder was the speaker last night at the 46th annual Kiwanis Ag Recognition Banquet. He has recently accepted the position as the first Executive Director of the University of Nebraska's Rural Futures Institute.  Schroeder came back to Nebraska after serving as Executive Director of the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City. He was also with the National Cattleman's Beef Association , the University of Nebraska Foundation and was the Director of the Nebraska Department of Agriculture. Chuck was with his family's company, the Schroeder Cattle Co., near Palisade for about 30 years, the last 10 as owner and president. He is a graduate of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, where he studied animal science and business and production options. He gave a very stimulating message to the 400 people in attendance as he spoke about Ag Week and the future of the new Institute he is heading. I got to know him quite well some years ago while I was with the NE Natural Resources Commission and he was next door as the State Director of Agriculture. We had a good visit as the party broke up. He will do a great job in this new position that fits  his abilities perfectly. 

Monday, March 24, 2014

Dana E. Snyder

Dana E. Snyder, one of our Seward Kiwanis members gave the program this noon at our weekly meeting. Dana has been retired from the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service for a few years and lives here in Seward. He used some of Charles Swindall's material and spoke on "Attitude". It was an excellent message and program but even more interesting is Dana himself. We first met over 30 years ago in Lincoln, where I was with the Nebraska Natural Resources Commission soon after our coming back from Washington, D.C.  We worked closely with the SCS (my former federal agency and predecessor of NRCS). Dana has a Master's Degree in Civil Engineering and was of help to us in a joint project; however, he had difficulty expressing himself because of stuttering. Some time went by before we crossed paths again and to my amazement, he no longer stuttered. According to Dana, he joined a local Club of Toastmaster's International which helped him overcome the problem. He also became an excellent Motivational Speaker and has traveled widely over the USA conducting training sessions for Toastmaster's Int'l. In addition to his speaking engagements he also provides Soil and Water Conservation Engineering services as an LLC. He is an excellent speaker and his message comes from the heart. I admire him.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

The Music Man

We attended the Seward HS performance of the "Music Man" this afternoon. This is one of the early scenes where Mrs. Paroo (Hayli Frosheiser) is discussing the need for a husband with her daughter Marian, the Librarian (Kayleah  Moravec). The Music man (Kyle Rojewski) has already arrived in River City but the Librarian wants nothing to do with him as he organizes a "Boys Band". The Mayor and the ladies of the town get involved and a lot of excitement is generated by the Music Man who plans to make some money selling band instruments and uniforms and leave town. But you all know the story. In the end, Marian comes to the rescue of the Music Man to keep him from being tar & feathered and the boys do have a "Band". All of the kids did an excellent job of portraying their characters. Kayleah has an excellent voice and Kyle was outstanding in his role as the Music Man. Their final song was most touching. Leslie Stratton, the Director, just continues to develop talent year after year. She helps do for us what the Music Man did for River City. I must admit a bit of family history and tell that Kayleah's Great Great Grandmother and my Grandmother were sisters.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Maytag Gas/Oil Can

There was an Auction at the Seward Ag Building today that contained some of the largest collections of various items that I have ever seen.  I understand the collection was from people in Lincoln who spent years collecting many things. Their son and his wife were there and worked with the Underwood Auction people conducting the sale with 2 rings. There were thousands of wooden yardsticks, many, many egg beaters, rolling pins, hammers, ice picks, ice cream scoops, shoe horns, scrapbooks, books, phonograph records, various hand tools, etc. Carolyn came down and joined me to watch things sell. She got a few bargains and as we watched things sell at one table I spotted a Maytag Gas/Oil Can like we had when I was a kid. I hadn't seen one for years and remembered how Mother would put in a small container of Maytag oil and then add gas up to the marker for the proper mix. The curved spout was just right for pouring into the engine's fuel tank. When the Auctioneers were about to reach the box that included the can, the son of the people whose stuff was being sold, asked the ring man to pull the can and sell it in his presence. I got in a couple bids before realizing that he was going to buy it. Carolyn even bid a couple times hoping to get it for me before I was able to tell her what was going on. He was able to "keep it in the family", and I'm sure it means more to him than to me. But, it did bring back many memories and I was proud of Carolyn's willingness to buy it for me even if it didn't work out. I have found that they are available on eBay and that is where I got this picture.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Exercise bike and March Madness

I commented at coffee one morning that riding my exercise bike caused a "click" in my left knee. It is the knee that was hurt sliding into 2nd base years ago and resulted in a cartridge being removed. After extensive home "weight lifting" therapy, it served me well.  I walked thousands of miles while a technician with the USDA Soil Conservation Service, as well as hunting, playing golf, etc.  One of my coffee friends asked about how I had the seat set on my exercise bike and I said it was set down low so it was easier for Elaine and I to get on. He suggested that I raise it to where my leg would be straighted out like we always set our riding bicycle seats. I did that and found that it makes a difference. I rode quite a bit today to lessen the frustration of Duke getting beat by Mercer and Baylor beating Nebraska.  I was pleased with Creighton's showing and look to their playing Arizona in the Elite 8. I was more disappointed with Nebraska's showing than surprised at their loss. We are watching Wichita State pull away from Cal Poly and wonder if we haven't overlooked the importance of players being on the same team for a number of years. I understand that the 5 Mercer seniors were the starting team for all 35 of their victories this season. While you can't criticize the top recruits who play a couple years and get a couple million dollars or more for turning pro, I wonder if it's the best way to develop winning teams. Maybe it's a way of "leveling the field" between the Elite basketball schools like Duke and the others. 

Thursday, March 20, 2014

St. Patrick's Decor at Cy's Cafe

Elaine and I went past the farm where she grew up and drove country roads to have lunch today at  Cy's Cafe in Dwight,  NE. It was a great lunch of Swiss Steak with mashed potatoes & gravy, corn, and tossed salad.   St. Patrick's Day decorations were still in evidence, and I couldn't resist trying on a hat. Small town eating places like this are also social centers. We visited with people who knew many of the same folks we knew years ago and got an update on their status. They remembered hearing their folks talk about some of the things that I mentioned. We drove past the East Butler HS, Catholic Church, Ted Kooser's Poetry Office and other points of interest. It was a great outing and one of these days we need to take brother Don and Gladys and go back again. I would even like to "check out" a watershed dam nearby where I was the construction inspector years ago. 

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Tracks in the Snow

We awoke this morning to about 1/2 inch of snow on the ground. Our bird feeder in the back yard is about 10 feet from our kitchen windows. Some of the seeds that are put in the feeder are scatter under it by the birds as they feed. There are as many "bottom feeders" as actually eat from the feeder. Elaine noticed some of the unusual tracks that were around the bottom of the feeder. In addition to the bird tracks, these also appeared. In the past we have had the Police Department set live traps in the back yard when they caught Raccoons, Opossum, and Cats. We may have to do that again but are curious of what we may have under the deck or in the neighborhood. We have storm sewer inlets at the street intersection less than half a block away. It seems to be the super highway for varmints. I also took a picture of tracks on our deck.
There is no question as to these being rabbit tracks. There is an "Old Wives Tale" that the date in the fall when we get our first snowfall will indicate the number of snows that we will receive during the winter. The criteria for counting a snowfall is the amount necessary to track a rabbit. Last night's snow was definitely a counter. The proponents of the old adage have been known to write some of the questionable light snows on their calendars in pencil. There are usually 3-4 questionable snows each winter which can be used as necessary to "confirm" the accuracy of the prediction.  "Old wives" were pretty ingenious

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Continuation of Turner Ancestry

This is the Guthman memorial tower at the Greenwood Cemetery that I referred to yesterday in "Homage to my Irish Ancestry". The Turner tombstone is shown in the foreground with Christopher's Civil War star visible at the very bottom of the picture. Many of Seward's earlier settlers are buried here with interesting monuments. The Guthman tower was a gift and remodeled quite recently. It can now be played by remote control with chimes making beautiful music that can be heard all over the north part of town. It carries well over to the golf course and the Methodist church where I go to Kitone practice (as well as church) is near by. The tower has been an attraction for Turkey Vulchers. Some of the neighbors objected to them but environmental interest prevailed and they were not frightened away nor destroyed.

This is also the same house that I showed a picture of yesterday that was taken in 1907. It included my Mother as a little girl. The  house has always been well maintained but a couple years ago it was updated with new windows, roof, siding and front porch. I mentioned in yesterday's blog that the Christopher Turner's built the house and that all of their eight Children were born here. That would take the date of the houses original construction back to around 1880. It must be one of the oldest houses in Seward. 

Monday, March 17, 2014

Homage to my Irish Ancestry

When I got home from our Corn Beef and Cabbage dinner at Kiwanis, we went up to the Turner graves to pay homage to my Irish ancestry.Their "Turner" tombstone is very near the main entrance to the Greenwood cemetery on 2nd street. The Civil War Veteran star is shown next to Christopher's marker and Matilda's is to the left. Christopher was born in northern Ireland on September 1834 and immigrated to the United States in 1851. He settled in Cass County, Illinois and was involved in farming. At the age of 28 he joined the 99th Illinois Infantry to support the Union Army in the Civil War. The 99th was very prominent in the Vicksburg battles and are recognized in the Illinois monument at the Vicksburg National Battlefield. We have a picture of me pointing to a bronze tablet showing Pvt Christopher Turner's name in the monument. He went back to farming in Illinois after the war and 
 came to Nebraska in 1873. Matilda Robinson was born May 12, 1857 in Tyrone, Ireland and came with her parents to Cass County, Illinois in 1858. She moved to Seward in 1876 and married Christopher on October 1878. They built and lived in a house at 348 North 2nd St in Seward where all eight of their children were born. The oldest, a daughter Anna Alice married William H. Walker and were the parents of Florence,  my Mother .
Christopher worked as a bricklayer in Seward and died November 20, 1905. This is a picture of their home with Great Grandma Matilda seated and my Mother, a 7-year old looking away from the camera. Mary Watgen is standing behind Matilda and Mattie standing beside them. Mother's brother Bert is sitting on the porch and George Turner is on the Donkey. Two of Chris and Matilda's sons  (Tom & Fred) and daughter Mattie never married and they along with Matilda moved to a farm a couple miles south of Seward.  Matilda  died July 15, 1930  and while I have only faint memories of her, I do remember the farm where they lived.  I have always been proud of my Irish heritage and feel like a lot of it did get passed on through my Grandmother Anna and Mother Florence. It has blended well with my Czech heritage on my Dad's side of the family where both of his parents came over from Czechoslovikia. Is this a mixing pot or what?

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Nebraska and Creighton in NCAA at San Antonio

How about Nebraska and Creighton in the same bracket for their first games in San Antonio, TX. The Huskers will take on Baylor and Creighton will play Louisiana Tech in the Friday game. If they both win, they will play each other where one of them will advance to the Sweet 16. Neither Nebraska nor Creighton looked real good in their losses of conference tournament games. ESPN interviewed Doug McDermott during the Bracketology program and asked about the Sports Illustrated Magazine cover story. After the Ohio State game, it seemed that maybe it jinxed him like it has others pictured. 

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Bob's Barber Shop

I got my hair cut at Bob's Barber Shop yesterday and am very pleased with the result. It brought back memories of his shop from years back. Jess, at another shop has cut my hair for the past several years but she is on maternity leave so it was necessary to find an alternative. I quit Bob's shop years ago after a bad experience but am glad to be back. He has been in the shop since 1976 when he took over for Mart Mailand. I remember of Mart cutting my hair there a couple times when we were back from Washington. I was about 16 years old when Mart  was in a smaller shop and cut my hair for the first time. It was after I had worked on Highway construction and was able to pay for a haircut. Mother always cut my hair prior to that time and I'm sure, many times after that. I believe that first haircut cost 35 or 50 cents.  Mart's son tells me that when haircuts went up to $1.00, he was concerned it would end the "Barber Business" and now Bob's price is $14.00. (Which is still less than Jess.) That is some measure of the inflation we have experienced during the past 50-60 years. 

Friday, March 14, 2014

Stocks Drop

The Nebraska Men's basketball team's stock dropped today with their 71-67 loss to Ohio State in the Big 10 tournament in Indianapolis. We trailed during the first 19 minutes and took the lead just before the half. During the opening minutes of the 2nd half the Huskers lead 48-30. I might have jinxed them by mentioning to Elaine that it was hard to believe they could build an 18 point lead that quickly. It took until the last couple minutes for OS to take the lead but they went on to win despite desperate efforts by Tim Miles and the Huskers to save it. I'm afraid Nebraska's stock went down in the 2nd half just about like the DOW did after 12pm. 

Thursday, March 13, 2014

March Madness a little early

We are having enough of this weather that makes me think maybe the "Ground Hog" was wrong. It feels like spring is here. I even took a "weighted" golf club driver out on the deck this evening and got in a few swings. The long range forecast doesn't show the bad weather for this weekend that usually comes along with the end of the HS Boys State basketball tournament. Our Seward boys were beat out in the District meet by York who beat Pius today in the first round of the State. 
Creighton just beat De Paul 84-62 in the quarter-finals of the Big East tournament in Madison Square Garden in NY City. Doug McDermott had 35 points. I got my Sports Illustrated magazine today with McDermott on the cover. It has a 7 page story inside. I have already given away the swimsuit issue but I'm going to keep this one. 

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Janice and Mark

Sister Janice commented on yesterday's blog that she and her son Mark had visited our house back in the Washington, D.C. area where we lived some years ago. This picture was taken during that visit on May 4, 1977. Mark was part of a school Safety Patrol group and Janice was a counselor for them. We met them for lunch at Smithsonian, took them home with us after work and for supper and then took them back down to their hotel. In checking my Diary, I found that my notes were very brief. My job was very demanding during those years with very little time to write about it. It's always interesting looking at old pictures like this. 
It seemed like very few years between the time these pictures were taken and I rode around with Deputy Sheriff Mark one afternoon while he was on duty out in California. Some of the things in the background of pictures also take on added significance as time goes on. The little cast iron stove showing on the mantle between Elaine and Janice is something that Great Granddaughter Sadie played with at our house a few days ago. The other wall hangings are still very much a part of our decor.  It's been nearly 37 years and most of use haven't held our age as well as the little stove. But if God had intended us to stay the same, he probably would have caused us to be "stoves" instead of his "children". 

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

3515 Laurel Leaf Lane

This is the last of the 3 homes that we had in the Washington, D. C. area during our 18 years back there. This 5 bedroom, 4 bath house was our home for only 4 years, and we certainly enjoyed it. It was located in the Mantua area of Fairfax County just outside the beltway. We built a big deck with double glass doors off the Dining room on the back side of the house where we enjoyed the big tree-covered back yard. We planted many Azaleas and other shrubs to enhace the native beauty of the trees. The southern edge of the property is just beyond the right edge of the picture. An old air photo shows a wagon trail that led from downtown D. C. out to the Manassas battlefield that went along the south edge of this property. An old Civil War story tells of many people riding out on a Sunday afternoon to see what they thought would just be a local "uprising" and didn't suspect that it would lead to the Civil War.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Carolyn & Tim

 Here are a couple nice looking Wakefield High School students in Arlington, VA a few years ago. Their other 2 brothers were probably involved in some other activity and missed getting included in the picture. It was probably about this time that Tim had the privilege of taking the Volkswagen and going on a date. He stopped at Eudy's filling station a couple blocks from where we lived and ask the attendant to put in $5.00 worth of gas. The attendant laughed at him and asked where he wanted them to put it. In those days gas was about 35cents/gal. and the tank only held about 12 gallons. How times have changed. We filled our Buick up this afternoon at $3.43/gal and it took $37.00 and it wasn't down very low. I suspect Tim might have had something else on his mind that evening.
Carolyn came down to visit last evening and reported on some of Sadie's activities. The years go by very quickly from the time of being a cute teenager to being an attractive  Grandmother. She always brightens our day.
Tim called last night after Nebraska men's 77-68 Big 10 victory over Wisconsin. It was a "stand up crowd" of 16,000 people in the new Pinnacle Bank Arena in Lincoln. We also talked about the Nebraska women's 72-65 victory over Iowa during the afternoon to win the Big 10 Tournament. We talked about a few other things but basketball was the big topic. I'm looking forward to telling him about Shane, the President of our Kiwanis Clubs' relationship with Doug McDermott. It seems that Shane and his family lived in Wayne, NE near the McDermott's when Doug's Dad was coaching at Wayne State College. Shane tells of having served as a baby-sitter for Doug when he was a little guy. It appears that he has "turned out" pretty well as have the two teenagers in the picture.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Big 10 Women's Basketball Tournament Champs

 Rachel Theriot scored 19 of her 24 points in the second half Sunday, leading No. 16 Nebraska past No. 23 Iowa 72-65 for the Big Ten tournament title.
It's the first time the Cornhuskers (25-6) have ever won a conference tourney crown, clinching the league's automatic NCAA tournament bid. Nebraska also posted its second straight 25-win season and is tied for the second most victories in school history. The Cornhuskers head into the postseason with plenty of momentum after winning 12 of 13.
Iowa (26-8) was led by Ally Disterhoft with 20 points and Samantha Logic with 14 but had a six-game winning streak snapped.
Nebraska never trailed, though Iowa closed to 57-56 with 7:43 to play. Theriot, the tourney's most outstanding player, helped Nebraska pull away with an 8-3 run. She is shown here between Emily Cady and Jordon Hooper. 

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Old Times - Old Friends

Between several Nebraska Girls HS basketball State Championship games today, I found time to add some pictures to the "Elaine" slide show which I worked on recently. This one was taken the summer before Elaine and her classmates graduated from Seward HS. It was taken out at the farm where Elaine grew-up and includes Vernon, Jean, Elaine and Skip (Walter).  Elaine says, "this was taken west of the flower garden out on the farm.  The day consisted of horseback riding and fishing in Plum Creek". It sounds to me like a "good time was had by all". 
In addition to watching the Nebraska HS girls Championship games, we also just finished watching the Nebraska UN-L girls beat Michigan State 86-58 in the semi-finals of the Big Ten Tournament in Indianapolis. Nebraska will play Iowa tomorrow for the League Championship-something that Nebraska has never won. The Nebraska girls games are most interesting to me after having watched Junior Emily Cady and Freshman Hanna Tvrdy play their HS games with Seward. Emily has really been a "stalwart" on the team. It was mentioned tonight that she and Big Ten player of the Year, Jordon Hooper started their 97 consecutive game for Nebraska tonight.  

Friday, March 7, 2014

Income Tax

This picture was taken last Sunday evening. It was the day that we had a March record low/high temperature of 5 degrees in Lincoln . I worked most of the afternoon today on income tax and my brain probably looks a lot like the picture. We have a date set to meet with our Accountant on it so the pressure is on to get it ready. Our return isn't that complicated but it's still a stressful and demanding choir. We have consolidated our investments but one of these years we may just put it all in a box and take it to the Accountant. 
For relaxation this evening we are watching the Nebraska Girls lead Minnesota 37-35 at the half of the Big 10 Tournament in Indianapolis. At one time Nebraska had a 9-point lead but a long 3 by Rachel Banham brought the Gophers to within 2 at the buzzer. It is a great game and has taken my mind off the Income Tax plus Elaine just brought me a freshly baked and buttered cupcake. 

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Sandhills Cranes in Nebraska

The Seward Magazine Club meets this evening and I plan to report on an article from the March Smithsonian Magazine on the Sandhills Cranes. Cranes are among the planet's most successful life-forms, having outlasted millions of species (99 percent of species that ever existed are now extinct). They have been around for over 30 million years. Each spring some 500,000 Sandhills Cranes spend about 6-7 weeks along the Platte River in Central Nebraska on their migration from the winter grounds in Texas to their summer area in Canada. While in Nebraska they scrounge the harvested corn fields for food that enables them to add 20% to their weight. It is here that they do their mating dance and prepare for their trip to Canada where the chicks are hatched. According to the Audubon Society's  Rowe Sanctuary in Gibbon there were over 70,000 viewers last year from every State in the Union and from 47 Foreign Countries. Nebraska has many unique natural attractions, but this is certainly among the most popular. While the migration has gone on for eons of time, it wasn't until the recent 20-30 years that the Platte River Crane Habitat Trust was established and the Rowe Sanctuary was built. Micheal Forsberg, a local, nationally recognized wildlife photographer has done a great deal to publicize the migration. Seeing the Sandhills Cranes here in Nebraska is probably on more peoples Bucket List than anything else in the state.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

The True Story of Smokey Bear

The "True Story of Smokey Bear" has some special memories for our family. Elaine worked in the Timber Management Division of the Forest Service at their National Headquarters in Washington, D.C. during the late 60' & '70's. Rudy Wendelin was the FS illustrator who "humanized" the bear and made him the protectorate of all forest. Jim Allen who worked in the same Division as Elaine, was among the group that rescued the little black bear from a forest fire in New Mexico. He was nursed  back to health and brought to the National Zoo in Washington, D.C.. Smokey lived for several years in the Zoo as a major attraction. The Zoo and Smokey were always a stop when we had friends visiting. Mr. Allen confirmed that the 20 page "comic book" publication is accurate in telling the story. Elaine and Rudy's offices were close together  and became good friends. I was able to get him do a "pen & ink" drawing of "Smokey's Head" for a paper I wrote for a class at GWU. As I remember, I got a B on the paper but the instructor gave an A++ to Rudy for his drawing on the report's cover. I listed the "True Story of Smokey..." on eBay this afternoon at a very reasonable price. We have sold a considerable amount of the memorabelia that Elaine collected while working there which seems to be in demand.  Hopefully, it will make some parents more aware of the background of Smokey and will make some little kids happy as their parents read them the story.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Son Tim's Birthday

This is my 5-year Daily Diary opened to the March 4 date of son Timothy James's birth. It is the lowest of the 5 year entries and is as follows: "Took Elaine to the Hospital at 5:00am. At 7:53 we had an 8 lb. 13 oz. baby boy. Very cold. I tried to take Verlon out to Flowerday's but the road was blocked so took him out to my folks. Visited Elaine and told her about Timmy. With her from 1-3:00pm and 7 - 8:30. I stayed overnight at my folks." What I didn't write was that when I went out to get the car warmed up, it wouldn't start. I took a kettle of hot water out and sat it on the engine and a few minutes later it started. Meanwhile, I gave thought to loading her on our sled and pulling her up the hill on  the snow covered streets to the hospital. There might have been a prayer or two that also helped to get the old Chevy running and Elaine to the hospital in time. Verlon was about 18 1/2 months old when Timmy was born. He stayed out at my folks for several days. When we brought Elaine and Timmy  home on the 10th, he said "How-do-do" to Tim. The Seward HS basketball boys went to the State Tournament a few days later and as I watched them play, I wondered if just maybe in about 16 years there might be a couple brothers on the team. 

Monday, March 3, 2014

Senator Greg Adams

We had a great program at Kiwanis today. It was Senator Greg Adams, Speaker of the Nebraska Unicameral and our Seward and York County representative. Charles Lieske, Director of the Seward Area Chamber of Commerce and Chamber members joined Kiwanis for the meeting. We are approaching the mid point of this years 60-day session and the Senator discussed many of the pending issues. Nebraska is very unique not only with our non-partisan Unicameral Legislature but also in the very democratic way in which it operates. Senator Adams is one of 17 of the body's 49 legislators what will be term limited out after this year. When asked his reaction to the relatively new, 2 consecutive, 4year term limitation, he expressed his support for limitations but felt that 3 terms may be more appropriate. He cited examples of historic legislation that took several years to fine tune and develop support. I have know Senator Adams  for many years through the Nebraska League of Municipalities meetings. We often attended the same sessions when he was Mayor of York and I was on the Seward City Council. He brought his experience as a school teacher, superintendent of York Public Schools and Mayor to the legislature which helped move him into his leadership position. He has served our District and the State of Nebraska commendably and his leadership will be missed. I wish he had those 4 more years. 

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Carolyn and the "Guys"

We had moved to our Big House on N. 5th Street here in Seward and Carolyn was about the age that Her Granddaughter Sadie is now.  Carolyn is very fortunate in having Sadie along with her parents, right here is town where they can spend time together. We too are so appreciative of them being here. While we maintain a lot of communication with the boys in Virginia and Indiana, we only get to see them and their families about once a year. Carolyn was down today to help me with a computer problem. She was able to show me something in I-photo that opens up a whole new way of doing some things. Like most computer "tricks", everything is so simple once you stumble on it or someone shows you how to do it.  Having someone close by to help is invaluable. Thanks Carolyn.
It's always great to see you walking in our direction.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Oral History of Nebraska NRDs

This is a map of the Nebraska Natural Resource Districts. They are successors to Soil Conservation Districts as well as other natural resource related districts. They have been in existence since 1972 and are loosely based on hydrologic boundaries. The NRDs have taxing authority and have been assigned many additional responsibilities since their formation. An effort is 
underway to prepare an Oral History of their formation. I was interviewed last summer for the project and the conversation recorded. A copy of that interview was in our mornings mail and reading it was a most humbling experience. I have read some of my verbatim transcripts before but don't recall as much "rambling", "incomplete sentences", "misuse of words", "straying from the subject" and just plain "errors" as I made in this one. I know that an Oral History is supposed to reflect how a person may express themselves; but, I wouldn't want a historic document to demonstrate the way I talked, even if I did.