Sunday, November 30, 2014

Seward"s Christmas Parade

Elaine and I had "front row" seats for the Seward Chamber of Commerce Christmas Parade last evening. The staging area for the parade is the streets to the north of our house but they are in full "Parade form" as they pass our house on 1st Street and turn to go through the downtown business district and beyond, on Seward Street. Seward began having the Christmas Parade just a few years ago when several floats were available from the City of Lincoln that discontinued their parade. Charles Lieske, Executive Director of the 
Chamber has provided leadership for the parade since its coming to Seward. Gary Rolf has spent many hours, along with others, in doing repairs, obtaining storage and helping make the parade possible. The Parade last night was the most enjoyable of all. The weather was perfect with a beautiful red sunset following afternoon record breaking temperatures that hit 80 degrees. Elaine and I sat on lawn chairs on our driveway and enjoyed every entry. Where else could you go to a Parade and have Santa Clause call out our first names and wish us a Merry Christmas. Thanks to everyone who made this half-hour parade so enjoyable.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Richard M. Pitsch, M.D.

We attended a service "Celebrating the Life of Richard M. Pitsch, M.D." this morning at the Zabka funeral home here in Seward. Dr. Pitsch was our family Doctor back in the '50's when our children were youngsters. He continued to be our Doctor during the 4 years we lived in Lincoln after moving there from Seward in 1958. Elaine could even tell a story about her coming out from Lincoln to have him perform an appendectomy on her during those years. One off my stories involves all 4 of our youngsters who were along with Elaine and I at the Clinic for Polio shots in the mid-50's. After getting the shots, Elaine asked Dr. Pitch if he might be able to remove a wart on her finger. He got out his electrolysis instrument and went to work on Elaine while the 4 Kids and I watched with anticipation. As it began to smoke a bit, the Kids started to tear up and could tell that it was hurting "Mommy". To help them accept what was happening, I told them that the Doctor had deadened the feeling in her finger and it really didn't hurt. When he was finished with Elaine, he asked if I had any warts. I admitted that "Yes, I had one on my left hand ring finger since being a little boy. Well, he invited me to have it removed so I changed chairs with Elaine. With the first "blast" of electricity, I let out a Geeeezzzzze!!!!! that could have been heard across the street. Who says Doctors don't have a sense of humor. He got a good laugh out of that. He also helped us through some very serious times, and we will be forever grateful for all of his services. After returning to Seward from Virginia, he was again our Doctor for a number of years, we attended the Presbyterian Church together and after retirement, drank morning coffee in the same group for a number of years. He was not only a good Doctor but also a dear friend. 

Friday, November 28, 2014

Sadie Elizabeth at age Two

This is our Great Granddaughter Sadie at the time of her 2nd Birthday this past August. It was taken by Allyson Garrett, a professional photographer who did an excellent job of capturing her many moods and expressions. Sadie continues to grow in many ways. We were with her and family for some time yesterday, on Thanksgiving Day, and she was very astute in helping her Grandmother put the finishing touches on the Acorn Squash. She has been an interesting case study in addition to just being a joy to be around. Somehow with our own kids, we were so busy with jobs and all the necessary chores, that we just didn't take time to realize what was really going on in their little minds and bodies. Granddaughter Julie was a great joy to us while spending a considerable amount of her childhood with us. (We even referred to her as our 5th kid at times) And, we were much more cognizant of her development than that of our other four. Now with Sadie, we are completely fascinated. It's not only that she already knows many words and what they mean, but that she has a very active mind that goes far beyond the things she verbalizes. Maybe all kids are getting smarter these days but to us, she is pretty special. Hopefully, living up to her eventual potential will not become a burden and that she can always be as happy as is reflected in this picture.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Thanksgiving 2014

We began our Thanksgiving celebration by going to an impressive Ecumenical Service at the Methodist Church last evening. This morning's Lincoln and Omaha newspapers included some 7 pounds of advertisements which are in the recycling bin. We enjoyed part of the Macy Holiday Parade from NY City. The floats get more fantastic every year. Then we took Home Delivered Meals to several people who are living alone and are younger than me. (That alone makes one very Thankful). Then we went to Owenses where we joined Carolyn and Ben in having Dinner with John, Julie, Sadie and Jack. Ben has a long standing record of furnishing and carving the Turkey.
Jack slept through our Dinner but awakened soon after and was ready for Great Grandmother to hold the bottle for him. Julie says he's getting to be a good "nurser" but also enjoys the breast milk from a bottle. And, as the picture shows, Elaine enjoys holding it for him. Tomorrow will be his 1-Month birthday. He has helped us to realize what a "big girl" Sadie has become. She not only says many words but uses them to express her "wants" and "opinion". (Do you suppose she has that Vrana gene). We enjoyed contact with several others in the family during the afternoon and have enjoyed the Celtic Thunder Christmas program this evening. Brother Don and I exchanged comments on Dad repairing Don's coaster wagon that took place on Thanksgiving Day in 1940. We are all very Thankful for our Many Blessings.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Ecumenical Thanksgiving Service

We participated in the Ecumenical Service at our United Methodist Church this evening involving St Andrew's Episcopal and Mother Helen Goldtl, Faith Lutheran and Pastor Rob Corum; Friedens UCC and Rev. Al Smith and Rev. Dale Lambert from UMC. A Community Choir sang an "Anthem of Thanksgiving" directed by Cindy Mavis and accompanied by Pam McConnell.  Mother Helen and each of the Pastors offered their personal "Thanksgiving Reflections". Mother Helen spoke of the needs for Churches to "step up" to help heal the hate that exist in Ferguson, MO and elsewhere. She used a quote that "Grief is what is in your Heart, but that Grievance is a Chip on Your Shoulder". Pastor Corum spoke of relationship with the Pilgrims and of God's generosity; Rev. Smith who has had some health problems, spoke of God as a "Healing God"; and, Rev. Lambert talked of the "compression" of the Holidays which tend to diminish the Thanksgiving spirit but that Democracy in some ways is "messy" but this service was an example of our being of "One Body of Christ" though we may have administrative differences. The Service concluded with communion with choices of wine or grape juice as well as regular or glutton-free bread.  Social Hour followed with Coffee and Cookies. It was a very nice Service that reminded us  how much we have for which to be Thankful. 

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Fall Yard Cleanup

With the sun shining, the temperature in the upper 40's and rain and colder weather forecast for tomorrow, we worked on the leaves in our front yard after lunch. The leaves have really come down during the cold and snowy weather of the past couple weeks. In cleaning them up, we followed our usual procedure of blowing and raking them out into an open area and then "chopping" them up with the grass catcher off so the mower works like a mulcher. I then put the catcher on and go over the area again, doing more   chopping and picking them up. We dump them on an opened burlap bag which is the easiest way to carry them to the back yard and put them on this compost pile. We have a second pile like this and rotate between the two. What you see is about a 3 year accumulation of all the grass and leaf trimmings that we have removed from the yard. The second pile has matured compost and is older. Both are located next to the back yard fence and hidden from view by Lilac, Wigelia, and other shrubs. We haven't had any grass clippings nor leaves taken away from our place for the past 20 years. While there is work involved, it is easier then raking leaves and putting them in paper bags as some of our neighbors do; plus it's more Green to be recycling. Now we still have the back yard to do and don't have kids coming home from college to help as they did when we were back on Ridge Road. 

Monday, November 24, 2014

Rural Futures Institute in Nebraska

Chuck Schroeder, Director of the Rural Futures Institute at the University of Nebraska provided the program for our Kiwanis meeting this noon. I have known Chuck since the 1980's when he was  Director of the State Department of Agriculture and I worked in an adjoining Office with the Nebraska Natural Resources Commission. The RFI was established a year ago and Chuck was brought back to Nebraska within the past year to serve as its Founding Executive Director. He grew up on a livestock ranch in southwestern Nebraska, received a degree in Animal Husbandry from UN-L and served for some years as Director of the Cowboy Hall of Fame in Oklahoma City. Chuck is a very dynamic speaker and is a perfect fit to provide leadership for the Institutes's mission of serving as a catalyst in building a network of partnerships that will "collaboratively draw upon available resources to prepare rural individuals and communities to meet these challenges and embrace opportunities of the future".

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Franklin Printing Set on eBay

This is a printer set that includes little rubber letters and a stamp holder that enables one to select the name or message to be "loaded" on the rubber stamp. It can then be inked on the stamp pad and used to print the message repeatedly. Rubber stamps were very useful items in Banks and other businesses. I recall seeing "tree holders" that held a variety of messages that were used to stamp such things as "Paid", the date, High priority, etc. I had a set similar to this when I was a youngster and enjoyed using it to "Print" my name on homework and other places. I'm not sure where this one came from but like a lot of our "stuff", it probably came in a big box that we bought at an Auction. I put it on eBay this afternoon along with a few other items. Hopefully, it may make someone an interesting Christmas present and reduce our inventory. I also listed some "Smokey Bear" items that usually sell good. EBay and Pay Pal have the system organized to where it is comparatively simple to sell or buy. It's not like you are dealing in real money but just numbers, until you have to pay the Post Office for the postage. 

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Jon's Birthday

I went to a Schweitzer Auction for some folks from Raymond, NE down at the 4-H building this morning. They always do a great job of getting items pictured on their web-site well ahead of the sale date so looked forward to it. This is just an example of the many "collections" up for auction. In addition to these meat grinders, there were also very impressive collections of lamps, clocks, sports cards, depression glass, vases, dishes, etc. I have no idea how some of the things like these grinders might have sold but the glassware was selling very well (in my opinion). They took nothing other than $2.50 bids so it only took a couple people wanting something to get to $15.00
I came home early from the auction for the 11:00am Nebraska-Minnesota football game. It was shocking to see the early injuries  but the final score with Nebraska on the short end of a 28-24 final even more shocking. I didn't dwell on it very long before pulling out my old 1953-'58 Diary and checking on son Jon's arrival on this date. We had been to a Sunday family dinner the day before where Elaine didn't feel very well. We went to the hospital at 4:00 the next morning and by 8:22am, we had a 7lb. 10oz. boy. Elaine was in the hospital for 5 days and the bill was $70.00. Elaine & Jon spent the next several days at her folks and the other kids spent time with my folks as well as with her. Jon called tonight from Virginia and we had a good visit. 

Friday, November 21, 2014

Rapid Robert Feller Museum

This picture was taken in the Bob Feller Museum at Van Meter, IA when Elaine, Brother Don and Gladys stopped there on our way home from Tomah, WI. This morning's Omaha World-Herald carried a story on the Museum being converted to the Van Meter City Hall. It is a striking example of "fleeting fame".  Feller was an "All Star" pitcher for the Cleveland Indians back in the glory years of Major League Baseball. He gained National attention as a 17-year old HS student in 1936 when he made his Major League debut.  In 1938 he set a record of striking out 18 in a 9- inning game. He pitched the first of his 3 no-hitters on opening day in 1940, the year he won 27 games. His career was interrupted by over 4 years of service in the U.S.Navy during WWII for which he was awarded 8 battle stars. He resumed his career with the Indians in '46, retired after the '56 season having led the league in strikeouts 7 times; and,  was voted into the Hall of Fame on his first ballot in 1962. His architect son Stephen, designed the Museum in their home town where Bob had grown up on a 360 Ac. family farm. The Museum opened on June 10, 1995 and was visited frequently by Bob, family members, celebrities and sports fans. However, following Bob's death from Leukemia on 12/15/10 at the age of 92, visitors dropped off dramatically and it was closed earlier this year. Some of the memorabilia will remain in the building following its transfer to the city and other provided to the Cleveland Indians Charity. 

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Owens Youngsters

We got out to visit the Owens family this morning and Elaine finished feeding Jack. He surprised us with how he had grown since we saw him a week or so ago. Julie says he typically wakes up twice during the night and expects to be fed. Some of us "older" people also get up a couple times during the night but she says the feeding takes quite a bit longer than going to the bathroom. She is looking and feeling better every time we see her. Carolyn spends a lot of time helping with everything while John is at work. Even at 3-weeks Jack appears to be of a much different personality than Sadie. He seems to be of a much lighter  complexion and a lot quieter in his disposition but he's still young. 
Sadie continues to learn and do new things. She and Grandma Carolyn do a lot of food preparation.  I was surprised to see her take a egg out of the carton, crack it open on the counter top, put it in the glass dish and stir it for a scrambled egg. I was a pretty big guy before I even tried to crack an egg, and when I did, it seems that some egg shell ended up in the skillet. She has a toy that will sing a song when a certain button is pushed. It is one of her favorites because she can sing right along with it. They have a bird feeder just outside their living room window which she enjoys watching. Elaine mentioned to her that we had a Red Breasted Woodpecker on one of our trees the other day. I don't think she was familiar with the word but enjoyed walking around saying "Woodpecker", 'Woodpecker" just as well as anyone could say it. Her mind works like a fly trap and anything she hears "sticks to it". 

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Grandfather Walker

This picture of the Seward County (NE) Courthouse and Civil War statue is from a postcard which I've sold on eBay. It was  taken some years ago judging by the size of the tree and a few other "landmarks". The flagpole was taken off the top of the dome because of damage to the structure and the landscape plantings have been replaced. For some years our Soil Conservation Office was in the area with the two lower windows to the left of the statue. My desk was in front of the furthest left one. Among my memories are of watching my Grandfather Walker walk along the sidewalk toward his home a couple blocks away. He would spend every afternoon with his card playing friends in a neighborhood tavern and walk past with his cane about 4:30pm. On one occasion, my boss asked if I noticed that old man who walked by on a regular schedule. He was  surprised when I told him that it was my Grandfather. While we would visit the Grandparents occasionally and had many demands on our time with job, family, etc.; the thought never occurred to me that I could have slipped out and told Grandpa how I enjoyed seeing him walk by and of the many happy memories he brought to mind of staying with them when I was a youngster. He died within the next year without my ever having expressed my feelings--I hope he understood. 

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

CNB & T Ag Appreciation Dinner

Jeff Kurrus, wildlife photographer and writer for the Nebraskaland Magazine provided the program for the Cattle National Bank and Trust Farmer Appreciation Dinner this evening. Kurrus calls himself a "non-native native" of the State after coming here 8 years ago from Tennessee. He has teamed up with Michael Forsberg in writing two Children's books on wildlife. Forsberg was the speaker at the event last year. Kurrus is more concerned with the story and Forsberg the picture.

Kurrus is shown here with Brad Wagner, CNB & T Ag Loan Officer who MC'd the evenings activities. He has just drawn out Ryan Ihde's name as the winner of 2 tickets to the Nebraska - Minnesota football game in Lincoln on Saturday. It was a great evening. A Smoked Pork Chop dinner was catered by Pack n Sav for the large crowd of Ag customers and others. We had occasion to visit with many friends. Even the pleasure of introducing some folks who knew of each other but had never met. We had some interesting discussion after the program was over about the practice of planting cover crops into early harvested  corn fields to add to the "pasturing" of cow-calf herds. Spring calves come off as 900 pounders ready for the feedlot. 

Monday, November 17, 2014

Florence and Tony

This is my Mother and Dad on Christmas Day 1997 when they had driven down to our house for Dinner. I came across the picture this afternoon while going through some things and realized they were about the age then that I am now. They were both gone within 3 years but at this time and for some time following, they enjoyed life & the independence of their own home. They enjoyed their extended family, friends and neighbors right up to the end. Church and related activities were a major part of their social life. They lived in a very nice neighborhood where everyone took pride in their homes and yards. 
After KiTone practice I visited with a neighbor who sings with us and  lived next door to them for several years. He told of Mother bringing over fresh cupcakes as they were moving in and how much pride Dad always had in his yard. He also said they spent a lot of time setting out on their front "porch" enjoying the neighborhood. I have told him earlier how much the folks enjoyed them and their other neighbors. Dad always spoke of him as the Professor. (PhD at Concordia).  While I always recognized my folks as models for many things, it wasn't until I approached their age that I realize they were also a model for advanced years.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Clarence and I Cutting Hedge Posts

This picture was taken in March  of 1951. Clarence Schmidt, with whom I worked with the Soil Conservation Service and I agreed with Lee Jeffreys  to trim up this half mile row of Osage Orange (Hedge) trees that he had bulldozed out. Many "hedge rows" were planted in this area when the land was homesteaded to meet some of the requirements and also provide a "living fence". It made great wildlife habitat for Quail, Pheasants, Rabbits, etc. This row had been cut over once before and 4-6 trees were growing from each old stump. We are using a two-man saw to cut the several newer trees from the old stump roots. We used our "double blade axes" to trim off the brush and piled the poles and helped Lee saw them up in "post length" with his buzz saw. The Osage Orange was a very hard wood and made excellent Hedge posts. I noted in my Diary that I got $84.00 out of the project when we finished. It was one of the first "projects" Clarence and I undertook. We worked at it for several Saturdays and think we got something like $1.25/hour. It wasn't long after this experience that he and I started selling and planting landscaping nursery stock as a part-time job. Fortunately, it was much more lucrative. Incidentally I still have my axe out in the garage that I bought new for the project. My Brother Don and wife Gladys later moved to the farm  where the barn is shown over our heads. 

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Happy Anniversary

We participated in a Surprise Wedding Anniversary party today for Terry and Debbie Soucek. Their son Cory and his wife Amber planned a great event. It was timely, after Debbie having serious heath problems last summer,  it was also a celebration of her recovery. They had put together  a series of pictures taken over their 41 years of marriage and showed several of Terry's parents, my sister Vivian and her husband Eddy. Vivian passed away very suddenly back in 2008 and Eddy died a few years earlier. It was interesting to see the pictures and reflect on many happy family events. As families grow and the "senior members" pass on, it becomes more difficult to "keep up" with siblings families. Facebook helps to some extent and annual family  reunions are most important. But events like this today are very much appreciated. Thanks Cory and Amber for your leadership and Thanks to everyone who contributed to its success. Happy Anniversary, Terry and Debbie. 

Friday, November 14, 2014

Seward History

Seward had a Brick Yard for many years on South Columbia, about 5 or 6 blocks south of Seward Street. It operated primarily for the first third of the 20th Century. My Dad worked there for a short time when I was 5 or 6 years old and remember his showing me the inside of a kiln. It was a scary sight. A fire led to its demise during the '30's. The smokestack picture was taken in the '20's when Elaine's Grandparents, Charles and Anna Koch, lived on South Columbia across the street from the Brick Yard. (Lower right in the picture). She recalls hearing her folks tell of having taken this picture of a workmen doing repair work on the smokestack. He had a camera with him and took the following picture showing the Grandparents house as well as the old Seward City Mill, the Dam on the Blue River  and the little RR Water Tower near the Depot as well as several houses which are still occupied. The story had a tragic ending with the workman falling off the smokestack to his death. While this all happened back in the early 20's, the little RR Water Tower met its demise this past week when it was demolished. It had been used to store Agricultural Chemicals after the days of the Steam Engines. Some of us thought it would have made a great "Welcome to Seward" icon but that was not to be. The intersection shown is 1st and River Street looking west with the little Water Tower on the right side of the river near the top of the picture. 

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Old Magazines and Today's Social Media

I bought several old Nebraska Farmer Magazines at an Auction here in Seward a few years ago and felt they may sell on eBay. The are from the '40's and '50's which is during an era when I was aware of many of the events, places and people referred to in the stories. This particular issue tells of Presidential Candidate Wendell Wilkie having a meal at the Herman Ebers farm here in Seward County. The guests included several neighbors and State Senator Stan Matzke. I knew most of them from my early days with the USDA Soil Conservation Service. This afternoon I did some checking on items that I've set aside as potential eBay items and checked to see if such items were currently listed. This is a good way of seeing the price range of such items but also the cost of mailing. I found many items similar to mine already listed with a wide variety of prices but most of them were in the "Buy it Now" category. I have always used the "Auction" category to get the benefit of the bidding but it looked like the interest on many of these items from the mid-20th century have lost much of the appeal they had a few years ago. Might it be that buyers were those people who lived during the time these items represent but have since passed on. It prompts the bigger question of "what constitutes value to individuals?" Might it be that social media and Google in particular helps us to find any information we may desire without having to buy an old Nebraska Farmer to read about Herman Ebers entertaining Wendell Wilkie

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

An Old Man's Old Car

This is our '92 Buick La Sabre which we bought new from Rolfsmeier's here in Seward on March 27, 1992 for $18,342. It has served us well over these past 22 years and continues to do so. It is still in excellent condition (for its age and 155,610 miles) but beginning to require expensive maintenance. While I have always maintained a record of all expenses, including gas, the cost/mile is increasing. In 2012 we spent $212,83 on it, in addition to gas. In 2013 it was $414.48. We have already spent $290.96 this year and today, we had to make a decision of some $440.00 on a new set of tires. These are not easy decisions. While we don't drive it many miles, it is my transportation 6 days a week so that Elaine always has our '02 available. There is some similarity between such decisions on an old car with what I also went through today at the Dental Office. Maintenance is important and necessary. We ordered the new tires and had our teeth fixed. Part of the justification on the car is that taxes are minimal as is the liability insurance. Depreciation has long since been capitalized and who knows, maybe in a few years it will be in demand as a "classic". And, I didn't even mention all the happy memories it holds plus, I like it. Now if I can rationalize my personal maintenance, other than my Federal Annuity being for life. 

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Armistice Day Blizzards

While the Polar Vortex that swooped down through central United States yesterday and brought snow and winter temperatures to a large part of the Country, it had a precedent. The Armistice Day Blizzard of 1940 dropped over 20 inches of snow in MN and several inches in our area of Nebraska.  That storm resulted in the loss of nearly 50 lives in the Midwest. I had started keeping a 5-year Diary on my 15th birthday in June of that year. And I noted on 11/11/1940 as follows: "Armistice Day. Having a regular Blizzard. Drifting. John Trouba, Bill Vanis, Adolph and Hattie Walla were here trying to get to Seward". I had noted the rain we received the preceding 2 days and that  "it was sleeting as I went to bed" on the 10th.  Reading that old Diary is a bit depressing but a reminder of how much progress we have made in our standard of living. We were husking corn by hand and I stayed out of school frequently to help so we could get done by November 30. We spent a lot of time cutting wood which we used to heat our house and fuel the cook stove. We take so many things for granted today for which we need to be thankful. 

Monday, November 10, 2014

Dedication of the Kiwanis Flag Project.

Newly re-elected Seward Mayor Eickmeier is shown here welcoming the crowd and expressing his appreciation to the Kiwanis Club for completing the Flag Project. Marv Taylor (standing behind the Mayor) was the MC for the Dedication event and Nebraska Secretary of State John Gale (to the right) was the main speaker. Marv has been the Chief Architect of the project and led a dedicated group of volunteer Kiwanians to get the project completed ahead of schedule without any tax dollars. Marv was the one that brought the idea of the Club selling and installing flagpoles and flags some years ago resulting in over 700 having been installed. The project is in an ideal location at the eastern outskirts of the City along highway #34 which connects us to Lincoln 25 miles away. 
This is how the Flags looked this afternoon after the Dedication had taken place. The 50 State Flags are placed in alphabetical order. Each of them as well as the United States and Service Flags have been paid for and adopted by individuals or organizations. The donor's name and the State are listed on a plate attached to the pole. The State Flags will not be lighted but the others will and are expected to stay up. Landscaping and grass seeding will need to be delayed until next spring as will a connecting path to the nearby City Hiker-Biker trail. The Flag Project is a Great addition to the 4th of July City. Thanks Marv for your Leadership and to all the Volunteers and Contributors who have make it possible. 

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Washington, D. C. in the early '60's

With the elections last week bringing many new people to Washington, D.C. it is interesting to reflect on our transfer into the City 50  years ago. We went in with the expectation of being back out after a few years and stayed for 18. Many politicians probably do about the opposite. Working as a Civil Service employee with the Soil Conservation Service, (Now the Natural Resource Conservation Service) in USDA was a much different experience than being an elected politician. As I advanced in my career and grade level, my job took me into much closer contact with elected people. I personally found most of them very capable and reasonable to work with. Their public persona was often much different than their private life,  but they were always concerned about being reelected, especially those in the House of Representatives. The biggest challenge was often having to "train" the newly appointed Administrative Assistants within the USDA that came in with changes of Administrations. Fortunately, the conservation of our Soil and Water Natural Resources and their use on a Sustainability Basis was a pretty easy sell. 

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Model Tractors

I started collecting Ertl Model 1/16 size tractors about 30 years ago. My brother Don, an Auctioneer, had a great collection and I got "hooked". I haven't added to my collection since buying 2 or 3 at an auction where Don sold his. I am now at the point of being ready to sell mine.  My first step is to take a picture of the 60-70 that we have. The attached picture of the '37 John Deere G is an example. The detail of these models is very good and they are most appealing to those of us who have memories of having driven them at some time. My favorite is a 1944 Model A John Deere which we had when I was a kid. I have a model of that tractor and may just keep it for "old times sake". We also owned a 1956 Model 720 Diesel tractor and will keep the model of it. Most are still in their original boxes and we have the boxes for the balance of them. It will be like playing with them to get them all "dusted", pictured, boxed up and ready to sell.  I may even try Craig's list and Seward Swap. The postage is always a factor on eBay.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Beautiful Fall Color

Our Red Oak tree in the backyard reached the height of its fall color earlier this week. It is shown with the Blue Spruce and the Japanese Maple near the house. Our precipitation has already been several inches over the annual 26" normal which appears to have made the trees more brilliant this fall. The leaves of the Clump River Birch (shown with the white bark behind the Oak) turn a pretty yellow and drop after just a day or two. The beautiful fall color and weather appears near its end as a cold front is headed this way and scheduled to arrive on Monday. Hopefully it will be later in the day since we have the Nebraska Secretary of State John Gale, coming out to help dedicate the Kiwanis Parade of Flags at 1:00pm. The display is already attracting a lot of attention at the eastern edge of our City along highway #34 with the large United States flag, 7 Service flags and the 50 State flags. 

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Changes in Farming

Elaine's Father, Albert Flowerday was pulling on the fly wheel of the old Model A John Deere to start it in the summer of 1955 when this picture was taken. Grand kids Timmy and Carolyn were watching with interest in anticipation of hearing the "Johnny Popper" starting to run. It appears that Albert was getting ready to spray some broad leaf  weeds with 2,4-D which was the popular chemical of the day. This was one of Albert's last years of some 40 years of farming. I'm sure he could have told of how things had changed during that time. Here he was using a 'Row crop" tractor and chemicals which wouldn't have been thought of when he started farming. Likewise, farmers of today may not even believe that there was a time when you pulled on the flywheel to start an engine. Albert had a farm sale the following year and I suspect the tractor and spray rig may have brought around $500.00. Modern farmers today use spray rigs in the $40,000.00 range. What changes will take place in the next 60 years??

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Baby Jack & Family History

We got out to see Jack and the Owen's family today. In addition to Great-Grandmother, I even got to hold him for some time. He seems so small even though he has regained his 7 lb. 4 oz. birth weight. He was pretty sleepy during much of our "holding time" so it wasn't too great a challenge for the holder. Elaine and I look back on the days when we had our first baby boy on August 17, 1950, our youngest son on November 22, 1954 and 2 in between; another boy on March 4, 1952 and our daughter on August 11, 1953. Fortunately, our folks lived nearby which helped considerably, but we still wonder how we were able to cope. Elaine had just turned 24 at the time our youngest was born and I still marvel at her ability, strength, courage, ambition, faith, etc. that helped us though those years. Interestingly, I don't remember ever feeling sorry for ourselves. We didn't have  Health Insurance but were able to pay for whatever we bought and get our first little house paid for before moving to a larger house in the spring of 1955. My salary as a Civil Service technician was minimal and I worked at 2nd & 3rd jobs to make ends meet. While recognizing that it's a different world today, and are most sympathetic to many people's plight, these are reasons why we were surprised at the extent of support for the  passage of the minimum wage proposal. I would rather have seen a reconsideration of the Reagan tax cuts as a way to reduce the expanding divide between the rich and the poor. 

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Election Day

Elaine and I voted early this morning and on our way home got this picture of the continuing demolition of the old Seward School Buildings. The 1919 High School Building is slated to remain. The additions next to it, including the gym built back in the 1950's are well on their way down. I have a distinct memory of seeing my brother Jerry go in for a layup in the gym. I sang with the Kitones for Veteran's Day programs in it as recently as 3-4 years ago. Voting and watching the demolition both inspire hope for the future. While we are optimistic, we realize there are tough decisions ahead if our hopes are to be realized. The election winners are seldom as effective as we were led to believe they would be but not as bad as what they were projected to be by their opposition. My expectations are pretty low for the next year here with our Seward City Government regardless who wins the Mayor's race. We can be sure that there will be some changes, we just don't know what they may be. 

Monday, November 3, 2014

Rob Schafer, University of Nebraska Regent

Rob Schafer spoke to our Seward Kiwanis Club this noon. He had come out directly from a UN Board of Regents meeting on which he serves. And brought word that the selection for President of the University had been narrowed down to 4 candidates. The "big news" was that Governor Heineman was not included in the group of 4. Schafer was appointed to the Board in 2013 by the Governor, and there were questions of Rob being a strong voice in getting Heineman selected as University President. As he said, the decision today made those questions "a moot point". I know of a few votes that will come his way as the result of his bringing that message. He was very impressive in speaking to the leadership role that the University of Nebraska will play in "feeding the world".

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Mother's Greeting to Uncle Fred Turner

This is a Greeting Card that my Mother sent to her Uncle Fred when she was a young girl. It isn't dated but I suspect it was sent something over 100 years ago. We came into possession of it some years ago through Aunt Dorothy who had inherited an album that Fred kept for years. Neither Fred nor Dorothy had family of their own. Mother had her excellent handwriting even at this age and wrote: "Hello, Uncle Fred: I received your pretty card and was glad to find out where you were. We are all pretty well this winter. We are going to school every day. Uncle George is working for us now hauling hay. I got a letter from Aunt Mary Saturday. I would like to see you, answer soon. Florence"
We have another card that Mother sent to Fred so plan to send this one to my sister Janice for her to have as some family history. The bottom of the card isn't shown in this picture but is all intact. I "uninstalled " a program on my computer this afternoon and it fouled up some of my other programs. It took some readjusting to even be able to get this scanned to my computer. The lesson learned is that if something works, don't "fix" it.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Kansas City Royals,

The San Francisco Giants won the World Series, taking 4 games to the Kansas City Royal's 3. The "rubber" game ended 3-2 with Alex Gordon on 3rd base. How much closer could they come and still lose. Us Royal fans should be very grateful for the exciting end of season run that the team provided. As a long time NY Yankee fan, I began to follow the Royals when Lincoln, NE native Gordon was drafted as a #1 pick out of UN-L. I have a distinct memory of seeing Alex play 3rd base for the Huskers and commenting on his ability. Our interest in the Royals was also stimulated by seeing them nearly every game throughout the season on TV. Not only that, but they have been an exciting team all season as they rotated some players through Omaha. They are a young team that plays like they are  having fun. How can you explain a "wild card" team coming into the playoffs and winning 11 consecutive games other than to say, "GO ROYALS". And, THANK YOU for a great season of wholesome entertainment.