Tuesday, March 31, 2015

March, Out like a Lamb

Carolyn and Ben’s back yard has been become a garden and play center. Much of the raised garden beds are off to the side but this shows the Sadie play ground. It was a beautiful 80 degree day and we had the opportunity to visit this afternoon. The roto-tiller is one of Ben’s “machines” that he has used to prepare a “bed” for the railroad tracks that he is laying in the corner of the yard behind the swing. He had also acquired a tool to chop out some of the roots from shrubs that previously grew in the area. We seem to keep busy with some of the more mundane home owner task at our house. Today, that included applying fertilizer to the lawn and working on the garage door. It also included setting out on our front entry way this evening and enjoyed the Jonquils and Daffodils blooming along its boarder. The Climatis have peaked out to about 3 inches in height at this time and will grow several inches a day before long. I also had the opportunity to show Elaine one of the Tai Chi moves that I learned from Bob at Therapy this afternoon. It’s not nearly as simple as the old Chinese made it appear when we were in China some years ago.

Monday, March 30, 2015

Whatever in Hawaii

This was taken some years ago when Elaine and I were over in Hawaii. We had a great time visiting a cousin of mine and his family as well as friends from the Soil Conservation Service. Elaine has always been a good traveler and a great sport as demonstrated by the picture.  I must admit that I had seen this “recepticle” at the hotel where we were staying  and suggest she pose. I had the occasion of visiting the SCS Plant Materials Center located on the Island of Maui. Flying near the volcano on that island was an interesting sight. During my years with the SCS in the Washington, D.C. office, I had occasion to visit all 50 states except Alaska.  Elaine and I had a great 5-week camping trip to Alaska in our pick-up truck after retiring. Our compatibility was really tested during that experience when we hardly every got out of each others sight for 5 weeks. People may think they know their mates very well but they haven’t really tested their compatibility until they have such an experience. 

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Busy but Good Day

Underwoods had an auction this afternoon for the Aloyce and Pam Volzke Estates down in the 4-H building at the Seward Fair Grounds. There was a large crowd with many collectibles, etc. to be sold. I had known the family for many years and always look for something of interest as well as being able to visit with friends. However, with the Nebraska baseball team on its way to sweeping Texas and the NCAA games coming up, I didn’t stay long. We did enjoy watching Michigan State win 76-70 in OT over Louisville. The “big” win for us was Duke beating Gonzaga 66-52. While the Blue Devils won by a good margin it was close all the way to the last few minutes. So it was a busy day: Palm Sunday Service at Church, Newspapers, Baseball, Auction, 2 basketball games, Carolyn’s visit and some phone calls. It was a good day and topped off with Apple Pie and Ice Cream.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Kiwanis Clubs in Seward, Nebraska

Here is the Kiwanis Club of Seward’s booth at the Seward Spring Show which wound-up this evening. Marv Taylor and Ralph Hansen are shown here “manning” the booth. This venue has been very productive for selling  Kiwanis flag poles in past years as well as recruiting new members. Our Club is celebrating its 50th anniversary this  year while Kiwanis International has its 100th anniversary. We are pleased  that we also have  the much  younger  “Helping Hands Club” here in the community. They meet in the evenings which accommodates those who are unable to get to our Monday noon meetings. And, they are to be congratulated for sponsoring a K-Kids Club at St John’s Elementary School here.
Their Charter Night was highlighted by the appearance of Jane Erickson, Vice-President of Kiwanis International. It is anticipated that she will advance to the International President position in the fall of 2016. Kiwanis International has Clubs in 80 Nations throughout the World with over 600,000 members, many of whom are Youth members. Erickson is shown here visiting with Marvin “PeeWee” Schulz, a long time Club member and Officer. She has been a very dynamic voice for Kiwanis and the mission of improving the lives of children of the world: “One Child at a Time”. 

Friday, March 27, 2015

Spring Show in Seward

Merle’s Garden Center is the welcoming attraction as visitors enter the Seward Spring Show at the Ag Pavilion. Earl always has a great booth and in addition to the flower plants he also has boxes of tomato plants. Our Kitones sang at 6:00pm to a small audience. We had about the same number singing as audience and probably enjoyed it about equally. We did walk up and down  the aisles later to see it all. The most interesting thing I saw was at the Seward Museum booth and was a framed picture that I had taken over over 60 years ago. It even included my old ’41 Chevy in addition to the Hinky-Dinky store. I have no idea of how that picture got “publicized”.
We have a bit of Spring Show right here at home with this Daffodil blooming out side our front door. We have had some real wide swings in temperature during the month. All the way from near zero to  90 degrees. On Friday, the 20th it went from 21 to 75 for a 54 degree swing. We were pleased to get a good rain during the week. It was less than an inch but helped the grass to green up. I bought a bag of “Weed and Feed” while getting gas at CO-OP this afternoon and will get it on the lawn over the weekend. I am having a bit of trouble concentrating on my writing while watching the Duke-Utah basketball game so will “sign off” and watch the game.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Sadie’s visit

Sadie spent some time with us this morning and enjoys seeing herself on Photo Booth. The only thing she enjoyed more was eating Great Grandma’s Chocolate Chip Cookies. She continues to amaze us with what she knows and remembers.   She loves to check out every nook and cranny to see what she can find.  She had a magic marker and paper to “color” holding the marker just perfect.  She found spools of thread in my sewing and was quite amazed with the unwinding of the thread.  She now has her own little tote bag for her special doll and other things.  Her singing is very much  a part of happy world, singing the alphabet song, church musical responses (especially the Alleluia verse), and others.   Little Jack is growing so fast and always has a cute smile for anyone who “visits” with him.  
Tony and I did some work on our income tax today.  We will  be glad to have that done.  He has another therapy session tomorrow afternoon and is then scheduled to sing with the Kitones at the Seward Home Show. (by Elaine)

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Health Reports

A technician came out from Bryan this morning and did an Echo cardiogram on me at our Seward Hospital with a machine that looked very much like this picture. He was able to confirm the murmur Dr. Summa had detected with a stethoscope. And,  the information he gathered will be reviewed by Cardiologist at Bryan and their analysis sent back to our family Doctor. It didn’t appear that there was any significant problem. It was an interesting procedure as he moved the probe to various locations on my chest. The sound was most impressive, even more so than the pictures on the screen. We will await the final, results but I’m very optimistic. 
Meanwhile, we were pleased to hear that Elaine’s brother Dale had an out-patient procedure at Vanderbilt Hospital in Nashville, TN this afternoon to remove a “mass” from his lower small intestine. It had caused  internal bleeding that required 11 units of blood.  This procedure was all done with a probe through the mouth and throat. He is back home in Murfeesboro and the results of the analysis of the material removed will be forthcoming. 

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Physical Therapy

I had my first physical therapy session this afternoon in an attempt to improve my balance. Like many of our faculties, my  balance has continued to decline over the years. Most of us take the need to wear glasses for granted and eventually even hearing aids, but to improve balance it seems that physical therapy is a logical first step. This is not to say that I haven’t already used a cane occasionally and appreciate using the shopping cart to take even 1 bag of groceries to the car. Jon put me through a lengthy interview and a number of “tests” last week over at the Seward Memorial Health Care Systems to evaluate what may be most appropriate for my particular problem. I also made him aware of my family Doctor suggesting I have an echo cardiogram which is scheduled for tomorrow morning. That may have had something to do with his not working me too hard today and encouraging me to rest whenever I got “winded”. Working the foot/arm machine pictured for 5 minutes was my first assignment. It wasn’t “weighted” very heavily but still got me “puffing” and was glad to hear the bell. My most difficult task is trying to walk a straight line. I did some balancing exercises to help that and even stepped from one “pod” to another without losing my balance. It was an interesting half hour and will need to use some “Icy Hot” on my right shoulder at bedtime. I will miss joining my coffee group in the morning but looking forward to the procedure and the information it may provide. 

Monday, March 23, 2015

Conservation Meeting & John Denver

NET ran a wonderful program last week on the life of John Denver. We thoroughly enjoyed every minute of it. Elaine and I were both sure we had seen him somewhere, sometime in person where he sang many of the songs we enjoyed, but couldn’t remember where or when. As we pooled our memories, we felt we had been part of a very large crowd and, State Fair crept into the discussion. I was about to give up and accept Mark Twain’s adage that, “Some of the things I remember best, never happened”.  Then while looking for something else, I came across a reference to seeing John Denver at the Indiana Fairgrounds Coliseum in Louisville, KY on September 28, 1974. I checked my old Diary and found that Elaine and I were visiting son Tim who was working in Louisville at the time. We had been to a 5-day Soil Conservation Service Meeting in Lexington, KY and got over to visit Tim on Friday evening. We helped him with some things in his apartment and then went to the John Denver Concert on Saturday evening.  I estimated there were 16,000 people in attendance and that, “It was a good show”.  We flew back to D.C. the next day. The SCS meeting in Lexington that took us to Kentucky was an annual meeting involving the top official from each of the 50 states as well as the top staff from the Washington Office. I had a very intense week and had Elaine fly down during the week after getting Jon off to College. During the week we had Dinner at Spindletop Mansion and visited Claiborn Farms where we saw Secretariat, Riva Ridge and others.  The responsibilities of my job overshadowed my personal activities which evidently effected the memory of the Denver Concert. 

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Girls then-Mothers now

We went to the Boy Scout Pancake breakfast at the Civic Center for brunch, worked in the yard for well over an hour, and watched a lot of basketball today. I’m able to do a bit of multi-tasking while watching games and my laptop is always handy. I also have a box of DVDs close by so I went through some old pictures while watching the games. This is Granddaughter Julie and neighborhood friend Corey, on our deck back in the early ’80’s. Julie spent a lot of “growing up” time with us while her Mother taught school, and we thoroughly enjoyed every minute of it. She and Corey were great friends and had the excitement of being stung by wasps that had a nest under the deck. I don’t know what the occasion may have been when the picture was taken, but it appears that both girls were dressed for something special. This may have been after the wasp stings, and Julie was “armed” to  ward off any further attacks as only an Indian Princess could do.  

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Gardening Skills

I had already worked in our yard this PM when Carolyn called and asked us to come up and see their backyard. They have really turned it into a gardener’s paradise which also doubles as a playground for Sadie. Ben and Carolyn make a great team in the endeavor with her research and ideas and Ben’s ability to build things to bring dreams into reality. Sadie spends a lot of time with them during the week and the backyard is a great “learning labratory” for her. She is learning things every day that will be with her throughout her lifetime. She won’t remember where she learned many of these things but will know it’s just the way things should be done. She  enjoyed the
pleasure of seeing the tops of little green radish leaves in the row where she put seeds, covered and watered them. They had their potatoes planted on St. Patrick’s day but had some seed potatoes left over which they sent home with us. We dug up the area on the south side of the house where we had tomatoes last year and planted about a dozen hills. Elaine and I have spent some 80% of our lives together during which time we have developed an understanding of “how most things are to be done”. However, when we come to a task or a skill that we learned during those early years, we are still working out  “the way it should be done”. I admire her for believing that her Dad did everything right so we are still working on how to cut up potatoes. I wonder what Sadie and Her Husband will disagree on.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Syracuse 72 - Nebraska 69

I would have much rather had a picture of Emily Cady and Brandi Jeffery being congratulated by someone other than  Quentin Hillsman, the Syracuse Coach. It was a hard fought game and the aggressive, full court defense was tough for the Nebraska girls to handle. It forced turnovers beyond their normal and might have even affected  the free throws. It has been a “great run” for the 4 Nebraska seniors who have been together for the full 4 years. I watched Emily Cady during her 4 years of HS here in Seward where we won the State Class B Championship each of her 4 years. I didn’t miss many of those home games nor the State Tournaments. She has started every game that Nebraska girls played during her 4 years at the U. It’s always tough to lose the last game that you play at any level but can always take heart in that you were in “The Dance”. It has been a real pleasure to have watched a lanky 6’2” freshman in HS developed into the confident, mature young lady that Emily Cady has become. Thanks for the memories, Emily, we are proud you and of your being from Seward, Nebraska.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Sadie’s Visit Today

Sadie spent some time at our house today while Mother Julie and Jack went to Bible Study. This is the only picture I was able to get of her since she was busy with other things. She and Great Grandma had a big time while I was gone to coffee. She likes to play with my little model cars and seems to prefer the Volkswagen's. She likes those best with front doors that open. She was so full of energy and was inquisitive about everything, and was glad when Granddad came back from downtown, and then when her Mommie and Jack were back.  She had new sandals and a new swimsuit which she was proud to model for us.  It has been my practice to run my blogs through spell check and then have Elaine read them before posting. You might have caught the segment of this blog that she wrote. I’m attempting to get her more involved with the computer. Her brother Dale is in a hospital down in Nashville, TN and a Granddaughter of his writes a column on Caring Bridge.  She is learning to pull that up and I look forward to her helping more with a daily blog as times goes on. She has many family stories and would enjoy passing them on to grand kids. 

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Jack Edward

Here is Jack Edward  approaching 5 months and getting to be a “big boy”. He is our first Great Grandson and looks like he will be able to keep up with his big sister Sadie who is just over 2 1/2.. They are a great pair. That right hand of Jack’s looks like it will fit over a baseball in the not too distant future. I’ve got many stories to share with him about the great game of baseball and how much better game for him to focus on than football. I may even tell him the story of visiting with a couple fellows at an Agricultural Meeting in Lincoln a few years ago. We got on the subject of baseball and I proudly mentioned having played in the outfield when I was a young man. The one guy asked who I played for and I proudly said  Garland in the Blue Valley League and Seward in the Cornhusker League. He said he had a son-in-law that played baseball, and I asked who he played with. The father-in-law almost embarrassingly said, “San Francisco” and when I asked his name, he said,  "Darin Erstad”.  We didn’t talk much about my baseball playing after that.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Irish Heritage

Guess what we had for supper. Yes, it was corned beef and cabbage along with a few carrots. I brought home the “groceries” for it this morning and didn’t get good corned beef at the local Deli counter. We assumed it was properly prepared but was sliced very thin. The cabbage and carrots came out great but the beef is very tough. It doesn’t look like the picture. I learned later that the dish didn’t come from Ireland but started by early immigrants. The brisket was the cheapest cut of meat and cabbage was always inexpensive, even today.  While our’s might not have been the best, it served the purpose of honoring my Irish  (Annie Turner Walker) Grandmother. Her parents Chris and Matilda (Robinson) Turner came to this country from Ireland; Christopher in 1851 and Matilda in 1858.  Chris fought in the Civil War with an Illinois Battalion  and came to Seward in 1873. He and Matilda were married in the Middle Creek School House in 1875. He worked as a bricklayer, farmer and raised a large family including my Grandmother. They are all buried here is Seward as are my parents, and we have our lot purchased and the tombstone in place. Having written all of this, I think I'll have another Guinness.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Kiwanis Ag Banquet

Governor Pete Ricketts was in Seward tonight for the 47th annual Kiwanis Ag Recognition Banquet.  This was his final stop after traveling across the State in recognition of National Ag week. The event has grown considerably from the earlier days of the Kiwanis Club recognizing the “Young Farm Family” of the year. Also recognized now is a County Agribusiness award which went to Marlin and Margie Burkey; David and Diane Mooney were inducted into the Seward County Hall  of Agricultural Achievement: and, the Harry Slawnyk Family was recognized as the Kiwanis Outstanding Farm Family. Ron Fowler KLKN-TV News Anchor served as MC. Wess Robotham, President of the Kiwanis club, gave the Welcome. Governor Ricketts gave a short message; County Fair Ag Scholarships were presented by Ron Gade, President of the County Ag Society, to four young ladies; Doug Brand recognized past award winners; Charles Lieske spoke on behalf of the Chamber of Commerce; and, Dr. Ron Wallman  made interesting comments in presenting the award to the Slawnyk Family. It was a Great Banquet with Prime Rib and all the trimmings. It was enjoyed by over 450 people on a day when temperatures broke all existing records with readings in the 90’s. 

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Ethan Bortnick coming to Lincoln

We watched Ethan Bortnick, the 12 year old composer, pianist, entertainer, in concert this evening on NET 1. They have a fund raiser with tickets available, etc in conjunction with his concert here in Lincoln on November 4, 2015. We have become more regular listeners of NET and PBS this spring than ever before. It’s just more our type of entertainment. We had a quiet day with going to Church early and spending much of the afternoon finishing my narrative of family activities in 2004. I incorporated pictures in the text and the 10,408 words covered 20 pages. Elaine proof read it and made some needed changes before the final printing. I have to justify the time I spend reading my Journal and writing it, with the enjoyment of doing it. I don’t expect it to ever become a “best seller”. Maybe someday Grandkids or Great-Grandkids might scan it and look at the pictures. In fact the way Sadie is thinking and talking, she will probably be able to read in another year or two. As we are around Sadie and see this 12 year old Ethan Bortnick perform, it appears that kids are a lot smarter at a younger age than I was. (Or am).

Saturday, March 14, 2015

The Civil War

I have no idea whether this picture had any influence of son Jon’s interest in the Civil War but it may have had. It was a  “Tin Plate” picture taken at Busch Gardens at Williamsburg , VA back in 1975. We were told that the shutter would be open for some time  so to look somber with an expression we could hold without flinching. It was a mini-vacation between Jon getting home from college and his starting a summer job. The day before I had taken him over to Winchester, VA where we met Bob Holmes, a Soil Scientist with whom Jon would be working. He would be making $3.00/hr. and we got him an apartment for $150.00/mo. We had a great time at Busch Gardens where we rode on all the rides, ate at the German Restaurant where Jon danced with the German girls. We went through the Museum and stayed at a Day’s INN and went swimming. We spent the next morning at the Pottery Factory and went home. John got his stuff , including our little TV packed up in the VW Beetle and went to his summer job in Winchester. I planted some shrubs that evening and we got ready to go back to work in USDA the next day.

Friday, March 13, 2015

Accordion Jamboree at Heartland

We went up to the Heartland senior facility this afternoon and listened to Franklin Hronik and his group of musicians entertain the residents as well as some of us invited guest. Most of the group played button accordions but there were also tubas, a clarinet and drums. There was not a sheet of music in sight nor was there a program. Franklin had a microphone and would announce what they were going to play after some jovial discussion among the group. The young lady playing an accordion is the daughter of the fellow who organized the group several years ago leaving Franklin to take over. We typically hear them at our Seward County Fair and they play at various places. It is evident in watching them in this informal 
setting that the musicians probably enjoyed themselves more by getting together than the pleasure the audience receives. Hearing them play brings back the memories of my Dad playing many of the same old tunes. Franklin even dedicated their playing of “The Black Crow (Vrana)” to Elaine and I. I like the Czech pronunciation of “VRANA” which involves rolling the “R”. .

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Nebraska Hall of Agriculture Achievement

We attended the annual Banquet of the Nebraska Hall of Agricultural Achievement this evening at the East Campus Union of UN-L where former USDA Secretary of Agriculture, US Senator and Nebraska Governor, Michael Johanns was honored.  He is shown here at the podium with former State Senator Roger Wehrbein who served as MC. “Mike” as many of us knew him, paid tribute to his parents and commented that what he learned on that Iowa farm as a youngster, helped him throughout his career. Ronnie Green NU Vice President/IANR Vice Chancellor introduced Mike with a detailed record of his outstanding career. There were also 10 new members inducted into the “Hall”. It maintains a membership of over 200 and dates back nearly 100years. It is the tradition to Honor one or two of its members annually. Elaine’s brother Dr. Albert Dale Flowerday was so honored in 2009. I was inducted into the Hall about 20 years ago. The Objectives of the Hall are: “To gather and compile the history of achievements in agriculture in the territory and State of Nebraska. To preserve and exhibit the records of these achievements and the portraits of the men and women who achieved them in a permanent hall”.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

“The Earth is the Lord’s,,,"

Michael Forsberg told of how he took this famous picture of a Burrowing Owl as an opening to “Great Plains, America’s Lingering Wild”, a program we are watching this evening on net1. We have seen the program before, but it is so educational that we learn something new every time we see it. We have heard Forsberg speak on several occasions and admire his respect for Nature. He has been recorded saying that he never feels closer to God than when he is working with Nature. While I appreciate the atmosphere of   a Church Sanctuary with organ music, choir, hymn singing, scripture readings and a strong sermon, it blends well with what we learn and can see in Nature. My career with the Soil Conservation Service was largely based on the 24th Psalm, ”The earth is the Lord’s and the fullness therein”. It is our stewardship responsibility to use the Lord’s Natural Resources on a sustainable basis and protect them for future generations. For some of us, the observation  of Nature and Wildlife demonstrates and confirms that which we are taught through Scripture. For me, it’s a case of one confirming the other rather than a matter of  “In Here (within a church) and Out There (daily life)”. 

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Beautiful Weather; Stormy Stock Market

Elaine and I had lunch with Brother Don and Gladys at the Chinese Restaurant and Mongolian Grill in Lincoln this noon. We had a good visit, ate our fill, and enjoyed the fortune cookies. After a bit of shopping we came home to continue enjoying the beautiful weather. This picture isn’t technically a “selfie” but I set the camera on a railing with a 10 second shutter delay. We wanted to show the Thermometer with the red arrow way over to 72. While the weather was nice, the stock market was the opposite. Our optimistic Grandson-in-law called just before the market closed and encouraged me to take advantage  of the “good time to buy”. Time will tell how it turns out. We have enjoyed the longest “bull market” in history and knew a correction was coming, but we just didn’t know when. We still don’t know if this is it or just a ‘blip” that will soon be offset. Meanwhile we enjoyed the sunshine and warm air. And, my fortune cookie said, “An unexpected event will soon make your life more exciting”. What more could an old man ask for"

Monday, March 9, 2015

A new Sand Box

Sadie and Grandma Carolyn enjoyed the new sand pile while Ben, Elaine and I just sat in the sun with 60 degree temperature and watched. Sadie really enjoys their back yard with the kitchen, sink, swing and everything she has to play with. She delighted in moving water from one container to another and mixing it with sand. She is learning that you don’t scatter sand outside the box, neither do you track any dirt or trash into the sand. It’s amazing what a kid can learn in a sandbox with Grandparents around. It is forecast to reach 75 degrees in Lincoln tomorrow and we are planning to meet brother Don and Gladys for lunch. We probably won’t visit very long because of his wanting to get to the golf course. 

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Eastern trip in 2004

In addition to my Daily Journal and an annual summary of Highlights, I have written a “summry” each year as Chapters of my “Life Story”. I have missed a few years in getting the summary written and am now working on 2004. It was a very busy year in our lives and today I worked on an 11- day May trip that was planned around son Jon’s receiving a MA degree from George Washington University. Our first stop was in Columbus, IN, where we spent a couple days with Tim, Laura, Tony and Maggie. We drove on to Richmond, VA, where we did likewise with Verlon. Our schedule got us to Jon’s in the Burke area of Fairfax, VA, for his graduation and visit with Mary and daughters, Heather and Anna. 
While in Northern Virginia we also visited the home we sold before returning  to Nebraska.  We not only had a good visit with all the families along the way but toured points of interest at each place. We then went on up to Philadelphia where we saw the Phillies beat the Dodgers in the new Stadium, took a bus tour of the City and visited the Museum of Art. We did a lot of walking while in Washington, D.C. and I noted in my Journal that "this may be our last visit". But, we have been back a couple times since. 

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Hughes Back Yard

Elaine and I were invited to take a break this afternoon and go up to see what Ben and Carolyn were doing in their back yard. After having some trees taken down they continue to “develop” it according to their current interest. A swing, kitchen, sink and play area for Sadie along with the Cold Frame, new compost bins and a significant garden plan are among the current interests. Ben is planning and building an outdoor train setting which Sadie will really enjoy. Carolyn and Ben are very compatible in their interest and have the ability to carry out whatever they plan to do. Their yard has been very much a part of their home over the years and now it is such an educational place for Sadie. Carolyn told today of Sadie looking for a red bucket she remembered having some time ago and couldn’t find. She seems to already know her colors. I believe she is in “pre-school” whenever she is in the back yard, possibly even in the basement.

Friday, March 6, 2015

Garland Bank closed during the Depression

This is a picture of the old Garland State Bank that failed along with many Banks back in the early ’30’s. The picture was posted this morning on facebook indicating the Seward Independent staff being in Garland today working on a story about the building. The Kirkland's and others in the community have done a lot of work in restoring the building which we were able to tour after the GHS alumni reunion last June. The Independent asked for comments from anyone who might be able to add to their story. I emailed them with my memory of being in the building as a kid with my Dad and of his parents losing money when it was closed. August Beckman was the President of the Bank at that time and the butt of considerable criticism at the failure though it was caused by the economic times. I mentioned his grandson, the Rev. Doctor David Beckman President of Bread for the World who has PhD’s in Economics as well as Theology. He had a successful career with the World Bank prior to Bread for the World and I listed some of his relatives here in the area. I thought it might be possible to encompass something in their story about the world wide humanitarian work of David and how it might be considered  recompense for anything for which his Grandfather was “blamed". While the building is interesting, the story of the people involved  during its heyday, its failure, and restoration is even more fascinating. 

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Seward Magazine Club

Elaine and I are hosting the meeting of the Seward Magazine Club this evening at the Civic Center West Fireplace Room. The room is set up with a St. Patrick’s Day theme and ready for members to arrive for the 7:30 meeting. Charles Lieske, Executive Director of the Seward Chamber of Commerce and also a member of the Seward City  Council has been invited to update the group on activities of the Chamber and Council. The Magazine Club dates back to 1889.  “It began when businessmen got together regularly for coffee. They would share and discuss articles from various magazines to which they subscribed."  Eventually the men decided to form a Club for regular evening meetings including their wives. We have been members for over 20 years and the by-laws provide for limited membership. Custom dictates that men and women are separated during their magazine reports and are seated at separate tables for lunch. My report this evening will be from Wm. H. Smith’s Early Days book published in 1937. It will be on an article telling of the Cupola on a barn northwest of Garland having come from Nebraska’s first State Capitol. I have distinct memories of my parents pointing it out to me as we drove by in our Model A Ford. I enjoyed those historic memories for years until this past Monday when Jim McKee, the Historic writer for the Lincoln Journal Star, pointed out that the whole story was a sham. As he pointed out, there is a distinct difference between the two that were thought to be the same. I am probably the only member of our Club that has seen the Cupola on the barn, but it seems like an appropriate tale to tell with the St. Patrick theme. My Great Grandparents that immigrated from Ireland would be proud. Only an Irishman would have been able to make up such a story and get that many people to believe it for that many years. 

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Happy Birthday Tim

Would you believe that this young man is celebrating a birthday today. No it’s not his 12th though he was 11 at the time this picture was taken some years ago. We had moved to the Washington, D.C. area about a year and a half earlier and were still living in the Fairlington apartments in South Arlington. It is a unique community built to accommodate Military Officer families during WWII and  still exists today as a privately owned community. There was an Elementary school within the development that Tim, his younger sister and brother attended. Tim went on to Gunston Jr. High where his older brother had attended. It included grades 7,8 and 9 and was where Tim reached the pinnacle of his basketball playing career. He has always been a good athlete but small for his age and young for his class because of having “skipped” an early grade. By the time he got to Wakefield HS the schools were integrated, and he contributed to the team by keeping “shot statistics”. He even received a “W” letter for his efforts. He continued his “statistics” activities as a student at Duke University and was very much a part of the team. Following  his magna cum laude graduation he worked for the Social Security Administration for a few years. He went on to graduate from Indiana Law School at Indianapolis and worked with an established law firm in Columbus, IN. After several years with the firm, he went out on his own as an LLC and takes pride in helping individuals receive their “just due”. He has been recognized by his peers for outstanding work. He has stayed close to athletic programs over the years as a game announcer. He continues to make his parents proud, and we enjoyed his phone call last evening. Happy Birthday Tim

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Kiwanis Newsletter

Here is the front page of the Kiwanis Club of Seward’s March 2015, 4 page Newsletter. While monthly newsletters in our club were taken for granted for many years, this is the first one published during the past few years. There were many reasons why, with the transition into the “digital age” being a major one.  Our Club has nearly 100 members with a good cross-section of ages. The younger ones are very comfortable getting information digitally but many of the older ones do not have the equipment nor interest in receiving it in that manner. The Kiwanis International Office in Indianapolis, IN has taken a lead and encouraged Clubs to utilize the digital facilities they provide to maintain membership rosters, committee structure and most administrative records. Individual Clubs can have their own web page within the overall system. It will be a great “Paper saver” when it becomes fully operational and accepted by the membership. Among the things that need to be done is for each Club to have a dedicated “web master” who has the authority to control the local Club information. When that becomes a reality, the local clubs can print out the appropriate information for those who wish to receive it as hard copy. 

Monday, March 2, 2015

Nebraska Capitols - Jim McKee

Historian Jim McKee who writes a column in the Lincoln Journal Star every week provided the program at Kiwanis today. He spoke on “Nebraska Capitols” by tracing the buildings that have housed our Library & Seal from the 1854 Nebraska Territory  building in Omaha to the present. The first State Capitol in Lincoln was constructed of native limestone between 1867 and 1868 following Nebraska becoming the 37th State in 1867. The 2nd Capitol was finished in 1888 and construction of the current Capitol designed by Bertram Grosvenor Goodhue was begun in 1922. Mr. McKee showed pictures and told of many little know features of our current Capitol. As a youngster my parents pointed out to me a “cupola” on top of a barn near Garland that supposedly had come from the top of the 1888 building. Pictures of the barn have been published, and it did look very much like the “real thing”. However, after all these years, I learned from Jim McKee today that it was all a sham. He says that if you look at pictures carefully you can detect the differences. It was a most interesting program and I never miss reading his column, but learning the truth about the cupalo was something counter to what I had  believed most of my life. I wonder if there are other “truths” that should be questioned or should sleeping dogs be let lie.  

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Elaine’s Brother Dale

Here is the same picture I put on a blog page this past Wednesday (2/25/15) after Elaine and I had gone near Lincoln to tell her brother Dale and his wife good-bye since they were moving to Tennessee. We were concerned with Dale’s appearance at the time but it appeared everything was set for the move. Dale and Marlene had been living with  Marlene’s daughter and her husband in east Lincoln since selling the old Flowerday house some months ago. The daughter, has been transferred to Murfeesboro, TN and her husband’s position enables him to live anywhere. Plans were for them to continue the living arrangement by moving to a lovely, large home on an acreage in the Murfesboro area. Elaine had expected to get the promised phone call from them as soon as they got settled, but this morning received a call from a relative in Texas who had word that Dale was in the hospital and the deal on the acreage had fallen through. She had the phone number of the room Dale was in and during this afternoon, Elaine was able to talk to him and others. It seems that Dale was very weak and after being taken to the Emergency Room, was diagnosed with a bleeding ulcer and was given 2 units of blood. He talked quite well on the phone and is optimistic of getting out of the hospital before long. Meanwhile, it seems that efforts are being made to find housing beyond the motel where they have been staying. We have had the opportunity to become acquainted with some of Marlene’s relatives in the process of their move and Dale’s problems and appreciate their friendship. They seem to understand the close relationship that exist between Elaine and Dale.