Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Jack Edward

Jack spent some time with Elaine and I today. I hope he enjoys these visits half as much as we do, and in reality, he seems to. His immediate challenge is getting his “hind wheels” coordinated with his arms so that he can crawl. He did get up on his knees but just didn’t get it all put together. He has such an innocent looking face that it’s hard to imagine him every being anything other than a “good boy”. The relationship between he and his big sister Sadie, reminds me of my sister Vivian and I, as kids. There is nothing like an older sister to keep you “in line” when you want to “test your wings”. 
Sadie gives every impression of being up to whatever task that may be assigned to her. She is more affectionate around him than what she is around us. She and her Grandmother Carolyn are very close and Grandpa Ben isn’t far behind. Our time today with Jack was our play time, but I did spend nearly 2 hours this afternoon working out in the yard. I did the weed eater  trim around the edges of the lawn and got the underground sprinklers turned on for the first time this summer. They will need some adjustment but basically worked good. Our yard has changed so much since the sprinklers were installed that it is amazing that they work as well as they do. We like most people have made more plantings than necessary. 

Monday, June 29, 2015

Hughes Brothers and My Birthplace

Our Kiwanis Club met this noon down at the Hughes Brothers Plant and enjoyed a briefing and tour of the facilities. Chantalle Denker served as host and provided information on the Plant’s history and led the tour. She serves as Human Relations Director in the position that our Son-in-law, Ben once held. Pictured here are the 4 Hughes Brothers who were the Founders; they are: John R. , H. Burr, Ted R. and Ben H. Hughes. The Plant is now in it’s 3rd generation of management.  The Plant has completed over 90 years of successful business in providing wooden transmission line equipment and in recent years have added fibreglass to their wood and steel manufacturing facilities. They have provided employment for some 300 employees over the years. I also have a picture that was taken from the top of a grain elevator back in the mid ’20’s during the construction of their initial building at the current Plant site.
In addition to this picture showing the building under construction, it also shows the house that my parents owned and where Vivian, Don and I were born. The little insert picture is of our house, the toilet, and outbuildings. It all shows up on the lower construction one at the very top of the picture. By the time we moved to the farm, the plant was in full operation. Vivian and I usually walked past it on our way to school. The City Park was and still is across the railroad tracks to the west (left side of the picture). My folks sold the property to Hughes during WWII during which time they expanded considerably. The 6 lots we had are now a part of the storage area. 

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Fred F. Hromas 1926-2015 RIP

Fred F. Hromas, 89 died last week with his funeral being held in Ulysses tomorrow morning. We went through several years of Country School at District 13 in Seward County, north of Garland. We also spent 3 years car pooling to Garland High School. My Mother’s youngest brother Ralph spent time with us helping Dad cut wood which he sold to people in town during the late 30’s. It was during that time that Ralph met Fred’s older sister, Christina. They married, had a nice family and had a successful “storm window, gutter” business in Lincoln. Fred and his wife were well know as successful farmers in the Ulysses area and people who loved to dance the Polkas. Fred always enjoyed fine automobiles and has driven Cadillacs for the past many years. There was a time when Fred talked about the ideal color for a fine car was “dark black”. It was rather common practice to “coast” down the Ridge Road on our way home from school. I had reason to get home early one night when Fred insisted on coasting. I told him that I could run faster than what we were moving; so I “bailed out”. Needless to say, I got a mouthful of gravel, dusted myself off and was happy to ride the rest of the way home. I had a good visit with Fred a year ago at Christmas time at Christina’s funeral in Lincoln. We had an opportunity to recall many old “stories”. It’s great to be able to grow old in a community with people with whom you were young. 

Saturday, June 27, 2015


These are just a part of the Hollyhocks that are blooming in our back yard. We planted a couple young plants a few years ago and they just seem to keep coming back. Even during the drought and depression days of the 1930’s, we always had Hollyhocks blooming out along our yard fence next to the road and our mail box. It was a common practice to take a full bloom, set it to look like a full skirt and then place one of the buds on top of it to give the appearance of a little doll. Even here is Seward, Hollyhocks seem to thrive under “adverse” conditions. There are probably more of them blooming in the alleys around town than there are in “Flower Gardens.” Hollyhock flowers have a very long history – in fact, remains of this blossom were located at a Stone Age burial site in the Shanidar cave in Iraq. Hollyhocks – whose name was derived from the old English expression, “Holy Flower” – also have some interesting connections. For instance, Thomas Jefferson cultivated these plants in Monticello; in Japan, hollyhocks became the seal of the Tokugawa Shogunate, and Frank Lloyd Wright named his first Los Angeles project, “Hollyhock House,” after the owner, Aline Barnsdall’s, favorite flower. In addition to having cultural connections, hollyhock flowers have also become an important part of art. Not only can the flowers themselves be used to create a rust red-colored dye, they have also made many appearances in fine art paintings.

Friday, June 26, 2015

“Doc” Winter, 1927-2015, RIP

We attended the Memorial Service for Dr. Byron K. Winter, DVM, at the Seward United Methodist Church this morning. “Doc” was a unique individual. He had a distinguished military career during the Viet Nam and Korean wars. After serving as a HS teacher for a few years, he went back to Iowa State University and graduated with a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine Degree. He married his HS sweetheart, Glenna, in 1952 and their marriage was blessed with a daughter and 3 sons. The family moved to Seward in June, 1960, where Doc set up his veterinary practice. He not only had a very successful practice but was likely, the best known person in the County. He won ribbons and trophies in running and hurdles at Cornhusker Games, served in leadership positions with the SUM Church, the Seward City Council, the Memorial Health Care System Board of Directors, the School Board for 24 years, Kiwanis Club, Magazine Club and inducted into the Seward County Hall of Agricultural Achievement. It was a beautiful Memorial Service with Rev. Dale Lambert; son David providing a Eulogy; Virginia Fraser Organist, and congregational singing of 3 old familiar hymns. A Military Service was also conducted  and lunch was served. It was a near capacity crowd at the Church and I’m sure everyone there has wonderful memories of Doc. 

Thursday, June 25, 2015

It Was a Very Happy Birthday

Elaine was up early this morning and had a plate of Chocolate Chip Cookies baked and ready for me to take along down to Coffee at the Bank. Jay, Rich, Tom, Dick and Larry all enjoyed them. Larry had an opportunity to enlighten us on how property taxes are assessed on real estate in California. Dick told of some of the remodeling they are doing on a house they bought recently, and I responded to a question on the difference 10 years makes when one gets to be my age. Francis called to continue the ritual of our wishing each other a Happy Birthday; something we have done for the last 20 years or so. Janice and Larry went along with Elaine and I as we did our normal “Home Delivered Meals” route. 
Our last delivery is near the Senior Center where the Monthly Potato Bake was in progress. We joined the 225 people who participated today before they ran out of potatoes. We did a lot of visiting this afternoon, enjoyed reading Birthday Cards, visited WalMart for a few things and joined family at the Quonset in Staplehurst for an evening meal. They then all stopped by our house for a dish of ice cream. It will go down in my records as a very Happy Birthday. Some years ago, I compiled a listing of what happened on my birthdays. I started keeping a 5-year Diary on my 15th birthday and with the exception of 2 1/2 years have continued to keep a Daily Journal. 

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Family Activities.

Elaine and I met Don and Gladys at the Chinese Restaurant and Mongolian Grill in Lincoln today for lunch. We not only enjoy the food but always have a good visit. We also looked over their recently acquired Chevrolet Equinox with all the “bells and whistles”. Don and Gladys have such a wonderful family that it takes these regular visits to fill in the details from what we see on facebook. We were doubly blessed by having sister Janice and Larry arrive soon after we got home. They will be with us for a couple days , then up to Wisconsin to visit family and back again for a family get-to-gather. As we finished our fried chicken supper this evening we had a phone call from Muffy Vrana who needed a Seward phone number. We had a good visit in the process and learned that Cousin Ted is in a “Memory Care” facility in Lincoln. Muffy is back in their house that experienced significant fire damage back in November. It has been a good “pre-birthday” day.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Seward Kiwanis Kitones-1995

This was the 1995 version of the Seward Kiwanis Kitones. There are only 5 of those on this picture that are still singing with the group. This was an enjoyable bunch that included Jon, our youngest son, who lived in Seward with his family at that time, and was headquartered in Lincoln with the Soil Conservation Service. It was one of the last years that Harry Gieselman led the group and his wife Lois served as accompanist. This is basically that group that sang at the Kiwanis International Convention in Salt Lake City, Utah. Harry was a friend of the Director of the Mormon Choir so we had an opportunity to set-in on one of their practices and attend their Sunday Morning radio broadcast from the Tabernacle. Several of us also had an interesting experience trying to get home in a blizzard after singing in Omaha. Jon and I spent the night in the Woodlawn Filling Station on this side of Lincoln and were able to get home the next morning. It is events like that that builds camaraderie among the group. We not only enjoy singing but have a lot of respect for each other. Our group was larger that sang at Heartland Care Facility last evening but not necessarily better than this 1995 group. 

Monday, June 22, 2015

Charleston, South Carolina

While living in Arlington, VA in the spring of 1971, we took a “southern trip”. It involved visiting our oldest son in college at Charlottesville, Va, picking up our second son from Duke and proceeded with Carolyn and Jon. Our archive of pictures contains one of the Confederate flag flying above the U.S. Flag over the State Capitol at Charleston. We had heard that was the situation but found it difficult to believe. It is unfortunate that it took the recent tragedy to prompt the change but thank goodness, it has been done.  Having grown up  in Nebraska, we always found the display of the Confederate flag questionable in Alexandria, VA. I agree that the Flag deserves a place in our Museums but like many other symbols associated with our Country’s history,  their day has come and gone.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Our Little Family

Carolyn posted this picture this morning on Face book and it generated comments throughout the day. It took me to my old Diary in an attempt to identify the specific date which I was unable to do. I was able to do as son Jon (he was the baby) did in recognizing that the calendar above the stove is turned to December. Jon’s birthday was November 22, 1954 so we are assuming that the picture was taken in late December of that year. There has been speculation on what upset Carolyn and it could have been any number of things. Tim was on his Dad’s lap and had his thumb so was content. Verlon was obviously amused at all of the activity. We lived in this little house from the spring of ’51 till March of ’55. Tim, Carolyn and  Jon were all born during that time. Jon questioned today  why the stove wasn’t moved to cover the extension cord. What he didn’t know is that the only access to our “fruit cellar” in the basement was by lifting up part of the kitchen floor that was the cellar door and walking down the steps to the basement. Had the stove been moved further toward the window, it would have been on top of the door. This house has been listed for sale on Seward Swap recently. It was built following the 1913 tornado which destroyed many homes in Seward.  It was my parents first home after they got married in 1920 as well as Elaine and my first house. It was not fancy but where we began a lifestyle of always  “living within our means” which we have continued.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Garland, Nebraska

We attended the Garland High School Alumni reunion this evening at the American Legion Hall in Garland. The last Class to graduate was in 1966 when the HS joined Seward. The building was retained as an elementary school for several more years. It has been under private ownership for a number of years but little has been done to utilize the structure. We have passed the point of it having been more years since a class was graduated than the number of years in which graduations were held. I am the only remaining member of my Class of ’42 which was the oldest class represented tonight. There were 80 Alumni
and guests at the event this evening. An excellent Buffet Dinner was catered by R.O’s. from Seward and drinks served by the Legion. The meal is a bargain and you can’t put a price tag on visiting with old friends. I have reached the place where some of the “young” people come to me for information and “gossip” they  want to confirm. The old “Germantown State Bank” was also open for visitors. Garland Volunteers under the leadership of Bob and Merna Kirkland have done a commendable job of restoring the classic old building to its earlier splendor. We hadn’t been in Garland for some time and the old town looked pretty good . 

Friday, June 19, 2015

Butterfly Milkweed

This picture of a “Butterfly Milkweed” as taken a few years ago and is a beautiful example of native flowers, Forbes, etc in native grassland. This site is on Branched Oak Road some 1 1/2 miles west of the Lancaster County line. The “Wake” watershed pond is visible in front of the car.We had occasion to drive past the location of the only such plant here within the City this afternoon. The property owner is very aware of the uniqueness of it and protects it in its location near the curb. It is beginning to bloom but just doesn’t seem to have the “vigor” that it has shown in past years. The unusual amount of rainfall that we have received this spring may have been a factor. Our back yard woody shrubs have produced an abundance of growth this spring and good mosquito habitat but Native plants are more adaptable to our average 26” annual rainfall. 

Thursday, June 18, 2015

VCR tapes

I got into our bookshelves of VCR tapes this afternoon, in the continuing efforts to reduce our amount of “stuff”’.  Many people using computers, smart phones, etc. today, have probably never had a VCR player or tape. Our collection was largely built during the ’90’s and first few years of the “10’s”. We had a VCR camera and used it on several foreign trips as well as for “special events”. Fortunately, we also had other cameras to take “still shots” along the way. We purchased a converter some years ago,  in an attempt to get some of the material transferred over to a DVDs but it has never been very successful. We are able to view them on our TV by using the camera as a projector and connecting direct. We have some “classic movies” along with our personal collection of pictures. Our tapes include a considerable amount of Duke basketball and Nebraska football that we recorded directly from the TV. Fortunately, we still have an old RCA TV in our family room in the basement that plays them very well. We have kept these with the thoughts of enjoying them when we got older and not interested in doing much of anything else. As we tossed a few in the garbage today, I’m beginning to wonder when that time may come or if maybe time has just passed them by. 

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Dr. Loyd L. Young

This picture of Loyd Young, Bob Briggs and I was taken at Kiwanis Farmers Banquet back in ’08 when the Briggs family was honored. Bob died a few years later and now, Loyd has passed  on. Loyd and I go back to the time we moved back to Seward in 1980. My work with the NRC dovetailed with what Loyd was doing with the UN-L Extension Service. We worked with many of the same people and went to the same Church on Sunday. We were in the Lincoln Center Kiwanis Club and members of the Nebraska Hall of Agriculture Achievement. By the time we both retired in 1994, Loyd suggested we take up the game of golf. We registered for Carl Everett’s "Beginning Golf Course” at Concordia and enjoyed the fall semester. The next spring we took another Community College Course and “were on our way”. We played together for a few years and eventually moved on but I might never have become a golfer, had it not been for his companionship and encouragement. Loyd enjoyed telling that his name has only one “L” because times were so tough that it was all his folks could afford.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Jack and The Future

We were happy to have Jack with us for a while today. This is the first time that he has been alone with us. He was a real good boy and appeared to be interested in whatever we talked about. I didn’t tell him about Donald Trump running for President and kicking off his campaign today. That makes 12 Republicans that have already announced. Might the large number of potential candidates be a positive sign that the Major political parties no longer have the control they have exercised in the past. Or does this mean that: “The ability to raise campaign funds” is more important than the ability to provide leadership. I look forward to being able to explain to Jack that my life’s work was the conservation of our Soil and Water Natural Resources so that they might be utilized on a sustainable basis by future generations. I doubt that Jack will be involved in a career similar to mine, but do believe he and his generation will be even more committed to the Sustainable Use of our Natural Resources than we are today. It’s not just because he’s my Great Grandson, but I’m willing to wager that whatever he does, He will be good at it.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Rosie the Riveter Myth

"The Myth of Rosie the Riveter” was the subject of a presentation by James Kimble at the Seward Library this evening. Dr. Kimble is a communications Professor at Seaton Hall in New Jersey. He told of the popular impression that this was an FDR, WWII symbol for encouraging women into factory production. In reality, it was produced by Pittsburgh artist J. Howard Miller for the Westinnghouse Company. The poster was only displayed in the Westinghouse factories for a two-week period in February of 1943. Some 40 years later it surfaced and became famous associated with feminism and was mistakenly called “Rosie The Riveter”; many myths emerged as to who the Model may have been. While it was thought for years to be a Michigan factory worker named Geraldine Hoff (Doyle), Kimble and a partner have discovered persuasive evidence that it was actually a lady from California who is still alive. Kimble has spent years tracking down the myths and searching for the “truth”.  While his efforts are commendable, I jotted in my notes during his presentation that, “What we believe to be real is often more real than what is”.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Lynette & Jack Broderick

At our Church Service this morning, Lynette Broderick reported on the Great Plains Annual Conference held in Wichita, KS June 10th-13th. This is the annual business meeting of clergy and lay people from every United Methodist Church in the conference (NE & KS). Lynette and Rev. Dale Lambert represented the Seward United Methodist Church. Lynette is a recently retired school teacher and has a special ability to “entertain” while making presentations. This morning she had a “cast” of 5 seated on chairs in front of the Church with a “gift” she had brought home to each of them. As she asked them to individually open their presents, they would ask her, what the item had to do with the conference. This was her “cue” to proceed and make a significant point. The last item was a small globe which opened the way for her to talk about new direction of Mission Programs. This item was further enforced by her being with the Minister with a basket of small chocolate balls wrapped as a globe, as we left the Sanctuary,. She and husband Jack went on to serve the treats and drinks at Social Hour. Jack was also a teacher; the positive impact they made on students is unmeasurable and they continue to utilize their special skills. Thanks to both of you for the positive impact you have had,  and continue to have on this Seward Community. 

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Nebraska Soil/Water Stewards

This picture was taken at a Governor Robert Kerrey News Conference in the State Capitol in the mid ’80’s. I was involved to provide details on a State Soil and Water Conservation Strategy that we were working on at the Natural Resources Commission. I don’t recall having ever seen the picture until a few weeks ago when Laurie sent it to me after cleaning out the files of the information fellow who had retired. We also announced at this news conference the recognition of “Nebraska Soil/Water Stewards” with a little lapel pen which I had designed.
These were paid for by contributions and distributed throughout the State by the Natural Resource Districts. I was able to present one to Dad at the time of my retirement from the Commission. He wore it very deservedly, the rest of his life. I also presented one to Lincoln's current Mayor Chris Beutler, who was on the Legislature’s Natural Resources Committee at the time. He too was very deserving of the recognition as were the hundreds across the State who received them . Many are still being worn. (They look better than the picture).

Friday, June 12, 2015

Roses and Stories

While Elaine was a lunch today with High School friends, I did some yard work and got this picture of our blooming rose bush. I used the search block at the top, left corner of the page and found that I had written on the “Last rose of Summer” in 2011 and the “First Rose” on June 9, 2014. So, I will change the subject and tell of an interesting coincidence that arose at coffee this morning. There was some mention of a lady planning an around the world boat trip. I mentioned that our oldest son had built a couple small sailing boats in Richmond, VA and had figured out how he could navigate all the way from Richmond, VA to Seward, NE on water with some motor assistance. One of our morning coffee drinkers grew up in the same neighborhood with a lad named Paul who did take such a trip after he retired up in Minnesota. It seems he took a boat down the Mississippi to the Gulf, up the East coast and through the Erie canal to the Great Lakes and back home. Now the coincidence: I worked for Paul’s Dad back in 50’s, and we would get our families together occasionally. Our son was always fascinated by a picture of St. Paul, MN, showing a bridge over the Mississippi River and learned to say, “St. Paul” when at the Grandparents house where the picture hung. Paul was 4-5 years older than our son who insisted in calling him “St. Paul”. Now after all these years I learn of those 2 boys having some thoughts in common. We lost track of the family by moving away, Paul’s Dad dying with a brain tumor, Paul and his 2 brothers all left the area after college, and his Mother also succumbed to a brain tumor after some 15-20 years  of widowhood; all before we got back to Seward.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

USDA NRCS Local Office

I got up to the local Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) Office today for the first time in over a year. We received a check in the mail for the Foundation, which I helped establish but am no longer involved, so needed to get it in the right channels. It was interesting visiting with the staff. I told a young man who had only been with the Agency for a couple years, that he probably didn’t realize how lucky he was to be able to work for NRCS. I don’t know of any studies on the lives of people who are career employees but suspect they live healthier, happier, less stressful and longer lives than the general population. The very nature of the job at the Field Office level involves a lot of physical exercise out in the country working with farmers and ranchers. The fact that their work is centered on working with agricultural producers on the sustainable use of our Natural Resources, carries over into everyday life of employees. The Federal salaries are such to provide a comfortable living but few extras, so employees learn early on to “live within their means” which eliminates a lot of stress. As I told the young man, the Agency was certainly good to me and still is, with the provided annuity benefits.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Anne Bremer at Seward Senior Center

Anne Bremer sang and entertained at the Seward Senior Center Birthday Dinner today.  Mrs. Bremer is from Lincoln and has worked in various care facilities where she “honed” her entertainment skills to go along with her beautiful voice. Her electronic equipment enabled her to call up orchestra accompaniment for any of the songs on her program. She “featured” show tunes from the ’50’s and ’60’s but mixed in a bit of Country Western and Jeanie Riley’s, “Harper Valley PTA”. She put on a good show but didn’t recognize how her “soothing voice” would effect many of the audience who were accustomed to having a nap after lunch. She finished with, “Over the Rainbow” which was a request, and did it very well. I visited with her afterwards and learned that she knows my

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Homecoming in 1980

This picture was taken 35 years ago here is Seward, soon after we had moved back after 18 years in Washington, D.C. The picnic included my parents and most of their “off springs” and spouses. There were several at this event who will not be at the one being planned for this summer. And, many more  have come along since then. While this was an event with my family, we also got together during that first summer back with Elaine’s family. We have had “Family Reunions” over the years but the event being planned for this summer looks to be special since it will recognize my birthday. 

Monday, June 8, 2015

Clematis in Bloom

We have had this Clematis vine, and another, at our entryway since we bought this house over 30 years ago. They hadn’t done as well during the past few years as in the past, but this year, the trend is being reversed. Our very wet, spring and early summer, may have had something to do with it, or possibly the mixed fertilizer I applied at the base of each plant last fall. It was probably both, but whatever the reason, we are enjoying them. Our temperature warmed up to 90 today and is forecast to be even warmer tomorrow. The humidity was down in the 40’s so that helped. We got our Air Conditioner turned on yesterday for the first time this summer which we appreciated last night and today. We are watching the Kansas City Royals vs Minnesota Twins baseball game since I got home from Kitone practice. The Royals invited several of the players' Dads to accompany the team to Minnesota. It has been most interesting as they have interviewed some of them between innings. And, a bit surprising as to how young they look (and are). 

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Old Glory

We were among the guests of the Cattle National Bank and Trust this afternoon, for the Goehner Centennial Players presentation at the Olde Glory Theater here in Seward. The Melodrama, “Egad! The Woman in White” featured local actors who displayed exceptional talent. This is the second year for the Director Patrick Runyan to present 14 performances in this venue; the former Presbyterian Church. Significant improvements have been made in the facility including additional rest rooms, lighting, scenery, sound system, etc. It was a very professional presentation. The popcorn and soda provided at intermission was also appreciated. The amount of work that is done by the stage crew, actors, musicians, and the many, many people involved is amazing. In addition to the scholarships and other assistance provided to others, from the revenue produced; I hope  the people involved get tremendous satisfaction from what they are doing. And, develop lasting friendships with all the people involved in this community activity. 

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Leadership by Elected Officials

Paid petition carriers are out today in Lincoln and Omaha, seeking signatures to curtail the provisions of the death penalty bill that was passed by the Unicameral, vetoed by the Governor, and his veto overridden by the Legislature. The petition also calls for putting the issue on the ballot for the 2016 general election. The Governor is encouraging the petition to get the issue on the ballot, since he feels  a majority of Nebraska voters support retention of the death penalty. Our Senator Mark Kolterman supported the passage and the Governors veto override. As a citizen, I support the elimination of the death penalty and suspect the majority of voters in Kolterman's 24th District may as well. However, I believe Senator Kolterman, and the 30 who voted to override the Governor's veto, did so in providing the leadership we expect of elected officials, without necessarily following the wishes of the majority of their constituents. The challenge of leadership is in being able to sense how far out front the leaders can go, without loosing most of their followers. That sixth “sense” is what determines the effectiveness of a politician. Leadership by definition implies being out front with ideas that will be beneficial for the organization. I respect Senator Kolterman and those who supported the override for their courage and commitment to the long range “good of the State” even if a majority of voters may not agree. But, I believe they will. 

Friday, June 5, 2015

“66” and Counting

“66" and counting. The Owens family and Carolyn joined us this evening for an Anniversary Dinner at the Seward Country Club. It was great to have the Great-Grandchildren with us to help celebrate. It was interesting to brief John on some of the Wedding details of so many years  ago, and was even neater to have Sadie and Jack there representing the future. "Nate’s on the Nine" serve a good prime rib and provided a piece of complementary Cheese Cake for us to enjoy after getting home. We had a great Anniversary with calls and messages from several family members and friends, as well as from the lady who calls
nearly daily “with very important information on our credit card account”. We have not moved into the 21 century with “caller ID” and having reported it on the “Do Not Call List” as well as pushing all the buttons to stop calls, hasn’t stopped her calls. Jack is at the stage where he seems to change every time we see him. He sits up by himself on a blanket and reaches for toys to play with. He likes to suck his thumb and even got his toe in his mouth this evening. I like to think that he has some of my genes that went into his big hands. He does look more like Julie did as a baby than has Sadie. When Carolyn called to say that Julie had arrived, she said: “Dad, she’s got big hands, big feet and big ears. She looks just like you”. I was honored and she has matured into a beautiful young lady and Mother. 

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Dr. Dale A. Hansen, MD

Good News!!! Dr. Dale Hansen performed a coronary angiogram on me this morning and didn’t find blockage to warrant the insertion of a stent or any other procedure at this time. He will write up a report on his findings and recommendation to discuss with our family Doctor Summa. While I’m sure it will include many unfamiliar medical terms, the most optimistic words I heard him say was, “I wish my heart was in as good a condition as yours”.  There may be some followup on my shortness of breath, but it is something I can “cope with” if nothing else shows up. 
It was a full day with Carolyn picking us up at 5:30, checking in at 6:30 and being in my hospital “apron”, answering nurses questions by 7:30. The actual procedure was done between 9 and 10:00am. I was given a “Chicken Pot Pie” for lunch at 11:00 and released about 2:00pm.
We were home by 3:00 and eating apple pie and ice cream soon after. We were very impressed with Dr. Hansen’s professionalism; as we were with the many staff people with whom we were in contact. Words cannot explain the help and support that Carolyn provided to both Elaine and I. She not only provided door-to-door transportation, but helped with carrying out some of the instructions, was able to send out email messages to family, and to brighten our spirits with “Sadie Stories” and pictures on her phone of Jack .  We have had responses from all of her messages to share the Good News. We have had rain most of the day, but the white peony is representative of a very bright day.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Cardiac Catheterization

I am scheduled to enter Bryan East Hospital in Lincoln tomorrow morning and have a Cardiac Catheterization procedure. This follows a recent Stress Test that showed some reason for my shortness of breath when exercising. As I understand, a catheter is inserted in the groin area and threaded up to the heart. If exploratory information suggest that a stent would be beneficial to increase blood flow, it will be inserted during the process. I realize this is personal information that you may not expect to see on a blog page but it is done for family, friends and for myself. This makes an excellent record of what we were involved with at a given time. I find the little “search block” at the top, left corner of the home page, most useful in going back to see “what” and “when” certain things have been mentioned. In preparing for our Kiwanis 50th Anniversary, it was useful in bringing up several blogs in which I referred to the Kitones. Jack and I got together a couple times today in our continuing efforts to plan for the event. Our Kiwanis Club is at a challenging communication point. In 1996, 17% of our membership was on email and today, we have about 10% that are still not. Up until 5 years ago we had an excellent booklet, published each year that was Key to communication. Eventually, all of our members will use social media but are now in transition.  

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Progress ??

Demolition continues in Seward as the Building that housed the Seward County Agricultural Extension Office for the past several years came down today. It was built on a County owned, City block that has long been the site of the County Jail. That facility is being expanded to a “Justice Center” necessitating the removal of the Extension building. The basic part of the building was a Behlen steel structure similar to what was used by US in early Atomic bomb test. As I began my career with USDA Soil Conservation 
Service, we parked our trucks in an old wooden building located on this very site. That building had been built for the CCC program back in the ’30’s and moved to Seward after WW II. The little house at the left edge of the picture, is across highway #34, and another point of interest to me. It was moved to its current location during the ’30’s from the City School Grounds. It was the Kindergarden building and where I spent my first year in school. A new elementary building was build the next year where I went to 1st grade until moving out to the old Vrana farm north of Garland. That “new” school building was demolished during the past year. With so many changes, it’s nice to have Peonies that stay the same, year after year.

Monday, June 1, 2015

Wineries and Grape Production in Nebraska

Dr. Paul Read with the University of Nebraska IANR provided the program today at our Kiwanis meeting. His subject was the Nebraska Grape and Wine Industry. The number of Wineries in the State has increased from just a very few 20 years ago, to some 30 today. His Department  works with Producers in the selection of cultivars, with wineries in production of various wines, and  the promotion of the industry. The University  carries out  research on various varieties just as has been done over the years with Corn, Soybeans, Wheat, Milo and other Agricultural grains. 
He asked our thoughts on the percentage of wine from the Napa Valley related to the total sold in California and announced it was only 4%. He also told of California being the leading state beyond Nebraska for the consumption of our State Wines.  It varies according to varieties but normally a crop can be harvested during the 3rd year after planting. It may take a bit longer to reach full production of 4 to 5 tons/acre.  The wineries are currently paying around $1,500.00/ton. (75 cents/pound).  Our White Wines are in higher demand than the reds at this time.