Elaine and I had lunch at the Olive Garden in Lincoln today. We had a couple other stops to make including the Big Sales at Dillard's. Elaine got a little jacket and I got a sport shirt (with a pocket). It had been some time since we had been to the Olive Garden but the Soup, Salad and Breadsticks Special is hard to beat. I even enjoyed my 2nd bowl of soup. We saw some of the “State Games of America” activity with people around shooting stations on the north side of Superior Street, west of ‘48th. We also got close-up looks at the large wind generators. We met a couple trucks with portions of the towers on our way down. As we came back into Seward, traffic was being controlled into one lane because of three different trucks, each hauling a propeller blade, were stopped but partially blocked the right lane. It’s difficult to believe just how large those things are until you get close to them.
Thursday, July 30, 2015
Yes, we were there on July 4, 1975 when Harold Davisson dedicated the Time Capsule which is covered with a pyramid on Davisson property here in Seward. We were living in Arlington, VA at the time but were back in Seward visiting family and friends. Our youngest son Jon, who was 20 years old at the time, contributed his draft card to the Capsule. Among numerous other things, it also includes a new Chevy Vega automobile. I understand that the Capsule is to be opened on July 4th, 1925 which we are rapidly approaching. The Capsule is a 20’x10’x6’ box of concrete and steel with walls, bottom and top, all 1 foot thick. While it was originally covered with dirt and marked with a sculpture called, “Utter Futility”, the sculpture was replaced in 1982 with a Pyramid that is 30’x29’x15 feet and also constructed of 12’ thick reinforced concrete walls. The Pyramid also contains an assortment of items including a “beat-up” old Toyota. It will be interesting to see how many people who were there in 1975 will be back in 2025 for the opening. And even more interesting, how many of those will have one of these buttons.
Wednesday, July 29, 2015
Elaine and I had appointments with Dr. Mousolf, our Optamologist in Lincoln this afternoon. After having cancelled an appointment earlier this spring when I went to Miami, FL, we hadn’t seen him for nearly a year. We came out pretty well but Elaine will go back in 3-Months for a further check. My next appointment is a year from now. He was even satisfied than neither of us would benefit by changing the lenses of our glasses. Elaine and I even go through most of the examinations together as well as discussions with the Dr. It helps each of us to hear what is being said. After our eyes were dilated this afternoon, we had some 20 minutes alone in the room. There were charts on the wall similar to the drawing shown, and I wondered just what happened when
eyes are dilated. As I understand, the colored part of the eye is called the iris. It controls light levels inside the eye similar to the aperture on a camera. The round opening in the center of the iris is called the pupil. The iris is embedded with tiny muscles that dilate (widen) and constrict (narrow) the pupil size. The pupil is the black circular opening in the center of the iris. It opens and closes in order to regulate the amount of light entering the eyeball. My eyes return to normal more quickly than Elaine’s, but we still spent some time in the Ag Campus Dairy Store giving them some extra time to constrict.
Tuesday, July 28, 2015
We had some Photographer photographs taken at the time of our family get-to-gather/Birthday party a couple weeks ago and just finished ordering the prints. As often happens we spent more than we intended but many of them are very nice. Elaine and I spent one evening making our #1 & 2nd choice in each of the 6 categories of settings. There were about 6 choices in each of the settings. All of this was done on my laptop and it was necessary to enlarge each of the pictures, one at a time, to see the details. As much as I appreciate the computer, I remember the “Old Days” of being able to lay proofs out side-by-side to compare them. We also had some question as to what our Kids and Grandkids may be ordering so there were several phone calls involved. While it was a bit stressful in getting our order placed, I think we will be very happy with the final product. And it did give us an excuse to talk to some of the family tonight. All of this while watching the Royals beat the Indians 2-1 on a Hosmer HR in the top of the 9th inning and an outstanding defensive play by Infante and Escobar in the bottom of the 9th.
Monday, July 27, 2015
Denny and Jeff presented a program on the Seward County Public Transit system this noon at Kiwanis. It is a service available to residents throughout the County and not limited to any age group. It is most helpful for elderly people to get to medical appointments, Denny also told of young people utilizing it for going to Lincoln shopping, etc. There is a modest charge but certainly less than the cost of gasoline. They also told of some pleasure trips and last spring even took a group to Omaha to visit the Laurentzen Gardens. It is another one of the services that makes Seward and Seward County a very desirable place to live. They can be reached at: 402-643-4067
Sunday, July 26, 2015
There is nothing like feeling you got a good buy at an auction to make it a good day. That is the case today with these 5 magazines at an Underwood conducted auction for Steve Smiths. They are all in great condition and dated in 1940, 1951, 1961, 1978, and 1983. What a great coverage of over 40 years of our history during the years I remember so well. I have been through every page of the May 6, 1940 Life with the cover picture and lead story of the German Attack of Norway. The headline is, “How America got the news of Norway’s Benedict Arnolds”. I want to read the story but it appears to provide a much different slant than what we were told by the Tour Guide when we visited Norway a few years ago. The full-page Chevrolet, Ford, Plymouth, Nash, Buick, Mercury Ad’s were most interesting. There are cigarette and whisky ad’s as well as for Whitman’s Sampler candy. It’s full page ad mentions Mother’s Day and says, “There’s no hurt like forgetting...There’s no joy like being remembered”. A Whitman’s Sampler was probably the first gift I ever gave to Elaine and the last one was this past Mother’s Day. She may even get one for her birthday coming up in September. Oh yes, I out-bid “Tommy Tucker” and got all 5 magazines for $4.00 +26cents tax.
Saturday, July 25, 2015
I came across this picture of the Vrana home place dated August 13, 1946, this afternoon. It was apparently taken to show our new yard gate. Our ’37 Chevy adds to the interest of the setting. A picture like this brings back a raft of memories. WWII was over, and we were farming 3 places in addition to the “home place”. I used the Model A John Deere and Don, who had just graduated from Garland HS, used the Oliver 70. Dad did a lot of farming of the home place with horses. The new white gate was really a symbol of our having money available to buy lumber and enjoy such “luxeries". This gate and the one up next to the house were part of the new yard fence to keep the chickens out of the front yard and garden. It was also during August of 1946 that Don Armstrong, Bub Wilken, brother Don and I drove sister Vivian’s Model A Ford through the Badlands of South Dakota, the Black Hills and on to Yellowstone National Park. Elaine and I didn’t meet until a few months later and the next year we rented the farm north of Staplehurst. While we continued to live in both places for a couple years, this picture helps mark the end of a Chapter that began with our move to the farm on February 8, 1932. The next Chapter began as Elaine alerted me to a job with the Soil Conservation Service and additional Chapters followed.
Friday, July 24, 2015
This was one of our warmest days of the summer with the heat index in Lincoln reaching 114 degrees. The air temperature reached 99 degrees. We dug potatoes this morning as soon as I got home from coffee before it got too hot. We only had a few plants on the south side of the house but got right at 10 pounds. They hardly compare with the ones we enjoyed yesterday at the Potato Bake but will give us a taste of “home grown spuds”. We were late in getting our Tomato plants in on the west side of the house, but they are coming along nicely. Our vegetable gardening today is a small token of what we did when we had the farm 30 years ago. Our age may have something to do with that as well. Our garden was in what had been an old hog lot and the fertile black soil was most productive and a pleasure to work with. We also had bailed straw to use as mulch and a faucet near by for water if necessary. In addition to providing vegetables to family, the Seward Farmers Market was our major outlet for the abundant production. Gardening was one of our chief pleasures at the farm.
Thursday, July 23, 2015
While our Son from Richmond did a lot of “home maintenance” during the few days he was here recently, there were a few things left for “Ole Dad”. The extra amount of rain we received this spring stimulated the trees toward abundant new growth. While he and “the boys” did some work on the Maple in the front yard, the River Birches in the backyard got trimmed today. The 10’ pole with a cutter and saw is a very handy tool for such a job. The cutter can handle limbs up to about a half inch and beyond that its necessary to use the saw. The cutter is activated by pulling the rope against a spring-leaded “knife”. It works good.
Wednesday, July 22, 2015
I didn’t take this picture but did see a similar looking Humming Bird at our Oriole feeder this morning. We were at the breakfast table when a 3-colored cat was spotted in our back yard. Elaine got my Red Ryder out of the closet and when I went out to scare off the cat, the Humming Bird flew away. I didn’t see that cat nor the old yellow one the rest of the day, but likely one or both will be back in the morning. We cleaned up the Oriole feeder yesterday and put on a new jar of Grape Jelly which may have helped attract it. There was a time when I thought I knew quite a bit about birds, but now find that just about every one I drink coffee with knows more about birds than I do. A couple of the fellows are very knowledgeable and one of them has listed some 60 species already this year right in the community. This mornings discussion of birds was rather short but still got as much time as Donald Trump.
Tuesday, July 21, 2015
I met an old golfing friend who I hadn’t seen for some time at a local store this noon. He had just come in from the Senior Mens Golf League. Our discussion brought back many happy memories. It made me wonder if I should get back out one of these days. It also made me realize that I have a lot of golf equipment that could be used by someone else (recycled). My "playing bag" has remained in tact since last summer’s Kiwanis golf outing, However, I pulled out my Intech MOI 10.5 460cc Forged 7075 Driver with an intermediate
flex shaft and is included with my other Drivers as well as the close-up of the bottom of its head. It was 21 years ago that I bought a set of used Callaway clubs from a friend and bought a Driver and a couple fairway “woods”. Over the years, I get into the Hybrids, etc. but never spent a lot of money on any of them. I don’t feel that any of the clubs “owe me” anything but do need to get rid of most of them. I may try “Seward Swap” on Facebook to check on the local market. After attending an auction last Saturday where things were not bringing what one would expect, it makes one wonder if gifting things to charitable organizations might be better than trying to sell them at an auction.
Monday, July 20, 2015
Dr. Chuck Braithwaite on the faculty at UN-L and with the Speaker’s Bureau presented the program of, “African Americans on the Great Plains” at Kiwanis this noon. He told of how," People of African descent have been in the Great Plains since at least 1528. Their experiences have been as diverse as any other immigrant to this part of the United States, although they faced many more challenges than other cultural groups. The story of African Americans on the Great Plains is one of making of new communities, being soldiers and creating businesses, battling prejudice and discrimination, struggling for civil rights, and contributing to the cultural growth of America.” His several stories of individuals was most interesting. In many instances it seemed that as people became involved with African Americans on a more personal basis, they were treated as equals. I can personally vouch for that from my experience as Director of Personnel for the USDA Soil Conservation Service some years ago. I remember of being invited out to Dinner in the home of friends after a day of recruitment at one of the 1890 Land Grant Colleges. They had also invited in a few others, and it wasn’t until we had finished dessert, set back to relax, that I realized I was the only white person in the house.
Sunday, July 19, 2015
I was among this group of “graduates” from the Soil Conservation Service Training Center in Comanche Hall at Ft. Robinson Nebraska in February of 1959. We were a class of Engineering Technicians being trained to relieve the scarce, professional engineers of many of their duties. It was a very intense 4-week course that might have been equivalent to some 12-15 college hours of study. We had moved from Seward to Lincoln a few months earlier and I was working on PL-566 Watershed construction projects and as an inspector. This course was a stepping stone that motivated me through college courses on the way towards Engineering College. However after being chosen for an Administrative Trainee position, I transferred my 70 college hours to Business Administration and went on to get my BA and MBA. It worked out well since I was able to advance in the Civil Service system to the Senior Executive Service level which would probably not have happened had I become an Engineer. I was very fortunate in my Federal Career and recognize that many people contributed to my advancement. No one more than my wife of 66 years, Elaine. (I am the 3rd guy from the left in the back row in from of the tall fellow.)
Saturday, July 18, 2015
This is a copy of Jean-Francois Millet’s, “The Angelus” that was among the many beautiful things on the Friesen Auction that was held this morning at the 4-H Building at the Fair Grounds. Millet’s companion picture of “The Gleaners” was also auctioned. After taking pictures of them, I came home; and, Elaine reminded me that we had “The Gleaners” that had hung on the north wall of the Flowerday dining room during the years of her childhood. While I was familiar with the pictures, the available Internet “research” of the Artist and his paintings was most interesting.
Here is Elaine holding the family heirloom copy of “The Gleaners”. It is a bit larger than those at the auction and in beautiful condition. Her only recollection is of it “always” hanging on the dining room wall and our inheriting it. While it is commonly accepted that “The Angelus” depicts a husband and wife in prayer while the Church bells rang in the distance after having dug their basket of potatoes; Salvador Dali insisted that this was a funeral scene, not a prayer ritual and the couple were praying and mourning over their dead infant. Although this was an unpopular view, at his insistence the Louvre X-rayed the painting showing a small coffin over-painted by the basket. There are more great stories on both pictures. I wonder if they were among the many beautiful pictures we were able to see while visiting the Louvre some years ago.
Friday, July 17, 2015
This is what the Desktop of our HP monitor looked like on the PC this afternoon at 5:30pm with the Lincoln temperature shown at 100 degrees. We did very little outdoors today except for some watering. We did run the Buick through the car wash after Elaine, Verlon and Ken got it in the mud at the old Flowerday farm yesterday. Verlon’s 6:00pm flight out of Lincoln last evening was delayed by weather in the Chicago area. By the time he got to Chicago, the flight to Richmond had left so he spent the rest of the night on a cot in the airport since the local hotels were full. He called from Richmond later this morning and told of the experience. Elaine and I spent most of the day just “getting back to normal”. We have certainly enjoyed and appreciated all the company and activities over the past 3 weeks but “Normal” has its virtues. Janice called to say they were back home in Merced, CA after having been gone for over 3 weeks. This evening we finished watching a DVD that our Niece, Sandy Vercellino left with us when she, Mick, and Gina Jo were out for the party last Saturday. We had watched part of it earlier when the kids were here and thoroughly enjoyed the whole “show”. It was a compilation of 1960-70’s Soucek VCR tapes that had been edited and placed on the Disc. It primarily included family events, Holidays, Reunions, Vacation trips, Weddings, etc. We forgot how young our parents looked 40 years ago. I want to talk to Sandy about how she did the excellent job of putting it all together since we have a bunch of VCR tapes, too, that should be on a DVD.
Thursday, July 16, 2015
Kenneth Flowerday came out from Lincoln this morning to visit with his cousin (our son Verlon) and go out to the farm where their Flowerday Grandparents lived for many years. Shown here is Elaine, Verlon and Ken who took the selfie. This farm is where Elaine was born and where her parents lived until after all four of our children were born. The farm has been sold a couple times since they left it and most of the buildings demolished. All that remains is the barn, windmill, and corncrib. Verlon has many fond memories of the place which we visit nearly every time he gets back from Virginia.
Kenneth is younger, had never visited his Grandparents while they lived on the farm but has heard many of the family stories about it. Kenneth’s father Dale and Elaine have had a very close Sister-Brother relationship over the years. Each have 4 children and our Carolyn being the only girl. When the kids were young, we got together very frequently; but our move to Virginia and their moves curtailed our closeness. This visit today was a most enjoyable opportunity toward renewing a closer relationship. After lunch, Kenneth told of some of the stories that he and his brothers have compiled. One of them had been written by Grandma Flowerday telling of having to carry a Railroad Rail out to her Father to use in repairing a piece of horse drawn farm machinery when she was about 10 years old. As Ken told the story, I remembered that we had that very 8 1/2” section of Rail out in the garage. I had no idea of its history but have used it for many years to crush ice while making ice cream. We really enjoyed the visit and look forward to more.
Wednesday, July 15, 2015
The Kiwanis Club of Seward, NE celebrated its 50th Anniversary, Monday July 13, 2015. Shown here is Senator Mark Kolterman who has just completed his first legislative session in the Nebraska Unicameral. He is a local insurance agent and past President of the Kiwanis Club. Courtney Meyer, seated at Mark’s left who was MC for the event, is also a past President. To Mark’s right is Marv Taylor, co-chair of the Anniversary committee and Steve McNally, Governor of the NE-IA District. Kiwanis International is celebrating its 100th Anniversary this year. The event was attended by some 200 individuals. Jack Duensing who served as co-chair along with Taylor, is the only current member, among our nearly 100, who was a Charter Member. It was a great event with several neighboring Kiwanis Clubs represented. The mission of Kiwanis is “Serving the Children of the World” by “Improving the World, One Child at a Time”. I am pleased to have been a member of the Seward Club for 23 years and was it’s Distinguished President in 1997.
Tuesday, July 14, 2015
What you see here is my pen and glasses case (with glasses) attached to a paper sack with stuff to go to the City Recycle Center. With all of our activity the past couple weeks, we had an unusual amount to load up this morning. I typically carry the glasses case, pen and writing pad in my shirt pocket; with the case and pen clipped on. After getting dressed this morning, I picked up my keys, billfold and the shirt pocket items, and did a couple chores in the basement and outside the house. We then collected all the recycle containers and loaded them into the trunk. Verlon handed me the pictured paper sack which contained plastic items that didn’t fit into the regular container. When things were loaded, I went back in the house to read the paper but couldn’t find my glasses nor my pen. After retracing my steps 3-4 times, I decided to go through all of the recyclable material in the trunk. The picture shows what was found when I got back to one of the sacks in the front of the trunk. We realized that I put the sack against my chest in the process of leaning over to put it in the trunk. The sharp edge of the sack very efficiently slipped up under the clips on my glasses case and pen and transferred them to the sack. I don’t know when I have ever been so baffled by misplacing something.
Monday, July 13, 2015
We have been overjoyed the past several days with our family and friends here to help celebrate my big birthday. The culmination of the event was on Saturday with family staying over and then tonight we have a 50th Anniversary celebration of the Kiwanis Club of Seward. I volunteered to put together a DVD of pictures which I have scanned and will show them on monitors in the building during social hour. Shown here is “Fritzie” Juergensen whose husband “J” was the Clubs first President and she kept scrapbooks of the Clubs activities for nearly 40 years. Jack Duensing is also shown who is the only charter members remaining with the Club. Jack has had a leadership role in the planning and conducting of the event. I will catch my breath after these two major events are over and get back to my daily post.
Wednesday, July 8, 2015
The Home Maintenance phase of the family get-to-gather began this afternoon with the removal of a couple limbs from our Maple tree in the front yard. While the Hard Hats may look out of line for what is shown, they were appropriate for doing the necessary ground work while the limb was being cut. There were 15 of us that went up to the Quonset in Staplehurst to eat this evening. We were very pleased with the food. We had a “family meeting” back at our house to make further arraignments for the Saturday event. It was a disturbing day with the New York Stock Exchange and United Airlines flights being grounded because of computer problems. If that wasn’t enough, we watched Alex Gordon go down with was appeared to be a serious knee injury.
Tuesday, July 7, 2015
Monday, July 6, 2015
This is our family as we appeared in 1992. I bring it out since the family is gathering this week in preparation for getting together this weekend and having another “family” picture taken. We will also be fortunate in having our 5 grandchildren and 2 great grandchildren included. Carolyn, her husband and family live here in Seward; Tim and his family came in Friday from Indiana; and, Verlon, Jon and family are scheduled to arrive tomorrow from Virginia. We have all “matured” a bit during the 23 years since this picture was taken but have generally all enjoyed good health. We have been together for various occasions during the interim but believe it will be the first time since ’92 of having a professional photographer involved
Sunday, July 5, 2015
Here is a few of the people that were on our yard and driveway for the parade yesterday. Tim has Jack, with he and Laura joining Tony all sitting in the “front row” next to the curb. Maggie, Carolyn & Ben and the Owens family are to the left of the picture. My chair was next to Elaine who is visiting with Cheryl and her mother who drove out from Lincoln. Cheryl works at the Nebraska Department of Natural Resources and is only one of two who are still with the agency from the time I was there. We did a lot of catching up on changes. We are always pleased to have Shirley and her daughter join us as they have for years.
The Parade was quite typical with fire trucks, old tractors, Big Farm equipment, HS Alumni Classes, Czech Queens, Politicians, SHS Band, Musical Groups and a quasi Streaker. Honoring the WWII Veterans was very commendable. My favorite entry was this old Model A Ford which I could relate to most closely. I do wonder about the practice of nearly every entry throwing candy out in the street and kids crowding out into the street to fill their sacks. Our guests all did an excellent job of cleaning up their debris.
Saturday, July 4, 2015
Our small town of 7,000 people expands to some 40,000 for the 4th of July celebration. We have been recognized as Small Town USA for our 4th celebration and this year is no exception. The numbers have probably even grown with the ground breaking of the Nebraska National Guard Museum. The Kiwanis Kitones are shown here backstage ahead of our 12:00 noon performance at the Civic Center. If we discount the age of two “young guys” our average age is 80.5.
One of our family highlights was seeing Great Grandson Jack crawl. He has been able to move around for the past few days but decided this evening that this could be his “recorded” date. We are so pleased to have Tim, Laura, Tony and Maggie here to visit. And, more that ever we so appreciate Carolyn and Ben being right here in town to do so much to help us as we grow older. Julie, John, Sadie and Jack are another valuable treasure right here in town. We are so Blessed to live in this Great County, in a Great Community among old friends and have family here to celebrate our Country’s Birthday. And, to look forward to additional family coming in next week.
Friday, July 3, 2015
“If a task has once begun. Never leave it till it's done. Be the labor great or small. Do it well or not at all.”―Anonymous
My Dad lived by this saying. He embossed it into my “being” as indelibly as any of the great truths. I have no idea of the number of times that I heard him say to me, “Be the labor great or small. Do it well or not at all”. I’m satisfied that it was a part of Dad’s Czech heritage. Mother’s Irish heritage brought a differing philosophy which could be summed up as, “Get r Done” or that “perfection is the enemy of good”. We learn by experience that “it depends” on what we are doing. In my comments yesterday, I complained of not having a pocket on my Kitone shirt. So with Elaine’s sewing skills and willingness to do something beneath her normal standards, she sewed a pocket on my shirt. It is an extra large size shirt with a long tail from which I cut the “pocket”; using the bottom seam of the shirt as the top of the pocket. Elaine did the audios task of hemming the edges and then applying it to the shirt. I am very well pleased with the way it turned out. A professional Taylor or seamstress might detect that it wasn’t perfect. It will serve my purpose and who looks that closely at an Old Man’s Shirt Pocket. Mother would be pleased that my wife of 66 years could still make me happy by doing something special. And, I will have a smile on my face as we conclude the program this evening with the singing of “God Bless America”.
Thursday, July 2, 2015
The “4th of July” spirit has already struck Seward. Waldo has been spotted around town (and I expect to see him in Church Sunday). The Kitones are scheduled to play a role in the “Bob Hope Show” which will be held at the Seward Band Shell tomorrow evening at 7:00 pm. We will help get the party started by opening the program with the singing of American Heroes; a tribute to the US Armed Forces. As I understand, “Bob Hope will invite the Kitones back up to sing God Bless America and then he will invite everyone to stand and sing it again to conclude the program".
.We are also scheduled to sing at Noon on the 4th at the Civic Center Auditorium as the Kitones have for the past Many, Many Years. The above picture is from our 2011 “concert” and the one on the left from 2014. We have joined society in a less formal manner of dress. Our Director has said that we sing better when we dress up but even he has conceded to the informal polo shirt style. I have only one legitimate complaint about the polo shirts, and it is that they don’t have a pocket. What to do with your glasses when you can’t walk a straight line with them on and can’t see to sing without them.
Wednesday, July 1, 2015
The State Flag lights have been installed, the grass has greened up and ready for the Final Dedication of the Seward Parade of Flags on Monday evening, July 13 at 5:00pm. Gus Dornbusch, former NE_IA District Kiwanis Governor and US Army Veteran of Vietnam will be the Speaker. (Gus is also a fellow retiree of the USDA Natural Resource Conservation Service) The event will be followed with a Banquet recognizing the 50year Anniversary of the Kiwanis Club of Seward. Kiwanis International celebrates its 100th anniversary this year as well . Tickets are still available for the Seward Banquet which will be held at the Harvest Hall at the Seward County Fair Grounds in Seward. Courtney Meyer, a former Club President, will be MC for the event and NE Senator Mark Kolterman, also a former Club President, will be the main speaker. Scrap books kept for nearly 40 years by Fritzi Jourgensen, wife of the Clubs 1st President “J” Jourgensen, along with other memorabilia and pictures will also be available during social hour. In addition to the normally outstanding 4th of July celebration and a July 11th Family Reunion, we have a couple busy weeks ahead of us.