Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Jack and his Sister Sadie

Jack and his Mother Julie came to visit this afternoon. Sadie had been up with her Grandmother Carolyn so they came down also. We see the kids about once a week and its amazing how much they change, especially Jack. He has become so much more expressive with his facial features and sounds. Given a choice of toys, he invariably chooses the balls, trucks, tractors or anything with wheels. He and Sadie seem to be developing a brother - sister relationship of “fighting” one minute and “hugging” the next. Sadie led all of us in a songfest-dance as they prepared to leave. She has some of the same “moves” that we see on TV which take some imagination to call it “dance”. Her singing voice is strong and low pitched. While we did the alphabet songs with all the words, she is perfectly capable of composing her own words and music as the spirit moves her. Some of us have trouble following, but there is never any question as to who is the leader. Even Jack has already figured that out. And, they make us pretty proud Great Grandparents. 

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Black Hills Energy project.

In mid-August we noticed little white flags marking out a line on the east side of 1st street from Main Street, a block and a half south of us to Lincoln Avenue, some 4 blocks to the north. The flags were about 5’ from the street curb line. A few days later we received a letter from Black Hills Energy, which provides our Natural gas, saying they were “upgrading their system”.  After many days of having our street filled with construction equipment; a new plastic main was laid largely by underground drilling to replace the old metal pipe. Small “feeder lines” were run up to the houses, and gas was switched to the new line today. We had some concern about the feeder line coming to our meter on the side of our house, but they ran the new line through the old pipe which required very little disruption to our lawn or problem with our underground lawn sprinkler system. The construction fellows came in and re lit the pilot light on our hot water heater without any problem. However, it was necessary for them to have a gas company technician install a new thermo coupling to keep the furnace pilot light lit. We were pleased for this to be done  before cold weather arrives. They still have a lot of “lawn work and seeding” to do along our street but hopefully we will have a long, warm fall.

Monday, September 28, 2015

Kiwanis Annual Installation Program

The Kiwanis Club of Seward held their Installation Dinner this evening. Josh Fields was installed as President for the coming Kiwanis year which begins October 1. Pictured here is Roger Mailand recognizing Cliff Lowell as the Layperson of the year. Cliff has served as program chairman and provided excellent speakers for weekly meetings throughout the year. Cliff also plays the piano for our singing, Jane Jensen was also recognized as the Kiwanian of the Year for the many things she does as Chair of the Headstart Reading program. Other Officers and Board Members were also installed. The Kitones sang and a Speaker from UN-L related the similarity of Nebraska Football to Ancient Roman Religion. One of his comparisons was the stability and continuation of the Traditional Roman Catholic Church music with the Nebraska Football music where the same music is played in the same way and in the same order as it has been done for years. Some of us wish our Kiwanis Club would have continued some of our traditional communication systems and had printed programs for Annual Installation meetings where many names are involved, including the name of the Speaker.

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Utica Senior Center Fish Fry

We went to Utica this evening for their Senior Center Annual Fish Fry fund raiser. We went at the personal invitation of Dick Rhodes who is shown here with his brother cooking the fish outside the Center building. Their sister Joyce is the Director of the Center. The fish was very good as were the beans and coleslaw. There was a wide dessert selection  of cakes and ice cream. Joyce brought her peach topping to put on the ice cream. Jay acknowledged that he had given her the peaches.  They have recently added display cases to what had been a game room to show Utica memorabilia. Denny Richters was pleased to point out the Class D State Basketball Championship Trophy from 1957 with his name inscribed. 

He and I have had many political discussions over the years, and we spent more time discussing the current presidential candidates than we did looking at the Utica memorabelia. We did agree on our hope that the Pope’s visit may help slow the growing divide in this Country. It was a beautiful evening for the 15 minute drive to Utica. We took another 15 minute drive out in the Ridge Run Area and took this picture of the eclipse of the moon. This is what it looked like in Seward, NE about 8:50pm. It was moving quite swiftly and by now (9:10), I’m sure it’s covered. 

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Not a real good Day

I would like to write on Nebraska’s football win over Southern Mississippi by a score of 36-28 but it wasn’t carried on our Time Warner package so I didn’t get to see it. From what I heard on radio, I’ve decided to adhere to the adage that if you can’t say something good, it’s best to not say anything. We watched some of the C-Span coverage of Pope Francis in Philadelphia today but would have difficulty saying anything about some of the entertainment provided him this evening. The Royals are having a hard time winning another game after clinching the Division title. The highlight of our day was when Carolyn stopped by this morning and brought us up to date on current activities. 

Friday, September 25, 2015

Convergence of World Leaders

Are we witnessing some sort of Harmonic Convergence with Pope Francis in the United States, China President Xi Jinping meeting with President Obama this morning in Washington, and Russian President Vladimir Putin meeting with President Obama on Monday in New York City? While it may not compare with the August 16-17, 1987,  Harmonic Convergence of the world’s first globally synchronized meditation events which coincided with an exceptional alignment of planets in our solar system, it does seem unusual. Is it possible that some Divine Intervention may take place to allow agreement on controversial issues? We have already heard Speaker John Boehner tell of the impact the Pope had on him. While he had considered resignation earlier, after the Pope asked Speaker Boehner in a private moment, to pray for him, he decided to announce his resignation this morning after praying about his own future. The eclipse of the moon on Sunday evening seems pretty commonplace in comparison to this convergence of leadership.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Pope Francis before Congress

Pope Francis is shown here as he addressed the joint session of Congress this morning. I was very impressed by his message and supportive of most of what he encourages. It is apparent that his positions are based on a much longer time frame than most of our politicians . He doesn’t have to worry about getting elected; he is already there. I trust that his positions on climate change and the sustainable use of our natural resources will have a profound effect on our policy makers. He may be of help in resolving the increasing divide between the Republicans and Democrats. While many of his positions fit into the Democratic platform, the Republican Catholic policy makers have heard his positions. I think this Country and the World would be a better place if we all listened carefully to what he says.  

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Albert Flowerday and Prince Albert

While I write my daily blog and Elaine reads it over before I click the “publish button”, It seemed appropriate tonight for Elaine to tell this story about her Dad, Albert Flowerday and Prince Albert.    "This is the tobacco that my Dad always smoked in his pipe as well as in roll-your-own cigarettes.  This can was among the many keepsakes I found when the folks’ house was cleared for their sale.  Even after this many years, it still has the unique smell of “Prince Albert”.  His present under the Christmas tree each year was always some Prince Albert tobacco. The sealed bag containing the tobacco inside this  can, has never been opened.   During those years men smoked in the house or car as they wished.  We always knew when he was home as the house always smelled of Prince Albert.  “ 
I will pick up here and “finish the story” because of the mixed emotions for Elaine associated with his smoking. While she has the happy memories  of the pleasure Albert got from his smoking,  he died at the age of 82 of lung cancer. He died just a year and a half before we moved back to Seward after our being gone from the community for 22 years. Elaine’s Mother and my parents were all with us for some time after we got back which we all appreciated. However, Albert would have so enjoyed at least of bit of time with us being here as we would have enjoyed him on a daily basis in his later years. 

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Garage Sale Prizes

We haven’t been to many Garage sales the last couple years since we have focused more on “stuff” reduction rather than accumulation. However, we weakened last Saturday and found some “bargains”. Elaine has been designated as the one to bring Deviled Eggs to any of our family dinners. She has had a Deviled Egg plate for a few years that matches our china, however when she saw this pictured plate, with legs, she couldn’t resist. We have a birthday coming up in about a month when I’m sure this new addition will be tested. I hope no one grabs a leg to pass it.
With the stock market performing as it has over the past few weeks, I decided maybe this little piggy (cow) bank is where I can save my pennies. It’s plumpness caught my eye as well as the price. We went to another Garage sale on the way home but didn’t see anything as tempting as these two items. Garage sales are about as much a social event as a way of passing on to others those items that you no longer need. Or in some cases, those things that have lost their emotional value. We define ourselves to some extent by our possessions and some we keep just for the memories associated with them.  

Monday, September 21, 2015

Debbie Soucek’s Funeral

We attended the funeral service for Debra “Debbie” Soucek at the St. Wenceslaus Catholic Church in Bee this morning. Debbie and our nephew Terry Soucek were married in 1973 and have lived in the area over the years. She had many friends with having worked at Dandy Lion and later at Walmart until respiratory problems limited her activities during the past couple years. She is survived by Terry, Son and daughter-in-law, Corey and Amber Soucek, and their sons: Alex, Caloway, Keaton and McKinley. And, Daughter Angie Soucek and her children: Alyssa Osorio and E.J. Soucek, her Sister-in-law and Brother-in-law, Sandy and Mick Vercellino.  She is also survived by her brothers and sister and their families. Father Brendan Kelley conducted a beautiful service with Guitar music provided by one of Terry’s old friends from the days of his own band. The Church was filled with people and the entourage from the Church in Bee to the Cemetery in Seward included some 20 motorcycles riding with Terry who carried Debbie's ashes in the saddle bag of his Harley. We didn’t go to the cemetery but visited with many old friends in Fellowship Hall where we all gathered for lunch. This is the 3rd funeral service that we have attended in the past couple weeks and each one could be considered somewhat unique from what we have traditionally considered appropriate. Each of these past 3 services were so fitting for the person involved and I’m sure what they would have wanted. It’s another example of the changes that are taking place in our lives and our world today. 

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Foundation Sunday with Anita Crisp

This was “Foundation Sunday” at Church this morning and Anita Crisp, Executive Director of the Nebraska United Methodist Foundation brought the message. The members of the Local Church Foundation Board were also involved and served lunch during Social Hour. They also provided a Financial Report. I was instrumental in establishing our Foundation several years ago and was pleased to see the progress that has been made following my involvement. I had the opportunity to visit with Mrs. Crisp during social hour when we quickly found that we had shared a close friend who worked with the Soil Conservation Service as a Soil Scientist, lived with his mother in Lincoln, never married and passed on a few years ago. He left a significant estate to various Foundations and Organizations including the Masonic Home  Foundation at Plattsmouth where she worked prior to her current position. She is also a Master Gardener which she shared with our mutual friend who raised rare Iris among many other things. While I had known him since my early days with the Agency, Elaine and I visited him at his home and garden a few years ago when he sent home some Iris bulbs which we continue to enjoy. Mrs. Crisp was very impressed with our friends depth of knowledge on a wide range of subjects as well as his commitment to the Soil and Natural Resources. She had used the quotation that : “The earth is the Lord’s and the Fullness thereof” in her presentation, and I told her that we used that quotation back in our days of soil stewardship talks.  

Saturday, September 19, 2015

1987 Narrative

Elaine and I finished our narrative write-up today for 1987. I have been working on it for the past couple weeks. I’m doing it on Microsoft Word and inserting pictures. While we had listed highlights by the Month it was very sketchy. During the writing of this narrative, I read every page of my 1987 journal. Critics would say that I  include too much detail but making reference to the names of many of the people that I was working with at that time, is what makes it interesting. Some of the names were never spelled correctly so as Elaine was editing, I would Google them on my laptop. On some I found their Obituary which was a shock. I ended up with 23 pages and 14,911 words. We were burning the candle at both ends in ’87 with the farm, our house in town, and my job with the Nebraska Natural Resources Commission. Julie was the Bright Light that helped us keep it all in perspective. This is my favorite picture of the year of she and I going out to the garden at the farm with the weed eater. I probably wouldn’t spend as much time as I do on these projects if it wasn’t that I so enjoy doing it. It’s a bit of reward in retirement to be able to do back and read about what happened years ago and put it all in  “story” form for future generations. 

Friday, September 18, 2015

Dr. J.B. Ketner Presentation

Elaine and I were among the nearly 50 people who heard Dr. J.B. Ketner present “Learning About Digestive Issues...Top to Bottom” at Memorial Health Systems “Friday for You” series. It was a complicated but very informative presentation. He used visuals to explain GERD aka Heartburn, how it happens, management and medications. He then moved to Peptic Ulcers, their symptoms, causes, diagnosis, and treatment. Next came Probiotics which involved discussion of Good and Bad Bacteria in our digestive system; and, then addressed Colon Cancer. Statistically 1 of every 20 people in the US will be diagnosed with Colon Cancer during their lifetime (5% lifetime risk). For anyone who has had Polyps in the Colon or large intestine,  and those with a close family member having been diagnosed with Colon Cancer, the risk is much higher and Colonoscopies should be done more frequently. He also spoke a bit about Health Insurance and some of the conflicts between medical recommendations and Insurance companies interpretations of regulations. It was an outstanding presentation. We are so fortunate in having such presentations available to us here in Seward, in addition, they provided a light lunch. 

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Kitones Polo Shirt with a Pocket

Our Kitones had our first “gig” of the season this evening at the Greene Place after having taken the summer off, following the 4th of July performance. We only had one practice ahead of tonight so we sang old familiar songs. The Greene Place was having a “family night” and there was a large crowd. We wore our “summer dress" of Polo shirt and dark pants. I have not been a Polo shirt fan since it came without a pocket which is needed to hold my glasses. During the summer, Elaine cut a piece off the front tail of the shirt and made a “patch pocket” just below the Kitone emblem. It has been a “Life saver” for my glasses since I’m sure they would have been broken had I just put them in my pocket. I am the only one of us 18 Kitones with a pocket and give Elaine an “Atta Boy” for it. I had the opportunity to renew the acquaintance of Rev. Harre and his wife from Garland who where there with her 104-year old Mother. I was also able to visit with a couple other old friends which is part of the pleasure of such performances. 

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

New Gas Line

Yesterday I wrote about all the construction projects that are going on in our City of 7,000 people. Included in the list was the Black Hills Energy contractors laying new gas lines. We received a letter from the Company about a month ago telling us we were in the part of town where changes were going to be made. Meters located inside the house will be moved to the outside and the company will relight pilot lights after the construction is completed. Our gas meter is already located on the north side of the house as shown in the picture along with a coil of plastic hose, which I assume will be used to 
bring gas from the new main line across the street. The north side of our house has not been very important in our landscape (as shown by the ground cover). We are concerned however about our City Water line which is parallel to the gas line and only about a foot apart. The water meter is inside the house but read by the city electronically. We also have an underground lawn sprinkler running along about this same line but actually crossing over them as we get to the front of the house. I don’t know what they will need to do to get the line installed but am satisfied that some of our landscape plantings between the meter and the street will be impacted. We can always replant and the value of the plantings is minimal in comparison to a reliable gas heating system. 

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Construction Underway in Seward

This is the 7:30pm cam picture of the Seward County Justice Center under construction here in town. We drove down past this site this afternoon which is one of several construction projects under way in the City. Also under construction is a major addition to our hospital,  a new building for Union Bank, an Automotive shop, a large building for a cabinet shop, a Child Day Care facility, the continuation of the conversion of the old 1956 Armory into the Nebraska National Guard Museum and the Bottle Rocket Brewery.  In addition the Black Hills Gas Company is installing new lines on our street and in a significant part of town. We also have several new homes under construction. I don’t remember a time when we have had this much construction underway at the same time. The Hospital construction has been underway for a year and is to be completed yet this fall. The Brewery is to be open for Oktoberfest. There are additional buildings planned on the old school grounds where the Union Bank’s construction is well along. The camera on the Justice Center takes a picture every 30 minutes. It is an interesting way for seeing what the weather is like in Seward. 

Monday, September 14, 2015

Jerry Meyer and Higgins

Seward Kiwanis member, Col. Gerald “Jerry” Meyer presented the program on Andrew Jackson  Higgins this noon. Col. Meyer and his wife have been residents of Seward for a couple years where he is in charge of the conversion of the 1956 National Guard Armory into the Nebraska National Guard Museum. It is coming along on schedule with next 4th of July the anticipated opening date. Col. Meyers was a school teacher in Columbus, NE some years ago when he and his students provided leadership for the 5 million dollar Higgins Memorial in that city. Higgins was an industrialist who conceived and built the troop landing craft that General Eisenhower has said  “won the war”.  Jerry has known the Higgins family since his early teaching days in Columbus. Some of Higgins early experience in building boats for use on the Platte River helped him understand low draft construction. He continued to expand the concept as he harvested timber in the swamps around New Orleans. The Higgins landing crafts were built by several companies during WWII which produced over 20,000 of them in 7 years. They were used throughout the war and were a key part of the strategy of allied forces at Normandy. We are pleased to have Jerry and his wife here in Seward and are confident that The Nebraska National Guard Museum will make Seward a “destination point” for many visitors. 

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Immigration in Nebraska

We attended a program at the Seward Memorial Library this afternoon where Humanities  speaker John Schleicher gave a program on “Immigration in Nebraska” The emphases was on the German Immigration which is the framework for the novel, “A Good American” by Alex George which is an “All Seward Reads Together”. I might have been the only one in the room of 50-60 people to not raise my hand when he asked those of German descent to do so. He did acknowledge the Czech immigration which along with other nationalities pales in comparison to Germans in this state. He did say that Nebraska has had a higher percentage of Czech immigrants per capita, than any other state in the Country. His personal heritage is of  Germans from Russia and was very close to his immigrant Grandmother who lived until he was a grown man. Some scholars now think of America more as a tossed salad than a melting pot  since ethnic groups tend to cling to many of their foods and traditions. One of the questions he always asks his students is: “How bad would it have to be, for you to leave?”. There was some discussion as to when illegal immigration became a major problem, and it was concluded that there were probably many illegals in this Country and not brought to light  until the time of Social Security Registration in the 1930’s. It was a good program as were the cookies afterwards.

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Waiting by Writing

I continue to write on our 1987 narrative and this afternoon covered the early September fishing trip in Canada. Willard and Audrey Kilzer joined Elaine and I as we drove our Motor Home to Kanora, Manitoba. We are shown here as Clarence Delaney flew us to their Lodge on Delaney Lake. We fished in the lake and down in the English River. Each couple had their own boat and guide who landed our fish and took them off the hook. They also cooked a shore lunch each noon of “fresh fish” and spaghettiO's. 
Our cabin facilities were crude but they fed us well and we had a great time. Elaine had the largest fish on her line that she had ever caught the first morning and after helping her land it, the guide tossed it back and said, “too small”. Willard was close enough in their boat to see the expression on her face. She did go on to get many other “keepers”. We brought back a good supply and enjoyed Walleye well into the winter.    Reading my old Journal and writing was an appropriate filler as we waited for the word that Granddaughter Julie’s eye surgery was completed and seemed to go well. She was having a tumor removed which was blocking the tear duct. She has had problems with the tear duct since being a little girl. Her name appears on a majority of the pages of that ’87 Journal. She spent a lot of time with us as a youngster and helped us maintain some order as we jockeyed between jobs and the farm. She is still a very significant part of our lives.

Friday, September 11, 2015

Thomas M. Hoffman

Today was Thomas  M. Hoffman’s Celebration of Life at St. Vincent de Paul Catholic Church here in Seward. Tom is shown here in the foreground with the coffee group. It was taken on the occasion of our son Jon’s being here from Virginia. Next to Jon (at Tom’s right) is Richard K., Richard M., Stan, Jay and I. Coffee without Tom is like having a meal without any seasoning in the food. His wealth of knowledge was remarkable. It went far beyond being a “trivia” expert. I had never heard of the “Code of Hammurabi” until he started quoting from it. Only  to find that it is a preserved Babylonian law code of ancient Mesopotamia. Tom was a life long student who read, listened, learned and remembered. He had a “quotation” for every occasion. Father Salisbury mentioned that Tom often had one to pass on to him after Services. Some of his favorites were included in the folder including: "Faith is to believe what you do not see: The reward of this faith is to see what you believe.” Others were from Abraham’s letter to the Hebrews, from Charles Wesley, Thomas Jefferson and Mark Twain. Tom grew up in South Omaha where his father worked in the Stock Yards. Tom followed him into the yards and became a Cattle Buyer for a number of years. He served in the US Army and had an active life with Church, family, school boards, city government, etc. I have been privileged to spend time with many people who are more intelligent and knowledgeable than I am, but Tom is near the top of that list.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Happy Birthday Maggie

Today is this aspiring “Lady Godiva’s” birthday. I hope she enjoyed this day as much as she did back in May of 1993 when the picture was taken. She rode the horse with “reckless abandon” but would say, “careful” if it got going to fast. We had driven back to Columbus, IN as the first leg of our Baseball trip. Elaine stayed with Laura, Tony and Maggie while Tim went with me to see 8 Major League baseball games and the Baseball Hall of Fame in 9 days. We also visited West Point and FDR’s Hyde Park home. It was a fantastic Father-Son experience. Maggie has continued to “ride her horse” in becoming a “fantastic” Granddaughter. She has a beautiful singing voice and after some time at Oberlin, is continuing her education in Atlanta. Happy Birthday Maggie. 

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Visit with Don & Gladys in Syracuse

This is my brother Don and I on the 6th Tee box at the Golf Course in Syracuse, NE. While Don plays nearly every day, this was my first time out for the season. I only played 3 times last year in Scramble events so my game was a few strokes below par. Don is 4 1/2 years younger which has really shown up. For many years, we were about “the same age”. Now there is about as much difference as when I was 16 and he was 11. He was always smaller and would hang on to my back pocket when we walked up to the pasture after the cows. Now I look to him for some help to get through tough places. Our golf game wasn’t really as important as the visit. We had an excellent Hot Roast Beef sandwich at a local Syracuse restaurant. Then, Don took us on tour of some of the recent storm 
storm damage around town. They and some of their family spent part of yesterday cleaning tree and brush debris off their yard. Gladys has the most beautiful Wax Begonia we had ever seen up close to the house.  Also, an interesting Cardinal vine with little red, 5 sided flowers that only last one day. Elaine and Gladys did some shopping while we were at the golf course. We enjoyed a Brownie/Ice Cream dessert when we all got back to the house. Elaine was able to bring home some Tomatoes from their vines which she will enjoy for the next few days. We gathered at the flagpole for a selfie as we were ready to leave. It was a great day of food, fun and fellowship. We watched clouds build up in the northwestern sky which kept us from having to look against the sun as we drove home. I think we hit the peak of rush hour traffic in Lincoln. The storms were a bit further west but have heard thunder in the past few minutes. 

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Carolyn, I and VW Beetle

This picture of Carolyn and I was taken at the back of our Ridge Road house in Arlington, VA in about 1968 or 9. We bought the ’68 Beetle in the fall of ’67. It was at the time the kids were learning to drive and it was much more practical to learn with than our Station Wagon. It was one of our better investments. It cost less than two thousand dollars. All 4 kids learned to drive with it after taking drivers training at school. We lived just a block from the school ground and I remember taking her over to the school parking lot to practice parking. Jon, being the youngest took it off to college at Virginia Tech  and used it when he began employment as a Student Trainee. We had it repainted and gave it to them when he and Mary got married. Years later after we were back in Seward and had the Motor Home, we brought it home with us and had it restored. Jon and Mary had other vehicles by that time. We took it all over the country and drove it many miles while leaving the Motor Home in Campgrounds. We finally sold it after getting rid of the Motor Home for nearly twice what it originally cost. 

Monday, September 7, 2015

Happy Birthday, See You in the Funny Papers

When I was a kid, it was quite normal for my Dad to roll up the window on our old Model A Ford and tell my Aunts, “See you in the Funny Papers” as we were leaving the Grandparents place. I hadn’t thought of that comment for years till the Comics in the Lincoln Journal Star also included the Celebrate section yesterday. For some years the Celebrate section was a several page supplement to the Sunday paper and included pictures and stories of people celebrating special birthdays, graduations, engagements, weddings, military achievements, etc. It was seldom that we didn’t know someone who was being recognized. However, the rates for inclusion continued to rise and the size shrunk to only a few pages and wasn’t even published some weeks. Yesterday is when it came out with the three entries included with the Comics. I strongly suspect the lady celebrating her 90th birthday is familiar with the “See you in the Funny Papers” comment. The one with her 80th and the couple celebrating their 60th Wedding Anniversary may or may not. I hope none of them are offended by the placement but if my kids would have paid the “big bucks” to honor me on my birthday, I would have considered it pretty snarky on the part of the paper. 

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Julie and Grandad-1987

I continue to write a narrative of our activities during 1987. It is one of the years that the “story” did not get written on a timely basis. What this enables me to do is go back through my Journal and pictures and “relive” those days. I was still working for the State and thinking about retirement. After having the farm for 7 years and our house in town for 6, we were still undecided  where we wanted to live. Carolyn was a single Mother teaching school and 7th year of Julie was like our “5th kid”. She loved to sing each time she and I were alone in the pickup and our trips were always a pleasure. We are shown here walking out to the garden with the weed-eater. Of all the pictures that I have already put in two collages for ’87 and the ones I am adding to the narrative, this is my favorite. I was not only her “Grandad” but by spelling it like she did, I was also part “Dad”. I loved and enjoyed all our 4 kids and other grand kids as only a Father and Grandfather can, but during the years of this picture, we were so important to each other that it made her very special. As time went on, she became more independent, getting a couple college degrees and working for Martha Stewart in New York City, and then coming home to marry longtime classmate, John Owens. After sharing a kiss as she walked down the isle to be married, I sat down and cried, mainly out of happiness but there was a tinge of sadness that “my little girl” had grown up and would have John as her mate and principal caretaker. John is a “model” husband, father and caretaker and will be with her as she has eye surgery this coming week. We are also saying our prayers for her complete recovery and may have Sadie and Jack with us a bit. 

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Schweitzer’s Jordan Auction

I got down to the William Jordan Estate Auction this morning at the Seward Ag Pavilion conducted by the Schweitzer Auction Service. I continue to be amazed at the amount of “stuff” that people collect and also the amount that bidders still pay for some of it. I estimated that there must have been something like 750 to 800 toy cars of the size shown in the picture. There were also hundreds of small ones. In addition to the model cars, there were collections of Advertising signs,  serving trays, Pop & Tobacco signs, Pin-up Calendars, Baseball cards, Thermometers, etc. It appears that the collection came from the Crete area. Seward is an attractive location for such auctions because of our facilities and location. There were many vehicles from numerous counties and several from out of state. I have a few models of cars, trucks and tractors which I either drove or admired when they were in use. The auto industry has “matured” to where the year-to-year changes and variation between various Company models is not as great as years past. I believe that we are the “last generation” that will be interested in collection items that were displayed today. Going to an auction like the one today was a lot like visiting a Museum. And, if you see something that you really want, it’s all For Sale. 

Friday, September 4, 2015

Seward City Swimming Pool

This is a very good descriptive picture of the Seward “Key-hole” swimming pool. These 90 degree temperatures would make it a very popular place this weekend had it not been closed before school started a couple weeks ago. I was on the City Council during the time the pool was planned and constructed. The old round pool was widely know throughout the state for its unique design. While there was sentiment for continuing the round feature, the need to swimming lanes was also recognized. Some of us on the Council were involved at a listening session where various features were discussed  including the shape of the new pool. During the discussion, I scribbled what came to be know as a “Key-hole” design. It obviously went through several iterations but that was what led to the final, very well accepted facility that we have enjoyed in the community for the past few years. At a recent Kiwanis Community Study, it was even suggested that the Club provide leadership in getting a dome built over the pool to enable use year-around.

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Elaine’s Birthday Tour

We went on our Farm Tour today as part of the celebration of Elaine’s birthday. The temperature was in the 90’s but a pleasant day. Went past Elaine’s childhood farm home first where we have watched the only remaining buildings and landmarks gradually decline. Then on out to the hills north of Garland where I grew up to see the old windmill wheel continue to lose fins as a remaining landmark along with a Walnut tree.  The farm that we bought, terraced, seeded to grass and put in the Conservation Reserve program is nearby but trees have invaded to where it has lost much of its appeal since we sold it years ago. 
Our final stop was at the farm east of Seward that we bought in 1980 and sold in ’89. It looked like the small picture on the left at the time we sold it and the 3rd owners since us, have it looking like the above picture. The lady was working on the Catoneaster hedge near the road (shown in the old picture) as we came by and stopped to talk. She invited us in to see the many improvements that have been made and we were very favorably impressed. After having been past the 3 other places that have declined in appearance from our fond memories, it was so refreshing to see the house renovated and modernized in a very attractive way. We were able to visit with Bryan as he came home while we were leaving and able to tell him how much we appreciated seeing all the improvements they are making.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Elaine and Solitude

Tomorrow will be Elaine’s birthday and this picture displays some of the scenes that made it difficult for us to sell the farm. The Pond was always one of our favorite spots for wiener roast, boating and fishing for Croppie, Bluegill, and Catfish. It was a bird sanctuary with many varieties including several types of wild ducks and Canada Geese. During the winter we ice skated, taught Julie how to skate and even pulled her and the sled around the thick ice  with the Ford tractor.  We are planning a low-key celebration for Elaine’s birthday that will include our annual drive out past the farm where Elaine was raised,  to the old Vrana farm, and the 160 acre place that we bought and put in the Conservation Reserve program after having it terraced and seeding it to grass. We will come back to town past this farm and may be able to see some of the water in the pond as we drive by. Memories of the hard work and long hours have grown faint, but those like shown in the picture are still vivid in our minds. 

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Stock Market :>(

Today was one when we remember the old adage to never invest more in the stock market than what you can afford to lose. As well as the return of the investment is more important than the return on the investment. I also know that you never gain or lose until you sell and yet a day like today makes one wonder. Most of us today are involved in the stock market even if we don’t have a brokerage account because of our IRAs, Insurance Policies, Annuities, etc. Most of these investments are for long term and diversified, in anticipation of corrections and will eventually recover. It is those  whose retirement accounts are tied to the market that may find it necessary to work longer than anticipated or to get by with less if they are already retired. There is little doubt that the market correction that we are seeing will effect the economy in a negative way which in turn, will impact the market. What will it take to break the spiral ???.