Saturday, October 31, 2015

Refinished Desk and Nebraska Loss

We bought this desk at an auction my brother Don had at a country school house down in SE NE back in the early 80’s. At that time we had the farm as well as our house in town. We used the desk in our “office/library” room at the farm. After we sold the farm in the spring of 1989, we took the desk, a dining room set with buffet, table and chairs back to Tim and Laura in Columbus, IN. What brings this to light today, is that I am writing the narrative of “happenings” during that year. I am past the date of our farm auction and worked today on our making 2 trips, within 3 weeks, to get the furniture to them before our leaving on a 6-week trip to Alaska. It wasn’t just a matter of getting it there but it also included refinishing it after we were there. Much of the scraping and sanding was done out in the garage, but we took the desk inside for the final coat of varnish. We were younger in those days but typically drove the 720 miles in one day. Elaine would fix a “picnic basket” of food and drink. Our ’92 Chevy Silverado Pickup had dual gas tanks so rest room stops and changing drivers were the limiting factor; and, neither of them took very long. 
I am reading from my Daily Journal to write the narrative and also scanning a few pictures to include. It was a good task to be working on this afternoon while listening to the Nebraska-Purdue football game. Purdue winning 55 to 45 doesn’t even reflect the “misery” that was endured listening to the game. After Nebraska scored first, I even attempted to get the game on TV. It cost $9.95 and I even pressed the “select” button, but it didn’t “take”. How lucky can a guy get in this “record setting season”. 

Friday, October 30, 2015

Auto Trips to California.

This is a historic picture of Elaine’s Flowerday Grandparents with her Uncle Bob and his wife, Carlene. It was taken in 1928 when Will and Emma (Elaine's Grandparents) had driven out to California with William and Flora Jeary. He was a nephew of Emma’s and had other family members in California to visit.  Bob was the younger brother  of Elaine’s Dad. He had gone to California as a young auto mechanic where he married Carlene. They had no children.  It was her Uncle Bob and Aunt Carlene that Elaine and I drove out to Santa Anna, California, for our Wedding Trip. We had borrowed my folks ’48 Fleetline Chevy for the trip. This was before the days of interstate highways so we drove down to Oklahoma City on #81 and took #40 out to California. What is interesting is how much automobiles and highways had improved during the 20 years between ’28 and ’48. At the time we thought of such a trip 20 years earlier as being in primitive days. But things that happened 20 years ago now, seem like “yesterday”. Elaine’s parents, Albert and Flora Flowerday, had a farm Auction, quit farming and moved to Seward in 1956. We had bought a new 7-passenger Pontiac station wagon that spring and took them and 3 of our kids out to visit Bob and Carlene. We enjoyed the visit, the trip and even got to Disneyland soon after it opened. 

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Nebraska Sandhills and NRD's

This was taken in the early 1980’s in the Nebraska, Lower Loup NRD when Sandhills grassland was being “developed” with center pivot irrigation systems and planted to corn. We in the Natural Resources Commission did a “Sandhills Study” and provided the State Legislature with alternatives to alleviate problems which could arise as the result of the questionable land use. In checking on the correct spelling of Dick Beran’s name (local NRD M’gr, on the left), I came across a web site which led me to listening to an interview of me back in 2013 that I had never heard. It is a part of: "The Natural Resources Districts (NRD) Oral History Project is a collaboration between the Daugherty Water for Food Institute,the Nebraska Association of Natural Resources Districts, the Nebraska State Historical Society and several dedicated former and current stewards of Nebraska’s Natural Resources.Since its inception in April 2013, the project has recorded and transcribed over eighty45-minute oral histories spanning former and current staff and leadership of all 23 NRDs and key individuals that helped ensure their formation.” It can be found at <>. My interview by Jim Barr is at <>. I should add that economic conditions, Federal, State and local regulations, etc. have largely eliminated the problem areas as shown in the picture. Much of the Class IV land has been reseeded to grass under the Federal Conservation Reserve program. 

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Historic Picture

This picture was taken back in about 1951-’52. It was in the Jones National Bank located, at that time, on the north side of the city square. It includes: (l-r) me, Bernhard Ahlschwede, Keith Newton and Jim Struve. Jim and I worked for the USDA Soil Conservation Service, Bernhard was Treasurer of the Conservation District and Keith was with the Bank. We were depositing a $500.00 check that had been presented to our office as the result of accomplishments. Keith had been the Seward County Extension Agent prior to his going to work at the Bank. Elaine worked for him at the time of our courtship. As the Co. Agent, he and Jim worked closely together along with the Conservation District. It was when he came to the County Agent’s Office back in the spring of ’48 and told Elaine that he was looking to make a new hire, that the word got to me that it might be an opportunity. It led to my life’s work as well as Elaine leading to my life mate. 

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Elaine and Audiologist

Elaine recently went through a detailed hearing test with a technician that provided Dr. Mueller with data that he used in discussions with Elaine and I. The technician and Dr. Mueller come out to the Seward Hospital Clinic for appointments. It was apparent from the test and Dr. Mueller’s examination that Elaine was a candidate for hearing aids. Today we met with Dr. Hofker, also a member of the Audio group including Dr. Mueller, with offices at Bryan Plaza in Lincoln. Dr. Hofker is a very personable young man who utilized the previous data but also did further examination, testing and consultation.
After explaining the need for aids in each ear, he inserted prototypes which were remotely connected to his computer for further testing and her reactions. He is shown in the lower picture beginning the process of getting a mold of each inner ear for “custom made” knobs. We went though the cost of various levels of technology, and the fact that neither Medicare nor BC/BS provide any benefits. We have an appointment in a couple weeks when the equipment will be ready for installation and fine tuning. Elaine is a good patient and convinced that this will be of benefit. 

Monday, October 26, 2015

Family Features and History

This picture of Elaine and Julie was taken in our house back in
Virginia. Julie would have been about 5 or 6 months old at the time. When we came across the picture this evening, we both thought that John & Julie’s son Jack has features that resemble her at the time. It often seems that the girl in the family looks more like the Dad and the boy more nearly resembles the Mother.  This is a very simplistic observation because we know that our DNA would show that we have chromosomes from many ancestors. The picture also reminds us that we ate Life cold cereal at the time. We moved back to Nebraska just a few weeks after this picture was taken. It was one of our major decisions for me to take early retirement and Elaine give up an excellent job with the US Forest Service and come back to Nebraska, but in retrospect, it was the right one. It gave us the opportunity to be with our parents for several years as well as siblings and extended family. Elaine can trace roots to Seward County, NE back to the 1890’s and mine go back to the 1870’s when Chris Turner came out from Illinois after being in the civil war. 

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Tim and Laura Leaving

We have enjoyed Tim and Laura being here for the past week. They spent part of the time out at Owenses and have stayed at our house the past couple nights, but we enjoyed them all week. They have had an opportunity to eat in several of the small town “places” but Tim says his favorite is Lou’s up at Bee. Elaine and I agree. We certainly appreciate all the help they provided. Their time here was more than a visit helping to take care of Sadie and Jack while Julie and John were gone for a few days. (I was in my stocking feet on this picture which makes me look even shorter than what I’ve shrunk to be.)
It was a beautiful time of year for them to be here. This colorful tree is across the street from our house. We probably enjoy it as much as the people that live there. We have watched it grow since is was planted several years ago. We have a Maple in our front your as well but its leaves turn yellow and drop. The picture shows them loading suitcases to be on their way. Both Sadie and Jack became well acquainted with Tim and Laura during the week. The might have even spoiled them a bit. Tim got down on all 4 this afternoon and gave Sadie “pony rides” around our living room. She would clamp her legs around him and grab a handful of the back of his shirt to hold on. Jack got very used to Laura feeding him. He’s a good eater  and Laura has the patience to give him all he wanted. We wish they lived closer but really enjoy their visits. 

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Jack, Sadie and Volkswagens

Jack and Sadie spent some time with us today. Jack continues to change from day-to-day. He was standing at the coffee table today playing with a truck and just stood there for a few seconds without any support. One of these days he will take those first steps. He is also making more sounds that are beginning to sound like words. Once today one sounded like Da Da. I may teach him to call me Tony, it would be so much simpler than Great Granddad. Sadie and I spent some time in the back yard. I showed her how the “animal trap” works that we have set up to catch the raccoons and opossums that frequent our back yard. She also came down to the lower level where I was working on my PC. She saw some of my model cars and picked out one that she wanted to take along home. It was one of my favorites and quite expensive so I pulled out a box of little Volkswagen. She knows 
the colors and picked out the black one for herself and the smaller red one for Jack. She was very impressed with learning that the doors opened and the seats fold down on the black one. The first red one didn’t have those features so we looked until we found a little red one that also had a hood that raised. Within the past few months, I have taken pictures of all my model cars, trucks and tractors and have made a list of them. But after her asking, I decided that If we can pass along some of our possessions and see people made happy by them, maybe it’s the best we can hope for.

Friday, October 23, 2015

Another Busy Day

We had another busy but enjoyable day. Tim and Laura were with us for overnight since John and Julie got home. Tim went along with me to coffee and a visit in the scale room. Tim and Laura drove us to an appointment with the Ophthalmologist in Lincoln. It is generally a long wait to see the Dr. after the technicians do their bit and today it took longer than usual. Part of the reason because I also asked the Technician to check my eyes since I felt the need for a stronger reading prescription. As it turned out, the Dr. was very pleased with Elaine's eyes but is getting me lined up for cataract surgery.
We had made plans to go to Bee for fish with the Seward family but made some phone calls to delay the time of departure. We got there if but a bit later and had a great meal and an especially good time. Friday Fish is also a social event. Elaine was able to visit with a cousin that she hadn’t seen for some time, and I visited with an old friend. We missed the first 2 innings of the baseball game but were pleased to see the Royals had a 2-run lead when we got home. In the middle of the 5th it’s  TOR 1-KC 2.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Tim’s Ride in the Country

 Tim was interested in going on a car ride this afternoon. We went out east of Seward on Bluff Road which took us past where my folks once lived, past the farm where we lived after coming back to NE and on to Garland and its ballpark. Then we went north on the Ridge Road to the old Vrana farm where I was raised.  We went past the farm that we bought after we were married, seeded it to native grass and sold it after 20 years. We went past several “landmarks” before arriving in Bee and stopping at
Lou and MaryAnn’s Bar. We went on past the old Flowerday farm where Elaine was born and raised (upper right)  and back to Seward. It was a great trip. After Lou served our drinks, he sat down at our table and visited. While I admire what the Buffett’s are doing world-wide for rural communities as described in this morning papers, I also admire what Lou has done for the community over the past many years. Tim told Lou about his daughter telling him of she and a college professor in Atlanta, GA shared stories about each having been to Lou’s famous Friday night Fish Fry.  

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Tempus Fugit

This cartoon appeared in the Comic Section of our Sunday paper some years ago and I came across it today while looking for something else. It is so descriptive not only of Kids but Grandkids as well.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Baseball Park Trivia

      When the 3rd game of the NCLS series came on this evening from Chicago, the TV announcer mentioned that Wrigley Field was the 2nd oldest Major League Park still in use. Even after having seen games in all of the current ones, it took me a minute to remember that Fenway Park was the oldest. Google helped me find the following: 1)  Fenway Park, Boston – 1912, ,2) Wrigley Field, Chicago – 1914, 3)  Dodger Stadium, Los Angeles – 1962, 4)  Angel Stadium of Anaheim, California – 1966, 4)  The Coliseum, Oakland – 1966, 6)  Kauffman Stadium, Kansas City, MO – 1973, 7)  Rogers Centre, Toronto, Ontario – 1989, 8)  Tropicana Field, St. Petersburg – 1990, 9)  U.S. Cellular Field, Chicago (South Side) – 1991, 10) Oriole Park at Camden Yards, Baltimore – 1992, 11) Progressive Field, Cleveland – 1994, 11) Rangers Ballpark in Arlington, Arlington, TX – 1994, 13) Coors Field, Denver – 1995, 14) Turner Field, Atlanta – 1996, 15) Chase Field, Phoenix, AZ – 1998, 16) Safeco Field, Seattle, WA – 1999, 17) AT&T Park, San Francisco – 2000, 17) Comerica Park, Detroit – 2000, 17) Minute Maid Park, Houston – 2000, 20) Miller Park, Milwaukee – 2001, 20) PNC Park, Pittsburgh – 2001, 22) Great American Ball Park, Cincinnati – 2003, 23) Citizen’s Bank Park, Philadelphia – 2004 , 23) Petco Park, San Diego, 2004, 25) Busch Stadium, St. Louis, MO – 2006, 26) Nationals Park, Washington, D.C. – 2008, 27) Citi Field, (Queens) New York – 2009, 27) Yankee Stadium, (Bronx) New York – 2009, 29) Target Field, Minneapolis, MN – 2010, 30) Marlins Park, Miami, FL – 2012
Only two stadiums, the Rogers Centre in Toronto and Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg (which, as you’ll notice, were built just a year apart, and are each in the A.L. East), still use artificial turf. Fourteen ballparks, representing 47% of all the parks in MLB, have been built since the year 2000. Camden Yards in Baltimore, at one time the showpiece of the return to the “retro” ballparks, is now the tenth oldest park in America. No ballparks built in the 1920’s, ’30’s, 40’s, or ’50’s are still in existence, and only one each from the ’70’s and ’80’s are still in use today. Since 1999, the only teams to have won a World Series after moving into a new stadium are the Giants and the Cardinals (twice each), the Phillies (won in 2008), and the Yankees (won in 2009.)  It’s interesting to note that the Cardinals and the Yankees each won the World Series in their first year in their new parks.  Also, the Tigers have been to two World Series since 2000, but lost them both. Dodgers Stadium in Los Angeles is capable of holding the most fans (56,000.) Tropicana Field can hold the fewest (34,000.)  There are currently seven ballparks that are designed to seat fewer than 40,000 people, including three that have been built since the year 2000. If you are currently at least 50 years old, all but two of the ballparks currently in use have been built in your lifetime.

Monday, October 19, 2015

Dinner Time

    Great-grandson Jack is shown here getting fed by daughter-in-law Laura.  Jack is nearing his first birthday. He is a good eater and a wonderful little guy. Laura, one of Jack’s great aunts, is here for the week with our son Tim. Tomorrow morning, Jack and his sister Sadie will be going with Sadie’s pre-school class to Roca, Nebraska, to a pumpkin patch.
     Tim and I are watching the Royals and Blue Jays in Game 3 of the American League Championship Series. The Royals lead the series two games to none, but the Blue Jays just exploded for six runs in the bottom of the third to lead this game, 9-2. The Royals have pulled off some miraculous comebacks dating back to last October, and it’s still early in the game; but a Royals win tonight seems very unlikely.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

A Sunday Afternoon

The Kitones sang this afternoon for the Heartland Association Fall Meeting at Friedens United Church of Christ in Goehner, NE. Our 2nd row doesn’t show on the picture but there were 14 of us. We sang 3 songs and were well received by the 50 or so in attendance. We sang at the request of PeeWee and out of respect for him as a member of that Church. Most of our group left after we sang but I was curious to hear what Danielle Conrad would say in her Message to the Association. She was raised in Seward, received BA and Law degrees from the University of Nebraska, was with Appleseed and served 8 years in the Nebraska Unicameral Legislature.
She spoke on “Immigration” and cited several cases of their helping to assure justice.

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Sports Day

By the time the Cubs-Mets game started in Citi field at 7:00pm (CDT), I had just about reached my fill of games for the day. Having watched the 2-4 Huskers win against Minnesota by a score of 48-25, my energy was pretty well exhausted. Thank goodness they could walk off the field as the clock wound down knowing they were going to win. What made the game even more enjoyable was being able to watch it with son Tim. He and Laura are back for a short visit.
The Royals 6-3 win over the Toronto Blue Jays was even more of what we are about ready to expect. After Escobar’s single for the Royals in the first inning, Price retired the next 18 batters. It wasn’t until Zobrist dropped a ball in short right field that the Royals had their 2nd hit. It was followed by singles by Cain and Hosmer making it 3-1. An RBI groundout by Morales made it 3-2. Then Moustakes singled and the game was tied. Alex Gordon hit a double scoring Moustakes and the Royals led 4-3. Rios finished it off with an RBI for a 6-3 win.  Nebraska and the Royals celebrate and the Mets lead the Cubs 2-1 after 5. I will probably stay up to see how it ends up. 

Friday, October 16, 2015

Looking Back

This was taken back in 1970 in front of our fireplace when we lived on South Arlington Ridge Road in South Arlington, VA. After working on a ladder cleaning gutters for a couple hours this afternoon, I needed something to help me remember what it was like to be young. We lived in this house for 11 years and couldn’t have been in a more convenient place for the kids going to elementary and middle school. They were also able to catch a bus to go to Wakefield HS. It was convenient for Elaine and I to get down to the USDA Building and for my classes at George Washington University. We were only a block away from a shopping center where the kids had part time jobs and delivered newspapers. Those were very interesting years, but I’m pleased that we made the decision to come back to Nebraska; especially since Carolyn made the same decision. 

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Owens Kids

 We got out to visit this afternoon and took some children’s books that I got at a recent auction. Sadie is enjoying the story that Grandma Carolyn is reading to her. She was also enjoying her new red shoes that came in the mail today. All she needs now is the “Yellow Brick Road”. She has a pretty busy schedule with Story Time at the Library, Violin lessons and preschool. With her Grandmother Carolyn having had many years of experience teaching 2nd graders, and having raised Julie, she is in good position to help Julie with both Sadie and Jack. I spent quite a bit of time with Jack today. He is such a good natured little guy and all boy. He can make all the tractor noises with his mouth when playing with his favorite tractors. He also likes to blink his eyes when Sadie or anyone looks at him and blinks. His blinks are always followed by a little laugh.
Jack likes to stand up against the hassock or anything that gives him a little support. He just hasn’t decided to take off walking without holding on to something. As his old Great Granddad, I can relate to that feeling. We drove out to the Golf Course on our way home after hearing that it has closed down. The course looks to be in beautiful condition and from all reports it is but the Country Club Board of Directors have determined that some changes must be made. As I understand, they have offered an opportunity for the City to take over and operate it as a municipal course. It’s too bad it couldn’t have stayed open as long as the weather stays nice. This was always one of my favorite times of the year to be out there. But we are forecast to have a killing frost tonight so Elaine has gone out and covered the geraniums in the old black butcher kettle by the porch.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Unusual Baseball Event

This is the biggest news of the day for K.C. Royals fans. After coming back as they did in game 4, I believe they are back in the grove that they strayed from during the last month of the regular season. Now they will face the Toronto Blue Jays who won today by beating the Texas Rangers 6-3. It was a most interesting game. With the score tied 2-2 in the top of the 7th and Texas batting with a runner on 3rd base. There was a 2-2 count on the batter and as the Blue Jay catcher tossed the ball back to the pitcher, it hit the bat of the Texas batter still standing in the batters box. The ball dribbled out toward 3rd base and the runner scored. There were umpire conferences and the rule book was cited which legitimized the run. At that time, the 1 run lead looked like it might be all that was needed. However, Texas made errors on the next 3 batters and Toronto went on to win 6-3. In all my years of playing and watching baseball games, I had never seen the catcher hit the bat while throwing the ball back to the pitcher. Back in our Blue Valley League days, if Adolph would have done that, he probably would have just picked the ball up and then threw it back to Art on the mound. I don’t think anyone from Staplehurst would have considered advancing. Adolph probably would have even apologized to the Staplehurst batter.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Major League Baseball Champions

The Major League Baseball playoffs leading up to the World Series have become difficult for some of us to follow. First we have the “wild card” play in, the Division Series, the League Championships and finally, the World Series. Back when I was a kid, there were only 8 teams in each league and the league winners went to the World Series. It was often the Yankees vs the Dodgers (in Brooklyn). I came across this bracket to help me keep track of the current games. I have written the score of each game and circled the winner. The only team to reach the Division Series is the Chicago Cubs who won their 3rd game tonight against the St. Louis Cardinals. By the time this is read, the Met’s and Dodger’s game will be over, if the Mets win, they will play the Cubs. If the Dodger’s win tonight, they will need another game to determine who plays the Cubs. In the American League, the 2 teams playing in the Division Series will be determined tomorrow with all 4 teams having already won 2 of the necessary 3 games. My loyalties have evolved over the years from the Chicago Cubs>New York Yankees> Kansas City Royals. There is a story involved with each change. Having seen games in all 30 of the current Major League Parks, I will be familiar with the park where ever the World Series is played. 

Monday, October 12, 2015

Blackburn Stakes

Elaine happened on to an article on Neligh in the July/August issue of Nebraska Life Magazine this evening. What caught her eye was reference to the Blackburn Manufacturing business in that City. She remembered our being in Neligh some years ago and buying a bundle of the “ Blackburn, plastic flagged, wire stakes” . Bud Blackburn has operated the business since it moved to Neligh in 1957 according to the article. It also refers to Bud's Uncle, a surveyor who began the business.
I first heard of Blackburn stakes in about 1952 when I and another Soil Conservation Service Technician were in our Office in the Seward County Courthouse; an older gentlemen from South Dakota, came in carrying a couple bundles of stakes which he asked us to try. The other Technician was from South Dakota so they had a lot to talk about. As I remember, Mr. Blackburn told of having a Patent on the process which he had perfected prior to WWII. However, materials were not available during the War and for some time after. By the early '50's he was able to get material, had developed a machine for production, and was operating out of his garage. It seemed that a key item in the Patent was the material used to fasten the 3 by 4 inch plastic flag to the 24” wire. We used his samples, were favorably impressed, and ordered more. Surveying was never the same after we were able to use the Blackburn stakes instead of the old wooden lath we used previously. I have told the story many times as I've seen them in use all over the world. Right now, there are hundreds of them in Seward marking the lines for Black Hills Energy's new lines.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Hot Weather-Cold Football

Ken Siemek had it right as he talked about the possibility of setting a high temperature record today in eastern Nebraska. Ken, the weather forecaster on Channel 10/11, indicated the record was 89 and we had a good chance of topping it. At left is an “on-line” service by a local insurance office that shows our having a high of 95 at 4:14pm. I have just heard that Norfolk, NE had a high of 98 today. We have had a beautiful fall with occasional rain and generally mild temperatures. Farmers have been harvesting corn and soybeans. We have received over 29” of rain already compared to our average annual 26”. 
One of my farmer friends has said that you were unable to tell the difference between the dry land and irrigated corn while harvesting. This picture of our thermometer on the backyard fence was taken about 4:20pm. We do have a cold front moving in overnight but are still to have a nice Columbus Day tomorrow. The unusually warm weather gave Nebraskans something to talk about today other than Husker football. I did hear that our team is a 1 point favorite going to Minnesota next Saturday. The sportswriters were at a loss to  explain how 4 games could be lost as consistently as has happened this season. One even suggested that, just maybe, Bo Pelini has more influence with the football gods than we ever suspected. A real test will come in seeing if the “sold out” record of over 300 consecutive games can  be continued. 

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Big 10 Football in Lincoln

With :09 seconds left on the clock, the Wisconsin Badgers had all the time they'd need to deal Nebraska another gut-wrenching loss. The Wisconsin kicker missed a field goal with just over a minute left, giving Nebraska the ball with 1:26 and Nebraska leading 21-20. All the Huskers needed was a first down. But, Wisconsin had all three timeouts and Nebraska was only able to gain 3 total yards on 3 carries. Following a Foltz punt, the Badger QB took over, marching the Badgers down the field with 1:06 left on the clock to put them in position for another field goal with :09 seconds left. Their kicker then nailed a 46-yard field goal to take the lead and end the game 23-21. That's the fourth loss for Nebraska this season, and the fourth loss that's come on either the final play of the game or in the final minute of the game. After last weeks lose, Tom Shatel, Omaha World Herald sports writer noted that "Mike Riley’s Honeymoon is over" as Nebraska’s new Coach. He went on to say, “the marriage is still in tact but he may have to sleep on the couch all week”. After today, he may have to leave the couch and go to the dog house.

Friday, October 9, 2015

Soil Conservation Service Staff, 1953

This picture was taken during the summer of 1953 of the SCS staff in Seward, NE. The City was celebrating an “Old Settlers” event and men were asked to grow beards. Our office was in the NE corner on the lower floor of the Courthouse. Shown standing (l-r) are: James Struve, Arnold Davis and Tony Vrana; Kneeling are Norm Neujahr and Clarence Schmidt. Mr. Struve was the head of the Office staff and had been with the Soil Conservation Service since its formation in the ’30’s. Our job involved working with farmers throughout the County by laying out terraces, waterways, dams, etc. and helping them to plan and apply appropriate conservation practices on the land. Today I received a comment on a recent blog, from the son of the pictured Jim Struve, who is interested in learning more about his father’s career. I was thrilled to hear from him and have responded. Jim had a profound effect on my career that led me in advancing to our Washington Office. I am most pleased to provide him any information available. We moved on after a few years and never kept up with the family but its most interesting to hear from people that we only knew as youngsters. “Old people” get a lot of satisfaction in passing on memories, even if the dates may be off a year or two. 

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Hot Water Heater Control after Pilot Light Re-lit.

We were pleased a week or so ago when the contractors from Black Hills Energy came to re-light our Furnace and Hot Water Heater pilot lights. Elaine called to my attention this morning that she had to adjust the shower toward more cold than normal. I was shaving at the time and acknowledged that the hot water was warmer than normal. The fellows at coffee reminded me that they would have had to change the control in lighting the pilot and just didn’t get it back to where it was. When I checked, it was set midway between normal and high. I re-set it to a bit below normal where it had been. I don’t think there was any intention of selling more gas but with all the new lines being laid, and pilot lights being re-lit,  if our experience is representative, many people will find a higher than expected Natural Gas bill. 

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Seward Country Club Golf Course

Gene Oetting and I are shown here as 2007 Co-Champions of the Seward Senior Golf League. While I havn’t played the past couple years, our weekly paper carried a distressing story today of the Club Members having authorized the Board of Directors to dissolve and/or liquidate the Seward Country Club, Inc. at the end of the year. The Board was also authorized to offer the City ownership of the golf course with the city taking over the current debt of about $350,000. The paper didn’t cover additional details, but I understand the Club owns only the 2 acres where the Club house, parking lot and Storage Shed are located. The 9-hole Course and driving range have been utilized under a long term lease.
There was some consideration of the City taking over the Course a few years ago and expanding it to 18-holes, but it never came to pass. My hope is that the City will take it over, assuming an acceptable long term lease can be attained on the 9-hole Course. I would hope that it could be managed to not become a great burden on City taxpayers and could be looked at like our City Library, Park and Recreation Programs, etc. If closed, Seward would be the only City of its size in the State without a golf course. We have seen a Youth program at the Course in recent years as well as High School teams that have done very well. I spent some of my happiest days during the past 25 years out on the Course. The fellowship and exercise was a great benefit to my health and general well-being. I don’t know where this old Plaque may be stored with my name on it, and it really doesn’t make much difference. What will make a difference is in having a Course available for current and future players. 

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Conversion of School to Church

This is what the old Seward High School looked like today. Considerable work has been done to convert it into a “Rock Lutheran Church” after serving as the Seward Middle School for a number of years. It was built in 1919 and continued to be SHS until a new facility was built on Northern Heights some 50 years ago. It served as the Middle School from then until just a few years ago when a new Middle School was built and the entire 3-block school area was sold. 
It appears that the south side of the building will be the front of the Church from the white material that has been put in place. An extensive fire escape has been added on the east side of the building to accommodate the top floor of the building. New heating/air conditioning has also been installed. It is an interesting “work in process”. This is the building that Elaine graduated from with many happy memories. We wish success to those involved, but there are times when demolition is preferred to keep memories in tact.

Monday, October 5, 2015

Pilsner & General Patton

Kiwanis Club Member Louis Reith presented the program this noon on his recent visit to Pilsner in the Czech Republic. He told of the cities involvement in WWII which also led him to a discussion of General George S. Patton. The City has continued to honor and pay respect to Patton and the Allied troops for their liberation. He showed pictures of the beautiful old buildings that have been restored and also of the “non descript” housing that was built during the occupation which still provides living quarters for a significant portion of the City’s population. The City has a long history of its Breweries. We were in the Czech Republic some years ago but didn’t get to Pilsner. However, I did bring home an empty bottle of Pilsner Urquell that had been brewed there. According to Louis’s research, Patton’s leadership style was an excellent match for the situations he faced as he led troops in Africa, through Italy and on into Germany. His research also brought to light personal details which have never been publicized. I had the opportunity to spend 3-weeks with the General’s son, George Patton  III who was a 2-star, General in his own right. He was a Tank Commander and saw action during the Korean War. He and I were classmates and in a small “family group” at Harvard University in 1979. It was a Seminar for Senior Managers in Government and Industry at the Kennedy School and the Harvard School of Business. 

Sunday, October 4, 2015

The Joy of an Auction

We attended the John Potter auction conducted by Underwood's this afternoon at the Seward Ag. Pavilion. It was most interesting with a large amount of very nice items. We had gone to Church early and I went down soon after it started at 11:00am. The had many items grouped together like these 4 books in one box. I was particularly interested in the Paul A. Johnsgard book but also thought the 1977  “Who’s Who in Nebraska”  and the 11th Edition of “Familiar Quotations” by John Bartlett were also  “treasures”. All 3 are in new condition. The 4th was an old Betty Crocker's Cookbook.

I came home for  lunch, and Elaine and I went back down. We also spotted these 4 children's books that were also in excellent condition and got them for $4.  We think Sadie will especially like the Peter Rabbit book with interactive sounds. I have already more than got my $7.50 dollars worth out of the other 3. (The old Cookbook has been recycled.) Just flipping through some of the 1200 pages of the  "Who’s Who” book, I learned more about some friends and relatives. The Johnsgard book is really what I wanted. I don’t believe it had ever been opened since published in 2001. It covers the Geology and Landforms of Nebraska including the State’s Ecological Regions and the Biological Communities. It would have been most helpful during my days with the Nebraska Natural Resources Commission,  but now it is enjoyable and interesting reading. 

Saturday, October 3, 2015

My Narrative of 1988

This picture was taken in 1988. It was the year that I retired from my State job at the Nebraska Natural Resources Commission. I spent much of today writing and including pictures on my narrative of that year’s activities. It was probably one of the most frustrating years we have ever had. After having the farm for 8 years and dividing our time between our home in town and the farm, it was the year that we would spend more time out there and decide where we wanted to call “home”. Be it right or wrong, I still maintained many of the professional activities that I enjoyed while working.
We were both involved with activities that required travel and being away from home frequently. We had a big garden at the farm, harvested Certified Switchgrass as well as a yard that required considerable maintenance. It was an exceptionally hot, dry summer, the well breaking down, and having to walk the soybeans might have been the final straw in our decision to sell the place. Through it all, it was 8 year old Julie who was the bright light that kept us going. She spent a lot of time with us, and as I read back through that ’88 Journal, her name is on most of the pages

Friday, October 2, 2015

Friday night Fish in Bee

 About the time Elaine normally starts fixing our evening meal, she suggested that this would be a good night to go to Bee for Fish. I agreed and so we did. It is not only an excellent place to eat but also a social event. The first people we saw were nephew Terry, his daughter Angie and her daughter Allysa. We joined Lloyd who was alone at a table for 4 and had a good visit. After Lloyd left we asked Leroy and Marlys to join us. Leroy is in the “Helping Hands” Kiwanis Club here in Seward after several years in our “Kiwanis Club of Seward”. We had a lot to visit about.
This is what the plate of fish looks like. In addition it comes with coleslaw, french fries, and a slice of rye bread. I give Elaine my  coleslaw and Elaine shares her fish  and fries with me; so we both have all we can eat. I probably couldn’t get my plate cleaned up if it wasn’t for the Miller draft. We came back to Seward on the country road straight south of Bee. It took us past the Country School which Elaine attended for 8 years. It has been converted into a very nice private home. Some of the Soy Beans have already been harvested and it appears that Corn harvest will begin very soon. Great evening.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Magazine Club Meeting at the National Guard Museum

Our Seward Magazine Club met this evening at the new Nebraska National Guard Museum here in Seward. Col. Jerry Meyer and Mary are members of the Club, and he is the Curator of the Museum. They moved here a year ago  to head up the project of converting a 1956 National Guard Armory into the State NG Museum. They couldn’t have found a better person for the job. Jerry not only has had wide experience in the Guard but also headed the development of the Higgins Memorial at Columbus. He gave us a tour of the facility where a lot of work has already 
been done but much work still remains. It is anticipated that it will be open for business by the 4th of July in 2017. While Museums traditionally have had displays of items for visitors to observe, the trend is to have more interactive exhibits. Jerry has been down to Disney World to work with designers on some of the exhibits. They will recreate an exhibit to depict the hedge row battles in Europe during the summer of 1944 with all the trees, smells and sounds of the actual happening. Jerry has visited the warehouse back at Ft. Belvoir where numerous items will be available on loan for special showings. It is anticipated that the Museum will be a State-of-the-Art Facility and make Seward a destination point for many visitors. The proximity of Seward to Lincoln and Interstate 80 should make this a popular stop for school children.