Monday, November 30, 2015

Sixpence for Early Child Development

Katie, Morgan and Daina presented the Kiwanis program this noon on the “Sixpence” project in which they are all involved. Sixpence is designed to provide parents and soon to be parents the opportunity to bond and develop strong relationships with their children. Parents learn to be their child’s first teacher, promote learning within the home environment, and encourage and support curiosity within the child’s play. Learning begins at birth. Sadly for many infants born at-risk, the achievement gap begins shortly thereafter. In 2006, a group of people came together and passed LB 1256, establishing Sixpence to address this problem. By investing in the early years it is anticipated that children who are at risk have the best opportunity to succeed in school and throughout life. They do that by providing a range of services including home visitation and center-based services that offer safe, responsive and stimulating environments. The program is implemented through the schools, and the Seward program includes Milford and Centennial as well as Seward. They currently have 18 children involved along with their parents. The ladies indicated that they provide guidance to the parents, and they are the ones to actually work with the child. There are usually 3 visits/month where at least 180 minutes/month of guidance is provided. Decades of scientific research tells us that the first few years of a child’s life is when the most rapid brain development occurs. Infants and toddlers are forming key relationships, developing trust, and exploring the world around them.`

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Seward Totem Pole in Ketchikan, Alaska

Here is a blog page that I published on April 4, 2013. I told the story of Wm. H. Seward’s Totem Pole being discolored and what it would take to make recompense with the Tlingit tribe in Alaska. It involved a descendant of Seward’s hosting a Potlatch and providing gifts to tribal leaders. As you read the story you will see a conversion of factors that might have led to success if pursued. However, circumstances prevented it from happening. The fact that we had a descendant of Seward’s in the area was what helped make the possibility intriguing. Those faint hopes were damped this morning as we read in the Lincoln paper that Russell L. Seward, 74 of Fairmont, passed away on November 26, 2015. 

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Seward’s Lighted Holiday Parade

The Seward Chamber of Commerce Lighted Holiday Parade went past our house earlier this evening. This helicopter with hundreds of lights is always a favorite. Santa arrived in town this morning in a sled pulled by Reindeer with 32 point antlers. Sadie was bundled up to really enjoy their being on the Courthouse lawn. Wagon rides were held throughout the afternoon and an “ugly sweater” contest was held at 3:00pm. Chapters Books and Gifts sponsored “Story Time” at 4:00pm at the Civic Center. The Helping Hands Kiwanis Club is serving a soup supper from 6:00-8:00pm.
Another entry in the Parade that I was able to get a picture of was this Lighted troop carrier and Tank. Elaine and I acted our age and rearranged our living room chairs, opened the curtains, turned out our inside lights and watched through the windows. I did step our on the entry way to take a few pictures. It was a great parade. 

Friday, November 27, 2015

For the Birds

It took some years of getting up early and taking advantage of Black Friday bargains to learn a way of saving even more money. It comes rather naturally to those of us who have been around for quite a while. The secret is staying home and watching the birds in the backyard. Elaine told of seeing this fellow a couple days ago, but it came back to the feeder 3 times today. By the third time I had my camera ready and got several shots. While not experts, we believe it to be a Ladder-Backed Woodpecker. We did get down to Pac n Sav to buy a few groceries for the weekend but were home in time for the Iowa - Nebraska football game. I don’t remember a more frustrating season than what we have had this year with the play calling, the offense in general and the Quarterback interceptions in particular. I know the wind and  the weather was a factor today but  their ability to be so good at times, only adds to the frustration.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Thanksgiving Day

Grandpa Ben and Jack joined me in the living room while finishing touches were put on our Thanksgiving Dinner this noon. We had rain during the night and then about 11:00am we had freezing rain. The streets and sidewalks here in Seward couldn’t have been slicker when we picked up the Home Delivered Meals. Our last “customer” told of her son having come out from Lincoln to take her along for dinner at his home. They had only driven a few blocks when she asked that he take her back home because of the icy roads. He asked what she would do for dinner and she said she told him that, “The Kiwanis people would be bringing her dinner”. It made our efforts all worthwhile to know we were so trusted.
We had an excellent Thanksgiving Dinner with Julie, John, Sadie, Jack, Carolyn, Ben, Elaine and I. It was a cooperative effort with Ben having fixed the Turkey and his homemade Kraut, Carolyn the “pink stuff” along with other things, Elaine made Pumpkin pie and Gravy. We also had Acorn Squash, Mashed Potatoes, Carolyn’s pop corn Cornbread, Dressing, Chocolate Pecan Pie, etc. Both Sadie and Jack are good eaters. Julie and John are good hosts. We went home when “nap time” approached and by then the walks and streets were not quite as slick as earlier. This is the way our area looked at 4:00pm. 

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

’Tis the Season

We took advantage of another nice day and put up outside Christmas decorations. I brought down the outside lights from the attic recently and had them in the house to get warm and be checked-out. Elaine helped string them out as I stood on the ladder and used the previously placed wires to tie them to the eave troughs. I used a double string on the porch railing so it lights up the entrance very well. The Chamber of Commerce “Lighted Holiday Parade” will pass in from of our house Saturday evening so we are all set for it.
Elaine did our little artificial Christmas tree inside. She keeps it stored in our lower level closet under the stairway along with a big box that holds the small boxes of items for her Christmas Village. The Village is traditionally placed on top of our dining room buffet. When Sadie and Jack visited us last Saturday, Sadie went along down with Elaine to where these things are stored and asked if Elaine could get the music box out for her. It surprised us to think that a 3-year old would have remembered the Christmas Music Box from a year ago when she was only 2. Some of us have trouble remembering what we are to pick up at the Grocery store if there are more than 3 items and we haven’t written them down. By-the-way, how many of you have your passwords written down to help remember them? 

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Changing Seasons

I have shown and written about our Japanese Maple before but this fall it has been especially outstanding. It’s located between the northwest corner of our house and the Blue Spruce. It’s leaves are a maroon color during the growing season but as fall approaches, they get brighter red with the declining temperatures. This picture was taken on 11/15/15. I took another on 11/19/15 out of our bedroom windows as shown below. Our low temperature so far was 11/22/15, Sunday morning when it dropped down to 22. I did some work in the yard this afternoon and there is hardly a leaf left on the tree . The ground below is covered with the beautiful bright red leaves.
In addition to my yard work this afternoon, I also did some “end of year” planning for tax purposes. This morning I got a haircut at “Bob’s”. There was a young man in the chair as I walked in and two other fellows came soon after. The Thanksgiving Holiday may have motivated the crowd, but this was just like old times with one in the chair and 3 waiting. The discussion was also very “open” as the Seward golf course, Presidential candidates and the winner of the 2 million dollar lottery over at Branched Oak were discussed. Among this “gray haired” crowd, Donald Trump was called a “salesman”. 

Monday, November 23, 2015

Josh Fields-Our Kiwanis President

Kiwanis Club of Seward President Josh Fields is shown here presenting a letter of recognition from Kiwanis International to David Held for his contribution to the success of the “Eliminate” program. Kiwanis International recently concluded a 5-year program by partnering with UNICEF to eliminate neo-natal Tetanus throughout the developing countries. David also received a lapel pin (as shown) indicating that his contribution of $750.00 during the 5-years of the special emphasis program, saved 175 lives. Many other members of our club made contributions toward the International goal during the 5-years when it was the International Special Emphasis Program. The Eliminate program followed the very successful Iodine Deficiency Project.
President Fields also led the program today by announcing the formation of 6 committees and their leaders that will provide the framework for our club’s activities throughout the year. The committees include: Administration, Service Leadership, Membership, Community Service, Fund Raising and Public Relations. Hopefully, every club member will be involved in one of the committees. I chose to be a member of the Public Relations group under the leadership of Jerry Meyer. A great group joined Jerry’s table and began planning the many things we can do to help carryout the Mission of Kiwanis and provide greater service to our members and the local community. 

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Computer Problems

No, this isn't the way our deck looks this afternoon. As noted, the date of this picture was 01/09/2010. You may wonder the significance of that date but it was just a few days after buying my MacBook which I have used to write my blog pages over the past 5 years. It is ironic that yesterday I wrote of it being the anniversary of that first page and today, my laptop macbook is locked up and I'm doing this on our HP PC. I have tried everything to "bring it to life" but have been unable to do so. Interestingly, a full-screen picture of H. H. Bennett's home back in Virginia is on the screen. After coming home from Church this morning, I showed Elaine a couple picture of Jack that John had sent and it seemed to work fine. We also talked about the Bennett picture that son Jon had sent a couple weeks ago so I pulled it up. When I went to close it down the cursor was not to be found. Eventually, I did find it hidden in the picture but can't get it to move. I've tried "escape", "pushing the switch" and nearly every other button, but nothing helps. I'm guessing it needs a new battery and hopefully we can get down to Computer World tomorrow to find out. And, it all happened on son Jon's birthday.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

5th Anniversary and Great Grandchildren

This is the first blog page I posted, 5 years ago today. It told of Carolyn getting a new puppy. I followed up with this picture of Pip on her 3rd birthday.

Tonight's blog page is number 1,778.  I only put out 28 during 2010 and missed several days in 2011, but have not missed many since. I did do 365 in 2014 but have missed a couple days so far this year. I justify spending the time doing it in the hopes that our Grandchildren and Great Grandchildren can learn a bit more about us. But, I also do it for myself. Elaine has edited all of the blog pages and often helps with the research that goes into some of them. Even now I enjoy the “search” feature where all the pages containing a reference can be brought up by entering that reference, i.e. Kiwanis, baseball, etc. This was our coldest day of the fall. It was about 20 this morning and didn’t get over 30. But we certainly enjoyed the visit of John with Sadie and Jack this morning. Julie was busy with the Junior Women’s Craft Fair. Jack is doing real well standing by himself if he has a ball in his hand or anything to keep him from realizing what he is doing. Big sister is so proud of all the things she can teach him and he is a good student.

Friday, November 20, 2015

4th of July picnic

This was a typical 4th of July event at Soucek’s back yard. This happened to be in 1987 but similar gatherings occurred annually over a period of years. I apparently took the picture and Julie is setting in front of her Mother.  They are: (l-r) Carolyn, Gladys, Elaine, Eddy, Mother, Don, Dad and Vivian. We had many other happy family events in their back yard but the 4th was always a “given”. Seward has been known as the US Small Town, 4th of July City since action by Congress. Our small town of something over 7,000 swells to as much as 40,000 during the Holiday. Our house is at the beginning of the 4:00pm parade route so people would gather at our place to watch the parade and then go to Soucek’s for a picnic. Those were the good old days with our immediate family still in tact and I’m not sure we really appreciated it as much as we should have, at that time. 

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Florence and Tony’s Family, Christmas of ‘62

Here is a family Christmas picture that will bring back memories to Aunts and Uncles. We didn’t realize at the time how quickly we move from one generation to the next. Some of the little kids are now grandparents. And, there were several grandchildren added to this generation during the following few years. This picture came from Mother’s collection and was taken on her camera. We don’t know who may have taken it since we’re all on it and this was before the days of timers. We think the folks may have had college boys staying with them at that time but any other suggestions would be appreciated. We had moved to Arlington, VA, in July of 1962 and were most anxious to get back for a family visit at Christmas time. We continued to put high priority on getting back at Christmas time as well as once during the summer, during the 18 years that we were back east. Space doesn’t allow a description of all the road problems, weather and car problems we encountered, but all of the trips were very worthwhile. And, basically, we were very lucky. The Joys far offset the problems.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Golden Corral & other “First”.

We met Brother Don and Gladys here at the Golden Corral in Lincoln this noon for lunch. We had been there before but it had been some time ago. The noon Buffet is just fantastic. The number of choices is unbelievable. (And, it cost about the same as my regular catered Kiwanis lunch). We always have great visits catching up on family and local news. Some of our news occurred at our breakfast table this morning as we watched the winter’s first snow flakes fall. It didn’t accumulate but came down in “White Christmas” manner. Our morning was also “punctuated” by Elaine putting in her hearing aids for the first time. She had them “installed” and adjusted yesterday by the audiologist at Bryan and wore them during the rest of the day. While he had her put them on a couple times yesterday, doing it at home this morning was different. I hadn’t watched very closely yesterday and was probably more of a problem this morning than help. Fortunately she got them in after about a half hour of working at it. She has worn them all day as we visited with Don and Gladys  and shopped at Menard’s. She even visited with Tim over the phone this evening. I certainly admire her willingness to tolerate this “break in period” in anticipation of an improved life style. 

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Bayer Crop Sciences Facility

As our new President of the Kiwanis Club of Seward, Josh Fields has brought some interesting innovations to the club meetings. He recognized that with our number of new members it would be well for everyone to become acquainted. For a couple meetings we got up from our table and met someone new. Yesterday, he asked each table to discuss what it means to be “engaged” with Kiwanis. It stimulated discussion among the 6 people at each of some 8-10 tables and a variety of good definitions were reported. It may have taken a few minutes from the Bayer Crop Science program presented by Sally Clayshuite, but she made a great presentation and was surrounded with people asking her questions after the meeting was adjourned. We in Seward County, Nebraska are very fortunate to have the International Bayer Company choose a 400 acre farm along I-80 for it’s 17 million dollar Research Facility and to be working cooperatively with the University of Nebraska for improved varieties of wheat and soybeans in the midwestern region.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Seward Street from 6th to 5th.

Here is a neat old picture of the north side of the Seward, NE city square. Judging by the vehicles, my guess is that it was taken in the late ’20’s or early ’30’s. The building in the foreground was Ben Goehner’s hardware store. Brockhoff’s Drug store was a few doors to the east with Louis Brinkmeyer’s Pop Corn Wagon out in front. The Graff Clothing sign is visible further east. The Fred Goehner furniture store is on the corner of the next block east. While the facades of the buildings have changed considerably as have the businesses operating along this block, it is still the most frequently visited block in downtown Seward. The little “Keep Right” traffic sign in the middle of the Seward Street-6th Street (highway #15) intersection, has long since been replaced with an overhead traffic light. All  of the buildings in this block have gone through numerous tenants since this picture was taken. Elaine and I believe that the Et Cetera store at the east end of this block has been operating from that location, the longest of any in the block. 

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Learning from Nature

This is the way our back yard looked by about 3:30 this afternoon after first chopping up the leaves with the mower and then picking them up with the catcher and putting them on the compost pile. Elaine played a major role in the operation.  We were up early and went to 8:30 Church. During social hour we were able to get a little Shamrock plant that was left over from yesterday’s Bazaar. It even provided the opportunity to tell the Preacher about my Irish ancestory. Social hour is an important part of the Sunday morning worship service for some of us. Carolyn came down to visit after lunch which we always enjoy. 
While we always enjoy the fall color of our Burning Bush, it is the Japanese Maple that is really vibrant. There is no measure in the pleasure that comes from working with nature on a plot of land as small as our city lot. We live in a great part of the country that enables us to grow a wide variety of items. While only a small percentage of our countries population have the privilege of living on a farm, we need more opportunity for city dwellers to work with nature if on nothing more than a tomato plant in a flower pot. There is so much to be learned from nature.  It could help reduce our intercity violence. 

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Beautiful Day in Seward, Nebraska, USA

This is the way our front yard looked this afternoon following our cleaning up of the leaves. I went over it with the mower just to chop up the leaves first and then picked them up with the grass catcher in place. I also chopped up the leaves that had accumulated along the curb but left them for the City Street Sweeper to pick up. The dark material at the bottom of the picture is part of a red barberry hedge in from of our entryway. Nebraska won the football game over Rutgers by a score of 31-14 which brings the season record to  5 W- 6 L with unbeaten Iowa still on the schedule for the day after Thanksgiving in Lincoln. I don’t remember a Nebraska football team that has such great swings between great and poor play. It is exemplified by Quarterback Tommy Armstrong. Within today’s game a clip of his great plays could be put together that would make him look like an "All American” but, another clip showing his 3 interceptions and some other plays, leave you wondering.  It will be interesting to read the papers in the morning to see what the “scribes” have to say. The terrorist attack in Paris last night helps put a college football game in perspective. This type of event makes us realize our vulnerability and the challenges to our security systems.

Friday, November 13, 2015

Beautiful Fall Day

Elaine hustled around this morning and got up to the Church to help with the pricing of items as they were being brought in for the Bazaar tomorrow. I would have had plenty of time to get to the 1st Impressions Committee meeting at 9:00am but completely forgot about it. I did get to coffee and as usual, learned a few things. The leaves on our Red Oak in the back yard continue to take on a more reddish-brown color which is a sign that they will be dropping within the next week or so. The Yellow Maple leaves from the tree in the front yard are basically down. I did get out in 60 degree sunshine to tear out the “Heavenly Blue Morning Glory” that was thriving along with our Clematis on the railing of our front porch. I used the rake and blower to get the leaves and other residue out to where I could go over it with the lawn mower. I then put the grass catcher on the mower and went over the front yard and picked up all the stuff.
It was all put on the compost pile to begin the process of decomposition. I was also able to finish up my 1989 narrative that has taken me much longer than anticipated. Much of it had to do with our becoming involved with the Soil and Water Conservation Society in Ankeny, IA. It was ironic that as Elaine was doing the final proof reading of the 16 page, single spaced document, I came across this little “Made in China” rock doll that someone gave me for my desk while at Ankeny. I don’t know what message was intended with the expression displayed, but somehow it always seemed this little guy was telling me that whatever it was that I was working on, wasn’t as important as I thought it was. And beyond that, It was telling me that I wasn’t as important either as what I thought I was. 

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Preparations for Winter

Elaine and I have been through the days of exchanging storm windows and screens twice a year from the time of our first little house. So, when we bought our current house and it had quality Pella windows, we added combination aluminum storm/screens on the outside, on the north and west windows before the first winter. It was a good decision. We finished the switch to “winter mode” today by dropping the lower glass windows into place by releasing the little notches that holds them up during the summer. It is a very simple process but does involve a little finger strength and care. It is also an ideal time to clean the window sills. 
Our doors are another matter. They each have an “insert” with glass for winter and with screen for summer. (the upper half of the door) It is somewhat akin to switching like we did the old storm/screens at our first house but a lot easier. The key is in having them marked to be able to put them in properly. Back before we got them marked, it was always a challange. We have now completed the switchover on both windows and doors. We have hot water, baseboard heating and a separate air conditioning system which still needs to be “winterized”. Our AC system is in the attic with the heat/exchanger outside. The ceiling AC vents need to be closed and the warm air intake vents closed and covered with magnetic pads. We have had Black Hills energy check the furnace as they relit the pilot lights after laying new pipelines this fall. I’ve also exchanged my short sleeved shirts for the long sleeved ones from the lower level closet. 

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Bit of Cheer on a Gloomy Day

This is how our backyard appeared this afternoon.  It could be said that it was a “gloomy day”. I woke up with a hoarse voice this morning so didn’t sing with the Kitones at the Middle School Veterans program. I spent a lot of time on the PC finishing the narrative of 1989. It is a 15 page single spaced summary of our activities during the year. It was a very significant year in our lives. We sold the farm, had a farm Auction, went on a 6 week trip to Alaska, accepted the position of Executive VP of the Int. Soil and Water Conservation Society in Ankeny, IA and my Dad’s death at years end. I had written a page in my Journal on every day of the year. It was by going through those pages, reviewing the pictures taken during the year, and utilizing a bit of memory that the narrative was written. Needless to say, the year had its highs and its lows. In retrospect, I wish I would have started playing golf sooner and done that rather than accepting the Iowa position that took us out of town during both Mother and Dad’s last year with us. Writing about all of this today only added to the “gloomyness”. The highlight of the day was a telephone call from brother Don who always brings good cheer and arrangements for getting together in Lincoln for lunch next week. 

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Great Picture-Seward School Kindergarten Class 1923

Here is a great picture of the Seward Public School Kindergarten Class in 1923. The picture was taken with the 1919 building which served as SHS for many years, in the background. Here are the names of most of the people in the picture. Those unknown are designated with a line. I have sent a copy of this to Carol who is the daughter of Ruth Ruzicka, a relative of mine who had never seen the picture. I had occasion to know several of the people pictured and worked with some of them. It’s a Great Picture. It must have been a show and tell day.

Monday, November 9, 2015

Veterans Day at Seward Kiwanis

PeeWee Schulz was chair of the Kiwanis Veteran’s program at the meeting today. The communities of Beaver Crossing, Milford, Pleasant Dale, Garland, Seward, Utica, and Cardova were all well represented. A free Pac n Sav, Chicken Dinner was provided to each of the Veterans. The Kitones sang “American Heros” and “God Bless America”. Col. Jerry Meyer spoke on the “Gold Star Event” held this past weekend and progress being made in the Nebraska National Guard Museum here in Seward. Jerry is an excellent speaker and is devoted to helping young people understand “The Price of Freedom”. He showed a sample of Telegrams used during WWII to inform next-of-kin of the death of Servicemen and Women.
They have a collection of 150 such telegrams that are being utilized in one of the Museum’s exhibits. One of them involved a young man by the name of “Francis Delanney” who grew up here in Seward and lived in a house within a “stones throw” of the Museum. They are collecting photographs of as many as they can and preparing a “Wall of Fame”. Jerry indicated that he had met with several of the Veteran groups in their home locations but also utilized this meeting to invite stories from them that can be a part of exhibit. Elaine is preparing such information on a cousin who lost his life in the Battle at Saint Lo. It will be part of the “Corn Rows to Hedge Rows” story.  

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Red Leaves & Big Red

I took this picture of the Burning Bush in our back yard after we finished supper this evening. Without Daylight Saving Time, the sun sets early these days. It is during these hours, when the sun is low in the west that the color of the bush is most vibrant. We trimmed it quite severely a year ago and all the colorful leaves are on “new growth”. I enjoy the red leaves just about as much as I enjoyed reading about Nebraska’s 39-38 victory over Michigan State last evening. While it took a couple good breaks and calls to help with the win, it is small compensation for the breaks and call that didn’t come our way earlier. This will make the remaining games most interesting. 

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Nebraska vs Michigan State

This is showing the opening seconds of the last play in the first half of the Nebraska-Michigan State game in Lincoln. It resulted in MS completing a pass into the end zone and taking a 17-13 lead into the half. While it’s risky to write about a game at halftime, Nebraska generally played more nearly like Husker Fans expect than they have in earlier games. It’s good to have Tommy Armstrong back on the field. However, he again showed his old nemesis of throwing off balance into double coverage and having a pass intercepted. I will be pleased if they play as well in the second half as they did in the first. That last TD just before half was a bummer, but I believe we’ve got a chance to pull off an upset. 

Friday, November 6, 2015

Son Jon

This picture of Jon was taken on February 28, 1970, in the Patio of the USDA Administration Building at a Science Fair. He was recognized for a “Soils Exhibit” he put together for the event. Yesterday, some 45+ years later,  he walked across the  same “stage” to be recognized as the team leader for a “Conservation Client Gateway” program for which he led the development. It is a computer program that enables farmers and other clients to utilize soils and other data, in making decisions on all USDA programs. One of the judges at the earlier Science Fair  where Jon received a Blue Ribbon was the
Associate Chief of the Soil Conservation Service (SCS) who had a son that was a Soil Scientist with SCS. By the time he and Jon ended their visit, Jon had decided he wanted to become a Soil Scientist. He was also familiar with his Uncle Dale who had a PhD in Agronomy with a soils major. Through High School and College he never waivered from his plan and along with it, became an early user of computers. He worked at several locations is Virginia as a Student Trainee while still in college and upon graduation from VPI, worked at several locations with SCS in North Carolina. He then worked in the NY State SCS Office at Syracuse and spent a few years in the Soils Center at Lincoln, NE. He was promoted to the Washington Office in ’96 where he got an MA degree from GWU and has now been recognized for his outstanding leadership. 

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Dr. Van in Haiti

Van and Becky along with Jack and Glennie, hosted the Magazine Club this evening. After hearing our Magazine articles, Dr. Van provided the program on a recent mission trip to Haiti. The group included pre-med students from Concordia with Van being the only MD. It’s hard to believe the primitive conditions that he described that were supported by pictures. Haiti has a population of some 9 million and shares an island in the Caribbean with the Dominican Republic. Haiti has suffer throug recent hurricanes which did untold damage to the land, forest and their ability to produce a livelihood for the masses. The country’s wealth is held by a very small portion of the population. The country was a French colony for some time and the inhabitants were victims of corrupt leadership following their independence. It is admirable that people like Dr. Van are willing to share their talents in helping people to the extent they can, but it takes a special person. The young college students along on the mission have had an experience they will never forget. It makes all of us appreciate just how fortunate we are.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Trees-Fleeting Fall Color

With temperatures in the low 70’s and a strong south wind, the colored leaves fell today. We are to have another nice day tomorrow but a cold front is on it’s way. This time of year, we appreciate every 70 degree day we may have. The red maple across the street was just beautiful a couple days ago. As shown on the ground below it, they come down in a hurry. We have a Japanese Maple in our backyard with red leaves. They are not as vibrant as those across the street but tend to “hang on” much longer. Our Birch trees have been losing their leaves as they turn yellow over the past few weeks. The leaves on the Red Oak in the backyard just get a “rusty, reddish” color
as can be seen over the left end of our house. We have planted all the trees in our yard and that adds to the enjoyment we get from them. It has been said that the best time to plant a tree was 25 years ago. The second best time is tomorrow. While it may seem that trees grow slowly, it’s amazing how soon they get to be the size of this yellow maple in our front yard. We do have a problem with this tree in that it seems that the roots have come to the surface around the trunk making it difficult for grass to grow. I don’t know what could cause this unless I didn’t plant it quite  deep enough. We have seen the trees in other yards with a retaining edge filled with compost. 

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Burn down or Restore

This old house at 411 north 3rd street is scheduled to be burned down by the City Volunteer Fire Dept. this Saturday. The owner has had “open house”  a couple times to provide an opportunity for salvage.  It is in the original residential area of the City and probably well over 100 years old. It is in the same neighborhood as a house my Great-Grandfather built after coming back to Seward after fighting for the Union Army in the Civil War. It is a much smaller house which has been updated on more than one occasion over the years. It is a very attractive little home and here is how it looks today. The “moral” of the story is that it is a lot easier and less expensive to provide the necessary maintenance and restoration to a small house than a large one.  I’m very pleased that we have a very few stately old homes that have been restored here is Seward during the past couple years but the cost has run to the millions for some. 

Monday, November 2, 2015

World Champion Royals

Salvador Perez is shown with the new Chevy he received for being selected as the MVP of the World Series. Royals manager Ned Yost said that his one regret was having taken him out in the 9th inning for a pinch runner but that contributed to their 7-2 victory and the World Championship. We are going through “withdrawal” tonight without having a baseball game to watch.  Dancing with the Stars hardly fills the bill. We will go to bed early after staying up late last night to watch even part of the celebration. I have been fighting a cold for the past several days but feel like I’m gaining on it. After not having been out of the house over the weekend, I did take Elaine down to buy some groceries this morning. I still didn’t feel like going to coffee nor to Kiwanis or Kitone practice this evening. I have an appointment with Dr. Linder in Lincoln tomorrow afternoon concerning possible Cataract surgery. Carolyn will be driving us down since my eyes are likely to be dilated. I trust that my cold will not affect his examination. 

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Happy Birthday Grandson

We have 5 Grandchildren with only one Grandson. He is in Indiana and celebrating a birthday today, Nov. 1. He is 63 younger than I.. His name is Anthony but has always been called “Tony”.  My Dad’s name was Anton and always called “Tony”. Though my name is Verlon, I too have been called Tony since High School days.  There is some physical resemblance between our Grandson and me at his age. I have given some thought to giving a talk as “Tony Vrana” pretending to be him in the year 2078, and tell people what it was like back when his Grandad was the age that he will be by then. I could start out by saying, “some of you may have heard your parents or Grandparents refer to a fellow by the name of Tony Vrana” and go on to say that, “ Would you believe that back in his day, the early part of this century, people even questioned man’s impact on climate change; genetic modification of food products was being questioned, Walmart had stores in every major community, we had never had a woman president and football was being played as a college sport”. You get the idea, I think with your help I could come up with many things that we take for granted today, that won’t be with us in 63 years. Some of them, the young people we never have heard of. Happy Birthday, Tony, you have a lot to look forward to.