Friday, March 31, 2017

A. J. "Eddy" Soucek's Retirement.

My brother-in-law, A. J. "Eddy" Soucek retired from the USDA Soil Conservation Service (SCS) in Seward, NE. He was recognized for his 32 years of service with a "coffee" on April 11, 1986. I was working with the Nebraska Natural Resources Commission at the time, and am shown here attaching a "Nebraska Soil and Water Steward" pen to Eddy's lapel. The SCS name has been changed to Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) with an expanded mission. Our son Jon has been with SCS/NRCS for a number of years and writing a paper of our family history with the Agency. We are looking for pictures of Eddy working out in a field or with his SCS truck. 
This 2nd picture was taken at the same event and shows Eddy with William Gilliam, his District Conservationist who had been his boss.  I have been active in the Association of Retired Conservation Employees since my retirement but have not kept up with current employees. The programs of the Agency continue to be very relevant in working with farmers and land users for the sustainable use of our Natural Resources in the production of Food and Fiber. Our country's agricultural production continues to be a real success story. The challenge is to utilize our soil and water on a sustainable basis.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Vrana Family Conservation Story

Our youngest son Jon has worked for the Soil Conservation Service since his college days as a Student Trainee.  He has been in the Washington, D.C. office for 20 years after having worked in several locations during his earlier years. His many activities now include a review of the history of the Agency which began as the Soil Erosion Service in the Department of Interior under the leadership of Hugh H. Bennett. In 1935 it was transferred to Agriculture as the Soil Conservation Service.  The name was changed a few years ago to the Natural Resources Conservation Service. It is not unusual for multi family members to have careers in the Agency. I worked for 32 years as did my brother-in-law. My Brother Don is shown in this picture with the top Officials of the Agency while on a tour of Watershed projects in the Syracuse, NE, area where he was stationed. This picture will be an important part of our Vrana Family Conservation story. 

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Greg Butcher, finalist for Seward City Administrator.

The public was provided the opportunity to meet Greg Butcher at the Library this evening. He is a finalist to fill the position of Seward City Administrator, a job that has been vacant for some time. Mr. Butcher is currently the City Attorney at Beatrice with additional City Administrator responsibilities including management of economic development funds, writing grants, involvement in personnel decisions, managing employees within his department, etc. I participated in the hour long session hosted by Mayor Josh Eickmeier and was favorably impressed with Mr. Butcher. He was raised in Lincoln, went to Northeast High, received a BS degree from UN-L majoring in Political Science. He worked with the Nebraska Legislature for some years, received his Law degree from UN-L and has had a few years of City experience in Beatrice. He gave 10-15 minutes of background information and then answered questions from the audience. The questions covered a wide range of topics all the way from family to why would you want to come to Seward.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Family Lunch in Lincoln

We met Don and Gladys at the "O" street Villager for lunch this noon. Having missed a few months of getting together, we each came with "agenda" items. Our families were a big part of the discussion. Don and I each have questions about things that happened during our "growing up" days. Though Don is 4 1/2 years younger, he spent a lot more time with Dad doing things that I wasn't involved in. We are all looking forward to having a couple days at Mahoney Park this summer for a family reunion. While we have 2 Great-Grandchildren, Don and Gladys have 11, with their oldest already in college. Face book helps us maintain some contact but it will be nice to spend some time with them in person. We realize that many of the family will not be able to participate for various reasons. ( The total number approaches 90). With our having family in Virginia, Connecticut, Georgia, Ohio, and Indiana as well as Nebraska, we know that several will not be able to be there. Don and Gladys have the largest family with a high percentage living in Nebraska. We will have other families coming from California and Wisconsin. If the oldest member is recognized at the reunion, I know who it will be.

Monday, March 27, 2017

Vranas at the "Vrana Farm"

We are meeting Brother Don and Gladys for lunch tomorrow and I have my list of things to discuss. This was taken a few years ago when we were on a nostalgia tour of the farm where we "grew up". Don has grabbed my hind pocket like he did when we were kids going up to get the cows from the pasture. It was the farm where our Dad "grew up" and lived until he and Mother were married. They came to Seward where our sister, Don and I were born. We moved back out there 12 years after Dad had left and had family living there until about 1960 when the farm was sold. It has not been in the family now for about the same number of years it was the "Vrana farm", but we still have affection for the hills.

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Dana Altman's Oregon Ducks in Final Four

We're down to the Final 4. North Carolina's 75-73 win over Kentucky fills it out along with South Carolina, Gonzaga and Oregon. I will be rooting for Oregon and have been since Duke got beat but also favor North Carolina. I use the 64 team Bracket more to keep track of scores and winners than to guess at all games before the tournament begins. I fill out my bracket round at a time. I missed 7 times out of the first round of 32 winners, 4 out of the Sweet 16, 2 of the elite 8 and 1 of the final 4. My system has no role in the competition of "Bracketology" but for me it has meaning in continuing the selection from among those still in the game. I worked back in the '90's with Dana Altman's Father-in-Law. At that time, Dana was coaching in Missouri. I learned a lot about the young man who grew up in Wilber, the "Czech Capitol" of Nebraska. Coach Altman has a great following of friends here, after several years at Creighton, before going west.

Saturday, March 25, 2017

A Very Thankful Day

This was a good day. Not because of the 40 degree temperature with 20mph NNE wind and some rain, but because of family. Our old Microwave has not been fully operational for some time and like other things "old people" get along with, we hadn't replaced it. This afternoon, just after I opened the mail, Carolyn walked in and then came Ben carrying a new Hamilton Beach Microwave oven. They got it set-up, the old one ready for recycling, and even the clock set. Elaine's image in the glass door reading the instruction manual is a bonus. We had already been to the Recycle Center, Elaine had been to the Beauty Shop, and we had a good visit with John, Sadie and Jack. John gave me some further Kiwanis web site training, I tapped into his knowledge for some investment thoughts in these perilous times, and we always enjoy the Kids.
After a short nap, I decided to do some "patch-work repair" to the framework supporting the one railing of our north garage door. I used a piece of 1x4 that was saved from some of Verlon's home maintenance work last summer to "prop-up" the railing and then, tied it up with a double wire, twisted with a nail to hold it in place. I was satisfied that it would hold and after a short rest, was going to remove the prop. Elaine had put the right number of blocks under it earlier as we got it "in place" and suggested we just leave the prop where it is. It isn't  a permanent fix but an example of how 2 heads are better than one. We will watch the games tonight but it's too bad that either Oregon or Kansas are going to drop out of the NCAA Tournament tonight.

Friday, March 24, 2017

Importance of Kiwanis

The Kiwanis Club of Seward celebrated its 50th year of service to the community and Children of the world a year ago. One of our most visible projects is the Flag Display along highway 34 at the east entrance to the City. I had occasion today to go through my Kiwanis files and found that my Certificate of Membership is dated May 16, 1986.  And, it was with the Lincoln Center Club in Lincoln, NE. I was with the Nebraska Natural Resources Commission but worked closely with Soil Conservation Service personnel. Val who was the SCS Lancaster County District Conservationist was my sponsor. We met every Friday for lunch and I really appreciated the fellowship and opportunity to become friends with many of Lincoln's movers and shakers. I continued active membership until moving to Ankeny, IA with the Int. Soil and Water Conservation Society. When we came back to Nebraska to retire in 1952, I quickly joined the Seward Club. We have been a very active Club with sponsoring a Club in Milford and a second Club in Seward. We have also been very active in International Programs such as Iodine Deficiency and Eliminate programs as well as our Community, Agricultural, and Youth programs locally. I have received several awards during these past 25 years with being named a Nebraska-Iowa District, Distinguished President for the 1996-'97 Club Year, being the most cherished. While I no longer provide a leadership role in the Club, I never miss a weekly luncheon meeting and often provide some photography service. The fellowship with old and new friends becomes more important as we grow older.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

A Good Rain would Help

We are looking forward to having Jack at our house tomorrow morning for a while. He, Sadie and Julie have all been under the weather these past few days but  are on the road to recovery. Elaine and I appreciate having  Jack around for his "youthful exuberance" and optimism that he passes on to us, just by his presence. It is always difficult for us to adapt to the time change; we are still getting over Duke getting beat in the 2nd round of the NCAA tournament, and now we are having some garage door problems. One of the channel braces has broken.
I was able to get on our step ladder yesterday and do a temporary fix but today am stiff and sore from using some muscles that have "aged". I called a repair shop and was told by the receptionist they would call back, but it still hasn't happened. It's a small job and something I could have fixed a few years ago. We do appreciate the Daffodils blooming next to our front porch. We have also noticed Japanese Magnolia's in bloom around town. We always enjoy seeing the one that we planted in the early '80's at the house where my folks lived. It has been well cared for by more than one owner during the years. It would help if the Oregon Ducks could win their game tonight. I worked with Dana Altman's father-in-law who was detailed from SCS to work with us in the Nebraska Natural Resources Commission back in the late 80's.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Seward Housing

We have several new houses under construction here in Seward, with most of them at the edge of town. This is an exception in the heart of the original housing area at 3rd and Roberts street. It occupies a quarter of a block which was the setting for two houses at one time. There is a "For Sale" sign already posted but I have no idea of what the room arrangements may be nor of the asking price. But it does appear to be a very efficient use of limited building space.
We have several duplexes in our central city area and one site with 4 zero lot-line houses. We have a duplex across the street from us which was built when an old house was removed. While such units provide a certain amount of efficiency, it is apparent that there were no provisions made for the large garbage containers now in use. The single car garage also leads on on-street parking of the 2nd (or more) vehicles. I think a City Ordinance may be necessary for brightly colored garbage cans in public view.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Employment with SCS/NRCS

Son Jon has had some interesting discussions with fellow USDA (NRCS) employees on the length of their family history with the Agency. Like many organizations, multi-generational employment is not that unusual. Jon's career in SCS/NRCS overlapped with mine which spanned the years of 1948 to 1980. The Soil Conservation Service (SCS) was established in USDA in 1935 and it's name changed to Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) in the late 1990's to express their expanded mission.  Jon was only 7 years old when I was transferred to the Washington D.C. office back in 1962 and where he has worked for some years after several locations around the US as a Soil Scientist. Our family not only includes the work of Jon and I, but also that of other family members. This is something that I have been researching recently in our annual Highlights and Diary's.  My sister's husband, Eddy started working with us in the Seward Office in the spring of 1954 as a WAE Conservation Technician and to a career appointment in Lancaster County in May of 1955. Elaine's Father, Albert worked for a couple years as an SCS part-time Conservation     Technician following his farm auction in January of 1956. My brother Don  also gave up farming and  started working as a Technician with SCS in March of 1957. By mid-summer he received a career appointment to a position in Papillion and later transferred to Syracuse where they live to this day. My "research" hasn't taken me to their ending service dates. Eddy worked a full career, Don gave up the Civil Service job after a number of years and finished out a career in the insurance business and as an Auctioneer. We were, and all are, proud of our contributions to the conservation of our soil and water natural resources.

Monday, March 20, 2017

Kiwanis Ag Banquet

Elaine and I attended the 49th Annual Kiwanis and SCCDP Ag Recognition Banquet at the Ag Pavilion this evening with 540 attendees.  Larry & Doug Tonniges and families were recognized as the 2017 Kiwanis Outstanding Farm Family of the Year. Some years ago, the Seward County Chamber and Development Partnership, joined Kiwanis in the recognition of an Annual Agribusiness Award winner. This year's winner was Doug Brand. The Briggs Family and Seward Co. Fair Ag Scholarships were also presented to selected students.
Jon Vanderford from Lincoln's 10/11 KOLN served as Emcee is shown presenting the Agribusiness Award to Doug Brand. Jon explained that his wife Taryn, who joins him on the "Pure Nebraska" program, was planning to come with him but had family commitments. Don Rondorf, chair of the Kiwanis Ag Recognition Banquet Committee recognized Sponsors, and all who helped make the event a success. Don and the committee did an excellent job of having drinks, a salad, prime rib dinner, and Award winners recognized, all within a 2-hour period.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

March Madness and Warm Weather

Elaine and I had a great day. After a good nights sleep we enjoyed Jane Pauly with the Sunday Morning show as we read the newspapers. We attended 10:30 church where 3 beautiful little girls were baptized. The Ralph Hansen family was celebrating birthdays and hosted Social Hour. Our Chili soup lunch was a bit late as we watched Michigan upset Louisville in a close finish. I was pleased to see Kansas and North Carolina win their way into the Sweet Sixteen. Oregon has their work cut out for them as they trail Rhode Island by 8 with 14 minutes to go.
I was able to watch Kentucky hold off Wichita State 65-62 as I worked on a paper at the HP computer on our lower level. The paper had to do with my early introduction to Soil Conservation practices and employment with the Soil Conservation Service of USDA. It was cool downstairs but when I finished the first draft for Elaine to review, and saw the temperature of the thermometer on the Deck, decided it was time for a drink. It tends to register a little high but even the electronic one downtown showed a high of 86. Our big game tonight will be Duke vs South Carolina which has just gotten underway. Jefferson got the first basket of the game after getting a contact lens replaced.

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Craft Fairs and Basketball

Seward hosted a "Junk & Stuff" craft event this weekend in 3 buildings at the Fair Grounds. It was advertised as having 175 booths set up by people who mostly came from some distance. This is one that caught my eye, that a retired fellow and his wife from Kearney, NE, brought down. He cuts out the letters from old license plates and staples them on a board to make an attractive sign. He gets $3.00 for the Board and $3.00 for each letter. He had individual sacks with each of the 26 letters and an assortment of boards, so he could make "on  the spot", whatever customers wanted. There were more things that appealed to the ladies, but there were some "man junk" like old end wrenches. We only visited the Harvest Hall but assumed there were similar things in the Ag Pavilion and the 4-H Building. It was interesting to see the creative ideas demonstrated to recycle old "junk" into saleable items. I took our weekly recycle stuff to the Center this morning while Elaine was at her weekly Beauty Shop appointment. We didn't accomplish a lot today, but Elaine made a Pecan Pie which hit the spot while watching basketball. I missed 7 out of the first 32 and have already missed 2 of the Sweet Sixteen. (I pick the winners prior to each round rather than the whole bracket.) Wisconsin beating Villanova, last year's winner and a #1 seed, was a real upset. Xavier could become the "dark horse" of the tournament after already beating 2 higher seeded teams.

Friday, March 17, 2017

The Land Looks Better than the Villages

We took time out from watching basketball this 66 degree afternoon to go on a car ride out in the Garland area. Such a ride always provides mixed emotions. The Garland school district built this new 1-12 grade, brick building in 1920 and graduated it's last Sr. HS Class in 1969. The grade school continued on for some years. The new Gymnasium was built in the mid 60's and the whole complex was sold some 30 years ago. It's now used by a trucker for storage and looks  far removed from what it once was.
We went on out NE of Garland on a "dead end" road and watched this herd of Lamas grazing in  prairie grasses. The contrast between these two versions of "Land Use" is striking. I remember when the cultivated hills were eroded which made for an unpleasant sight and the buildings in town looked well kept. While some of them still are well maintained, many of them look worse than the school building. New homes are being built on agricultural land in the area between Garland and Lincoln but the last one build in Garland goes back about 40 years.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Corned Beef, Cabbage and Polka Music

Elaine and I participated in a St. Patrick's Dinner of Corned Beef and Cabbage at the Senior Center this evening. After a great meal we were entertained for over an hour by Lonnie Piitz with his accordion and sense of humor. Katrina does an excellent job of managing the Center along with many volunteers. In addition to playing Polka music and leading the singing of old favorites, Lonnie told of his learning to play the Accordion. His dad had played one that he found in the closet one day as a teenager. He quickly learned how to play the melody with his right hand but couldn't coordinate it with the left hand.
He told of spending hours trying to learn to get the two hands coordinated and then all of a sudden it just happened and he doesn't even have to think about which buttons the left hand touches. It reminded me of having had the same problem when I tried to play Dad's accordion. I solved the problem by having brother Don play the cords while I played the melody. Needless to say, that revelation of being able to do it all by myself never happened. When Dad handed his accordion to our son Jon, he just took and played it with both hands. It must have come naturally to him without having to go through the process of training his mind.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Railway Map Of Nebraska, 1937

This 1937 "Official Railway Map of Nebraska has been in a box of items that I collected a few years ago while actively selling on eBay. I'm taking it to coffee tomorrow morning and doubt that I will bring it home. In addition to the 10 Railroad line Routes shown on this side of the map, the back side lists the Location and Population of All Towns in Nebraska According to Official 1930 Census, and Shipping and Postal Guide. It measures 46 by 24 inches.
This Map was issued by the Nebraska State Railway Commission, Lincoln, Nebraska. Commissioners: Will M. Maupin, Chairman; Commissioners: F. A. Good and Duane T. Swanson; George E. Thuman, Secretary; J. A. Little, Rate Expert and Hugh W. Cargo, Engineer. The map is in pretty frail condition. It would take some restoration to be able to display it in a useful manner. While the Map and Rail Routes are most interesting, the information on the backside is also interesting. Our town of Seward is considered to have a population of 7,000 and the 1930 census showed 2737.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Bird Feed & Affordable Health Care

This picture was taken on March 10, 2013 and I could have taken the same one this morning. We woke up to a covering of snow and it continued through the morning as it warmed up enough to melt off our driveway. I devoted my day to doing what is necessary to take out Income Tax info to our Tax Consultant. While I listed 1099's as they arrived, I put all pertinent information on a sheet to help Ken with his getting the correct info on the Tax Forms. I must admit to getting lost with some of the Edward Jones investments material. The Ameritrade material is also a challenge. With all the publicity of Health Care in D. C. these days, it's comforting to have Medicare and BC/BS as a supplement. We have had the BC/BS for many years dating back to when it became available to Federal employees. We carried "Self and Family" while our kids were home and until regulations were revised a year or so ago.  Elaine and I can now be covered by "Self and One" at a small reduction in price. We have been very fortunate over the years in the amount of claims we have made, and yet for a couple major operations, it was certainly well we had the coverage. I have no idea what the cost/benefit ration may be because of the spread between what Medical facilities list as their "price" and what they accept as payment from insurance. I certainly don't know enough about the arguments being made about the ACA (Affordable Care Act) and the current proposals to make any suggestions, but believe it's a much more complicated problem than those who were anxious to repeal "Obamacare" recognized. 

Monday, March 13, 2017

Dave Oates Makes Great Sausage

David Oates presented his "Sausage" program at Kiwanis this noon. He has done this before, and it's always a crowd pleaser.  He is a member of our Club following a very successful 40-year career with the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission. For many years prior to his retirement, he served as Director of the G & P Laboratory. Some years ago, he and some fellow employees started making sausage on weekends as a way of utilizing wild game, primarily deer. Over time it has expanded to a wide range of "creatures". He and his sausage crew developed a long standing tradition to host a "sausage" picnic for employees of G & P and guests. While they have some of the best equipment available at their command, they also have some very useful antiques. Dave is shown holding one of these which he bought from my wife. It carries long time Flowerday  Family history. 
 Dave was assisted by Club member Larry Smith (Retired Dentist) who furnished a flock of Prairie Chickens to Dave for a special variety of Sausage. Though they utilize a wide number of species in making specific sausages, pork is a vital component in most of them. They even use a high "melting point" cheese in some and use milk to help hold the meats together. After our catered spaghetti and meatball dinner, sampling a wide variety of sausages was most enjoyable and appreciated. Thanks Dave and Larry.

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Duke Blue Devils ACC Conference Tournament Winners

For some of us old time ACC basketball fans, Duke playing Notre Dame in the conference tournament final in Brooklyn's Barclay's Center was a bit of a stretch. While Duke won 75-69, it wasn't easy. They had to overcome significant 2nd half leads in the last 2 games to set a new record for winning 4 games in 4 days, and to win it all. Jayson Tatum took over the last few minutes to seal the win. He blocked Steve Vasturia's drive to the hoop and then went coast to coast for a layup to make it 68-65 with 1:33 left.
Matt Farrell pulled Notre Dame within two with a couple of free throws before Tatum showed off another skill, driving and dishing to Matt Jones for a 3 to make it 71-67 with 50 seconds remaining. Tatum then all but sealed it, getting behind the defense on an inbounds pass from Jones for a slam while being fouled. Tatum completed the three-point play for a 74-69 advantage with 25 seconds left. Luke Kennard had 16 points for Duke and was selected tournament MVP, but it was really Tatum's time in New York. Hopefully the team can overcome their #2 seed in the NCAA Tournament and continue their winning ways.

Friday, March 10, 2017

A Posed Picture

Jack is back to his normal schedule of spending some time with us on the days that Sadie goes to preschool. We had a special treat this morning when Julie  brought Sadie in and we had all 3 of them here for a short little visit. As well as Jack and Sadie get along, they still need to have some "share" reminders when Sadie wants to play with  toys that have been Jacks while she was gone. When Julie acknowledges the effort that is required for taking care of little kids, I reminded her of Elaine's challenges with four little ones in our family before the oldest had his 5th birthday. Elaine did have her youth going for her since Verlon had his fifth birthday a couple weeks before she had her 25th. Sadie was pleased to "model" her cheerleader outfit with Husker Jack.
Sadie has really seemed to have grown taller during the past few months. She gets along real well with her glasses. It reminds me of having had glasses for a few years when I was in the 7th and 8th grades of Country School. I remember of getting them because of frequent headaches but don't remember how they got broken and never replaced until about 25 years later. Both of these kids amaze me with what they have already learned. I'm sure I had completed Kindergarden and 1st grade before getting to where Sadie is already. Jack knows his numbers to 5 and recognizes colors, animals, as well as many other items. Trucks of all kind are his favorites.

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Soil Conservation Terraces

This was at the Gade farm east of Seward in 1953 during the Grange/Soil Conservation District Field Day. The Day consisted of showing the construction of terraces, dams, waterways, and various Soil and Water Conservation practices. This pictures shows terraces being built with Servis Co., Whirlwind Terraces. I was working for the USDA Soil Conservation Service at the time and had helped with the surveying of the practices. My brother Don is on the Oliver tractor with the closest terrace.
This view shows the Whirlwind throwing the soil up into a ridge that will become a gradient terrace. Row crops are planted on the contour between the terraces. Some of the terraces that were built back in the 50's are still in existence, but many have been rebuilt with tile outlets and some have been rebuilt parallel to prevent "point rows". Other practices such as no-till, cover crops, etc., have demonstrated success in reducing soil erosion, but in many instances, a system of terraces is still necessary to limit the rate of soil erosion to not exceed 5 tons/acre/year.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

A Special Kiwanis Flagpole Installation

Our Kiwanis Flag Pole crew have installed hundreds of flag poles  but this morning, they had a first. They put up a larger than regular pole by working from the roof  and threading the poll down through 3 snug fitting collars to a base that had been installed on the side of the building. The Crew today included Dale Rocker, Ken Meyer, Ted Payne and Dave Oates.
  It was all two of the fellows could handle to work with the large pole on the roof and get it in position to slip down through the collars to the base. This installation was scheduled for earlier in the week but with winds of 30mph and gusts much higher, it would have been very dangerous. Even with very little wind this morning, it appeared to me that getting it in position to slip through that first collar was the most critical phase of the whole operation. The Flag installation was done by ropes which enable it to be raised and lowered from the ground level. The County Courthouse Dome is the focal point of downtown Seward and always makes a nice background. It also helps identify location.

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Part of Seward's 150 year History

We went through some of Elaine's old family pictures today and came across this one of where her Koch Grandparents lived in the late teens & early 1920's. Their house is the one to the lower right of the picture. The intersection looking to the west is 1st and Oak street. The Seward City Mill and Dam are shown just beyond 2nd street. The little RR water tower is shown on further west on the night side of the river.
Tragically, these pictures were taken by a fellow doing repair to the Brickyard smokestack across the street (Columbia Ave) to the east. After doing his repair work and taking pictures, he fell to his death but these, and other pictures survived. We drove down to this neighborhood this evening and much of it is still there. The Koch house and little stripped barn are still there. The area has filled in over the years. The Mill burned in 1938 and the dam was later removed.

Monday, March 6, 2017

Seward County and Seward's Sesquicentennial Kick-Off

Nebraska, Seward County and Seward will be celebrating their 150th Birthday during the year of 2017 and many events and celebrations will center of the milestone. One of the first "official" events of the yearlong celebration was an official "Kick-Off" Celebration this last evening, March 5 at the Bottle Rocket Brewery here is Seward. The event featured a Nebraska Roast Beef dinner, Special music, a birthday cake, along with comments and reflections of the year ahead. Bottle Rocket previewed their new Seward Sesquicentennial Brew. Past and present elected officials of Seward and Seward County were recognized. Clark Kolterman, Seward 150 Chair, served as MC,  "Sam and Sue" gave a tribute for the event, Julia Marble led the Nebraska Youth Honor Choir, Andrew Pavel-SHS '17 recited Ted Kooser's, "So This is Nebraska", Chas Prochnow-SHS '18 read a paper on "Our Sesquicentennial". 
Roger Glawatz, Chair of the County Commissioners gave a brief report as did Seward Mayor, Josh Eickmeier after which Commissioners and Council members were presented and photographed.
The evening's festivities were concluded with the singing of the Nebraska State Song, "Beautiful Nebraska" by Jim Fras and Guy Gage Miller followed by "God Bless America". 
A Good Time was had by All.

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Toys for Jack and I.

I went to a Schweitzer Auction yesterday down in our Seward Ag Pavilion. It included material from more than one client which amounted to a large number of items covering a broad range of "stuff". Great Grandson Jack is enamored with fire trucks and their were many of them shown on the sale bill. Elaine warned me against bringing home anything when we already have more "stuff" than we need. I assured her that I wouldn't bring anything home that Jack and I couldn't "play with". That gave me quite a bit of latitude. These little Herefords caught my eye; they were within the criteria for taking home, and they had some personal memories. I had worked on road construction the summer after HS and saved enough money to start to University but Dad was getting into the Purebred Hereford business.
He convinced me that putting my money in a bred heifer would probably be a better investment than going to college. While we got great returns on the investment, my college degrees were delayed until after marriage and family. The Herefords yesterday sold above my price range, but I was successful in getting Jack this little wind-up train engine along with a little wind-up fire engine and army tank. He hasn't seen them yet, but know he will be pleased. I had bid on some of the other fire trucks but believe these will be things he can pick up in his hands and have fun with. I've already had them running around on the top of our kitchen table

Friday, March 3, 2017

Original Owners

This was taken on March 27, 1992 when we drove home our '92 Buick La Sabre for which we paid Rolfsmeier Motors $18,372. It has been a good car with never having been in an accident  and needing very little repair beyond a new serpentine belt, tires, batteries, etc. It now has 156,599 miles on the speedometer. I have always had the oil changed at around 3,000 miles and have never had to add oil between changes.

Nor have I ever applied any wax or polish other than what it got going through the car wash. Elaine and I have each had a vehicle for a number of years, but as this one reaches it's 25th birthday, and Elaine doesn't drive very much anymore, we may part with "old reliable". I started it up this afternoon for the first time this year and drove around the block. We have a situation tomorrow where our each having a car will be more convenient. We have driven it very little since giving up golf, but it has been handy for those situations like we have tomorrow. As I look at this picture, I believe we have changed more in appearance than the car.     I am editing this blog page a day later to include a picture that we took this afternoon, nearly 25 years after the first one.

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Happy Daughter and Dad

This picture demonstrates that when one of your children are Happy because of something they do or have done, it makes you happy too. And, it doesn't matter how old either of you may be. I wasn't in the best of moods yesterday when some of my photo equipment didn't work, the stock market was down, and it was a gloomy day. But when Carolyn pulled into our driveway with a new car and a big smile on her face, my mood quickly embraced her excitement. We were aware that she had been doing some shopping so it wasn't a big surprise, but her enthusiasm was. And, on first sight, we could understand why. It is a very nice vehicle. She moved the driver's seat back, put me in it, and explained all it features. It is a Forester Model Subaru with computerized electronic equipment that does more things than I could imagine.The built-in safety features are very important to her with Grandchildren as is the "green" emission system and fuel economy. She picked us up later and took us to a Church pancake dinner. By the time we got home I had decided that if President Trump said anything that might cause the market to take a hit, I might just sell-out and get a new car. However, he gave an optimistic speech, and the DOW responded today by gaining over 300 points, scooting right past the 21,000 threshold. I think I will hold my stock, continue to drive the old Buick, and still share her excitement.