Sunday, April 30, 2017

Association of Retired Conservation Service Employees

This is the top half of a NEWSLETTER published bi-monthly for Retired SCS and NRCS employees. The 28 page email version for May/June 2017 arrived today. The publication is supported by several thousand USDA retirees and receives no Federal Funding. The Association of Retired Soil Conservation Service Employees was organized in the early '70's to help retirees maintain relationships with people with whom they had worked over the years.    (The Agency name was then changed to Natural Resources Conservation Service to reflect its expanded mission.) Most employees worked in several locations during their advancement up the career ladder and developed many close relationships through training, State and National Meetings. 
Here is an example of a group of retirees from  Wyoming that got together recently.  The letter's format includes: "Notes from the Potomac", The President's letter, Historian's report and reports from each of the States and other Units. It also includes a Memorial listing of those reported as having passed on. As the Agency Personnel Director, I had the opportunity to know a large number of employees. After retirement, I served as an Officer in the organization and continued to attend Annual Meetings for a number of years. I still look forward to receiving the Newsletter though I know a declining number of those mentioned. I must admit that I could identify with more  names in the Memorial listing than elsewhere.

Saturday, April 29, 2017


Carolyn had an opportunity to hear a program at the Nebraska Center yesterday which included Michael Forsberg. She thoroughly enjoyed his presentation and bought his 2009 book, "America's Lingering Wild GREAT PLAINS".  Michael Forsberg's photos appear on many of the books 260 pages along with his Field Journals. The book's Foreword was written by Ted Kooser, 13th Poet Laureate of the U.S.  Dan O'Brien, a South Dakota rancher and Wildlife Biologist wrote the Essays. And, David Wishart, Professor of Geography at the University of Nebraska and a Historical Geographer, wrote the Chapter Introductions.
As shown on the map, the Great Plains extent well up into Canada, include a wide strip across the United States  and on into Mexico. This description puts a large portion of Nebraska in the Southern G.P.'s though the State is often referred to as being in the Northern Great Plains. The long vertical jagged line delineates the Tall Grass Region to the right  vs the Short Grass Region. Carolyn dropped the book off at our house on her way home yesterday to help me get over my cold. I got all the way through it last night having read only Kooser's Foreword and the captions with the pictures. I stayed in the house today except for taking and getting Elaine from the Beauty Shop and read Wishart's Introduction: SETTLING AN UNSETTLED LAND and "The Roots of Hope" by Forsberg. I was most favorably impressed with the story of the early settlement from across the "Land Bridge"  to present day immigration. I hope we are telling the story today with a broader perspective than what I was taught about the settlement of our Country and the relationship with the natives.

Friday, April 28, 2017

Calendar Pictures and Memories

This Grand Canyon National Park picture came from a 2016 Calendar. We never throw them away at the end of the year with Elaine keeping the one from the kitchen "forever", where she keeps track of things. There was a time when I would frame some of them, as well as old Ads, and sell them on eBay or Garage sales. While fighting a cold that kept me from going to coffee this morning, it seems like a good day to get rid of some of our "stuff". These old Calendars became the victims.  This picture of the 1966 Chevrolet Corvette was one of my favorites. What makes it more amazing is
 that it was produced over 50 years ago. In my opinion, it is more attractive than today's models. The Grand Tetons have long been among my favorites.  My first view of the Tetons was when my Brother Don, 3 neighbor boys and I dove Sister Vivian's Model A Ford out through the Bad Lands, Black Hills, Yellowstone Park, the Tetons, and back to Burwell, NE for their Rodeo. It was a great trip and a real "eye-opener" for 5 farm boys that had never been very far from home.  Playing with these Calendar pictures and bringing back happy memories on this cold, rainy day, help me feel better than the pills I've taken.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Happy 82nd Anniversary

On April 27, 1935 Congress passed Public Law 76-46, in which it recognized that "the wastage of soil and moisture resources on farm, grazing, and forest a menace to the national welfare," and it directed the Secretary of Agriculture to establish the Soil Conservation Service (SCS) as a permanent agency in the USDA. In 1994, Congress changed SCS's name to the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) to better reflect the broadened scope of the agency's concerns. The creation of the Soil Conservation Service represented the culmination of the efforts of Hugh Hammond Bennett, "father of Soil Conservation" and the first Chief of SCS, to awaken public concern for the problem of soil erosion. Bennett became aware of the threat posed by the erosion of soils early in his career as a surveyor for the USDA Bureau of Soils. He observed how soil erosion by water and wind reduced the ability of the land to sustain agricultural productivity and support rural communities who depended on it for their livelihoods. He launched a public crusade of writing and speaking about the soil erosion crisis. His highly influential 1928 publication "Soil Erosion: A National Menace" influenced Congress to create the first federal soil erosion experiment station. Congress has continued to expand the programs of the Agency (SCS/NRCS) as the importance of sustainable agriculture has become more apparent with continued population growth. Between our son Jon and I, we have been continuously employed by the Agency since the spring of 1948. That amounts to our immediate family being involved for 69 of the 82 years of the Agency's existence.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Colorful Elaine and VW

Here is Elaine at the back of our house in Arlington, VA. The Rowanna was brought back from Columbia, South America, by her Folks after visiting their son, Dale and family. I'm not sure where the "hair-do" came from, other than the local beauty shop. In actuality, it all fits together very well to present the picture of a beautiful young woman standing by our new Volkswagen Beetle. The colors blend beautifully. We bought the "Bug" at the time our kids were approaching the time of learning to drive. I believe all 4 of them took Driver Training in High School  with it. It was all "stick shift" with a clutch and ideal machine to learn to drive. Especially when living where we did in the midst of a metropolitan area. It turned out to be one of our best vehicle buys. In addition to our and the Kids use of it in Arlington, we gave it to Jon at the time he and Mary got married. After a few years, they gave it back to us to tow behind our Motor Home. We had it restored and got a lot of use out of it by being able to explore the area where we parked the Motor Home. After selling the Motor Home we sold the VW for nearly twice what we paid for it, 20 years earlier. But, the amount we spent on the restoration took care of any "capitol gain".

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Tony & Elaine on Holiday

I pulled out our "Picture Index, 3-ring Binder" the other day and realized we hadn't brought it up to date since 2013. After naps on this cool, cloudy day, we began the updating process by working on 2014. This is one of the pictures from May, and was listed as: "Tony and Elaine with shirt tails out". I checked my Journal and found it was Memorial Day and we were enjoying the sunny day. The picture helps us realize we have both aged during the past 3 years. It is what I told our family Doctor this morning, when I had a "pre-op" exam for eye lid surgery scheduled for next week at Bryan.
They drew blood for various tests, did chest x-rays and a chest EKG. I haven't seen the results of any of these tests but felt pretty good about the conversation involved. My shortness of breath and weakness seems to be my most concerning issues. I am looking forward to getting this "out-patient" surgery taken care of so I can get back to my nightly Aleve which relieves the pain in my right shoulder and helps me sleep. We have both enjoyed very good health over the years; as we enter these advanced years, shouldn't expect to be able to do all the things we were able to do 50 years ago or even 3 years ago. Tomorrow we will continue our photo indexing and enjoy seeing some of the pictures as we go along. Elaine sets at the computer entering the data that I dictate to her. She hasn't lost any of those typing skills.

Monday, April 24, 2017

Jack & Kiwanis

Jack and I planted the Thunbergia (Vining Black Eyed Susan) plant this morning that we bought yesterday at St. Andrews Episcopal Church plant sale. He helped with the "back fill" after I dug the hole and got the plant in place. He was in charge of the watering with me on the faucet. He took the hose on over to the Bird Waterier, filled it, and told me to "shut it off". The trellis with Chicken wire (that doesn't show) was set up last year when we were not very successful with tomatoes. We have had the Black Eyed Susan Vines in past years which bloomed all summer and fall. After all of our yard work, we sat down to rest a bit and watched some Dinosaur Train. I needed to "rest up" prior to going to Kiwanis. Marv Taylor told of the 7-hour test he went through to retain his driver's licence after having a recent accident and how the experience  better qualified him to serve as AARP Senior Driver Instructor in SE Nebraska. 
Ralph Hansen reported on a Kiwanis Nebr-Iowa District, mid-year meeting he and Marv attended in Council Bluffs, IA. In an earlier Career, Ralph had responsibility for taking notes at meetings and reporting back to headquarters. He hasn't lost any of his ability to cover the details and also report on the "climate" of the meeting. Our Kiwanis International President, Jane Erickson of Blair, NE, was in Tanzania and unable to attend. He said the meeting was conducted with significant changes. While we have been very successful with recent International projects, there are still pledges to be honored. His report on membership was challenging as we look at declining numbers and increasing average age.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Ken Haar-Climate Change

Former Nebraska State Senator, Ken Harr spoke this afternoon at the Saint Andrews Episcopal Church at their Plant Sale-Earth Day event. Sen. Harr has just completed 2 terms in the Unicameral and was "Term Limited" out. He established a formidable record while in the Legislature with his interest in the Environment. His subject today was; "Climate Change 101". His presentation along with "hand-outs" made a strong case for the fact that Scientific Data supports man-made Climate Change. He advocates our need in Nebraska to develop an Action Plan to guide us in working toward a more sustainable future. While I followed and supported his positions during the time he was in the Legislature, this was my first opportunity to visit with him. He lives in the Branched Oak neighborhood and mentioned early in his presentation that he spent a lot of time with Grandparents in Garland, NE, as a youngster. I could hardly wait to ask him who they were and found out that his Grandfather was Herman Buls, the Rural Mail Carrier out of Garland. His Mother was one of the "Buls" girls and her brother Al was in High School with my brother Don. The Garland Connection just adds further support for the positions on Climate Change that he advocates.

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Earth Day 1990

On Sunday, April 22, 1990 we dedicated the D. E. Hutchinson Prairie at the Soil and Water Conservation Society Headquarters at Ankeny, Iowa. "Hutch" is shown here behind the mike with his wife, Francis to his right. I am to his left along with Alice Jones, Rich Duesterhaus and Bill Brune, SWCS Board Members. I was serving as Executive VP at the time. Hutch was an early leader of the Society and when several acres of land were acquired to build a Headquarters office, he was instrumental in the re-establishment of Native Grasses on a large portion of it as show in the background of the second picture.
Several members of the Hutchinson Falmily were able to attend along with a group of some 75 conservationists. Marlin Edwards of Pioneer Hybrid gave the main presentation, Rich Duesterhaus, Society President, and Chuck McLaughlin spoke for the Iowa Chapter. Bill Ferris planted a tree as a part of the Earth Day Festivities. Wayne Pritchard, the original Executive President, called me that evening and was most pleased with the event. I read the "Thank You" from the Hutchinson's this afternoon and am pleased with the accompolishment.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Granddaughter & Great Grandson

Carolyn brought down this picture that Julie drew when she was a little girl and I worked in the the Nebraska State Office Building.  My window was on the 4th floor on the "L" Street side of the building on Centennial Mall. We haven't visited with Julie about this, but I assume I must have waived out my window to her on some occasion. I believe the little figure down by her name is a drawing of her, down on the sidewalk. This drawing is probably about 30 years old. Carolyn had done a good job of keeping it in excellent condition. The 8 years that I worked for the State gave me an opportunity to become well acquainted with Nebraska natural resources as well as State Government and the Legislature. I learned quickly that lobbyists play a significant role in the Nebraska Unicameral. I was not in favor of limiting State Senators to 2 consecutive terms since it gives staff and lobbyist even more clout. There has been some discussion to amending the limitation to 3, 4year terms rather than the current 2. That would at least be an improvement.
Jack was here when I got home from coffee this morning and had already found the Cherry Pie. It was a bit chilly to go outside this morning so we entertained ourselves inside. He gave his "horse" a good workout. He's getting big enough that he can just "man-handle" the horse and do most anything with him, including making him gallop by picking him up by the handles, walking a couple steps with the horse between his legs, and moving across the room.   Bowzer also got into the activity later.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Siblings at the Windmill

This picture was taken in the fall of 2003 at the Vrana farm where Janice and Jerry were born and all of us enjoyed some formative years. Our all being there was prompted by Jerry wanting to make sure that his Grandchildren could see the place where he was born. I called this place home for only 14 years but there were many changes that took place during those relatively few years. It is ironic that the picture was taken about 14 years ago. 
The above picture was taken next to the windmill which serves as a landmark since all the buildings have been removed over the years.  The windmill and a Walnut tree that I remember as a kid, together are all that's left of the farmstead as we knew it. I must confess to having picked up part of one of the blades that fell off the wheel. It brings back many memories. It sets over a new well dug in the late '30's and about 80' east of the old one. We also got a new wheel when the windmill was moved over the new well. I have a "distinct memory" of milking a cow out in the corral when Uncle Bill Thompson's were visiting us. Bill was out in the corral visiting with us and commented on the "new Dempster Wheel". I also have a couple pictures that were taken with my first little 620 Kodak Camera by climbing up near the top of the windmill. While these "snapshot memories" are interesting, they are but a page or two out of the book of memories that each of us have of our siblings. When Jack sets on my lap to eat ice cream like he did today after lunch, I wonder what memories are getting stored in that fresh brain of his. He has no problem remembering where the Cherry Pie is located in the refrigerator.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Family Pictures

Don, Gladys and the girls, got back to see us when we lived on Ridge Road in Arlington, VA. They got in on July 11,1971 and spent several days with us. We were so busy trying to show them everything, that I didn't get very much put down in my Diary. We did a lot of sight seeing. I did note that Don and I played golf on the Public Course at Haines Point which would have been one of my first rounds. I noted their heading for New York City when they left but don't recall any report on that part of their trip. Verlon was involved with the National Guard Unit at Manassas, VA, and not on the picture. 
This lower picture is one from Mother's batch and she had written on the back, "Our 11 Grandchildren taken at Bud's on June 24, 1962. Back row (L-R) Terry, Tim, Verlon, Sandy, and Carolyn. Front row: Jon, Sandy, Gary, Julie, Becky and Laurie. This was a family get-to-gather before our moving back to Virginia. I thought this would be an interesting picture to have available at our Family Reunion this summer. I really don't know what may be the best way to view them. We have several albums of prints and numerous CDs and DVDs. Any ideas on presentation are welcomed.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Family Reunions

This was the Florence and Tony Vrana Family Reunion out at our farm, east of Seward, during the summer of 1985. It probably has more "faces" showing than any of our Reunion pictures. It was a "professional" picture which may have helped. We had a big time that day with softball, horse shoes, and got a new swing set/slide put together for the event. There may have even been a little fishing. The end of August is rapidly approaching when we will again get together at Mahoney State Park. I hope we have as good a "turnout" this summer as we had those 32 years ago. The old "lumber-wagon" in our yard provided an ideal "standard" for people to stand in and be seen in the picture. We have rooms rented in the Lodge at Mahoney for Saturday and Sunday evenings. Carolyn is planning to drive us up on Saturday morning. It is ideal that Janice has rented the Nebraska Room for both Saturday and Sunday,  near the Cafeteria in the Lodge, where we can "congregate" and all eat together there on Sunday noon. I noted in reviewing information this evening, that Check-in begins at 4:00pm and Check out is no later than 11:00 am. We also noted that a 2-night reservation is necessary for week-end rooms. While their are many recreational activities available at the Park, some of us Senior members are looking forward to doing a lot of visiting with Family

Monday, April 17, 2017

Four Years in Lincoln

We often drive past the house at 6515 Hartley St. in Lincoln where we lived from 1958-'62. We didn't realize at the time we bought the house just how well it fit our needs. We were less than a block from Pershing Elementary where all 4 kids attended during the years we lived there. We had "home town neighbors" next door where Carolyn found a "best friend", the boys were in Cub Scouts and Verlon and Tim played Little League baseball. My sister Janice and Larry lived just a few blocks away and she did some child care while Elaine worked at Banker's Life. An SCS friend who lived in the area, and I car pooled to work during the full time. They had 3 boys, and we even went to Kansas City to a Ball Game. We were very active in Church and Sunday School with Elaine teaching during much of the time we were there. We had our 160 acre Seward County farm that we bought in 1956, had seeded it to Native Grass and put it in the Soil Bank Program. 
It was only about 20 miles from our house to the farm. and we often went out on Saturdays & planted trees, multiflora rose, etc. Verlon and I walked over the farm and saw the trees a few years ago
Looking at these pictures, makes me wonder how we were able to dress the kids as well as they were when our income was certainly limited. Elaine's Mother working at Seward Dry Goods might have helped a bit. There was also a lot of "hand-me-downing". Elaine
did a lot of sewing which was also a factor. We didn't spend much eating out but an occasional meal at Tastee-In-'n-Out was a real treat. I continued to do some work with Nebraska Nursery, but it was mostly balling and planting trees and shrubs in our own yard. Elaine and I booth took college courses during those 4 years. I had completed all the prerequisites for entry into the College of Engineering before learning that my career was going to take me into management. It was a busy time, and I hope we didn't slight our "child rearing responsibilities".

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Easter Sunday

This is the way some of the Easter Lilies were arrayed at our Church this morning. It was appropriate to have this arrangement at the foot of the cross. Rev. Henre had a very good sermon on the Resurrection which was reinforced with this visual on the screen. He had an excellent Children's sermon on the Flowers that symbolize Easter. He spoke of the virtues of Crocus, Daffodils, Tulips, Easter Lilies, Dandelions, Roses, etc. The conclusion was that Dandelions were most symbolic since they are everywhere and persistent in spite of efforts to eliminate them. We went out to John and Julie's for a
delicious Easter Dinner. It was all very good, as demonstrated by Jack with the "Chocolate Cake" being best of all. Sadie ate hers very well without the exuberance that Jack shows. After eating we went out to the porch where the Kids enjoyed an Easter Egg hunt and played on the driveway. It was a Great Easter that included conversations with additional family.

Saturday, April 15, 2017

"Grace" and Easter Lily

We are continuing the tradition of taking an Easter Lily to the Seward United Methodist Church in recognition of my parents as long time members who have passed on to their Heavenly Reward. There will probably be over 50 Easter Lilies on display tomorrow morning. Many of them on a triangular stand that provides a display shaped similar to a Christmas Tree. I took this picture with the plant on our kitchen table with the painting of "Grace" on the wall in the background. We have always liked the painting since it so resembles our memories of my Grandfather Joseph J. Vrana. The picture was taken of an elderly peddler by Eric Enstrom in his photography studio in 1918 at Bovey, Minnesota. The Enstroms had a daughter, Rhoda who was born above her father's studio a year before he took "Grace". After college and work at Minnesota Woolen, she returned to her father's studio and began coloring black-and-white photos with heavy oil. She brought color into photos prior to the days of color photography. Enstrom's picture "Grace" showing the elderly peddler with head bowed in a meal-time prayer of thanksgiving, is now known and loved throughout the world. A Monument was erected in front of the Village Hall in Bovey, MN in 2003 to commemorate the 75th Anniversary of the picture "Grace".

Friday, April 14, 2017

Legend of the Dogwood

Here is a picture of the "Legend of the Dogwood".  The Dogwood is the State Flower of Virginia, and we gave this to my Mother during the years we lived back there. The Legend was discussed at coffee this morning and Elaine reminded me of this picture which we have had since Mother's passing 26 years ago. Legend has it that, Dogwood once grew to the size of the Oak. Because it was strong and firm, it was chosen, according to legend, for the timber of the cross of Jesus.  When the tree sorrowed over seeing such a cruel purpose, Jesus made this promise: "Never again shall the Dogwood tree grow large enough to be used for a cross. Henceforth, it shall be slender and bent and twisted, and its blossoms shall be in the form of a cross--two long petals and two short petals and in the center of the outer side of each petal, there shall be nail prints brown with rust-stain and blood. And in the center of the flower, there shall be an image of a crown of thorns, and all who see it will remember that it was upon a Dogwood tree I was crucified and this tree shall not be mutilated or destroyed, but cherished as a reminder of 'My Death Upon the Cross.' "

Thursday, April 13, 2017

The Living Last Supper

We enjoyed the Message provided at the Living Last Supper of the Leonardo da Vinci painting last night at the Seward United Methodist Church and were very favorably impressed with the "professional" presentation of the the cast. It is being presented again this evening at 8:00pm. While it appeared to be a "full house" last night, there were a few single and double, empty seats interspersed among the crowd. I would expect a similar attendance this evening. The Disciples are (left to right: 
 Nathaniel,  Cameron Soester; James the Lesser,   Jerry Meyer; Andrew,   Rod Barth; Judas,  Jack Broderick; Peter,   Rod Lyon; John,  J.B. Ketner; Jesus,   Jack Fuller; Thomas   Matt Hastings; James,   Larry Chapman; Philip,   Patrick Checketts; Matthew,   Greg Zabka; Thaddaeus,   John Moody; Simon the Zealot,   Clay Shepherd. Lynette Broderick gave the Prologue and Lindsay Hastings served as Narrator.


Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Very Good Day

 This was a full day. Julie picked me up to ride along as we took Sadie to pre-school. She and Jack rode in their car-seats in the back seat of her van. It was amazing to me how those two talked all the way up to the north part of town where Julie took Sadie in for their Easter party. Then we headed for the Barber Shop and when we went past the Hughes house, Jack wanted to see Grandma Carolyn. He was a “good boy” getting his hair cut and was pleased to give Bob a tip after I got my haircut and we were ready to leave. He spent some time at our house and Carolyn came down to pick him up, and they had lunch with us. He enjoyed sitting on my lap and helping eat a jelly filled Kolache to top off our lunch. He was anxious to go to Carolyn's house when they left in our intermittent rain showers.
We had a call from our Account's office that our Income Tax forms were ready to be picked up so we went down and got them. Following my review, I had to call back down to clarify my understanding of a couple items, and they are on their way electronically. 
Then Carolyn called to see if we would like to go with her to see Sadie and her Dance Class perform for the residents at the Ridgewood Care facility. We were real proud of her attention she showed her teacher and did real well. Then this evening we attended the Seward United Methodist Church Presention of Leonardo da Vinci's Living Last Supper. It is a very impressive Service which will be presented again MaundyThursday evening.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Grocery Shopping

We bought groceries this afternoon at our local family Pac-n-Sav store. We are still getting use to having an Ace Hardware Store section in what was all grocery store for many years. We also noticed the lighting in the store being much brighter and had heard they were installing a new "energy saving" lighting system. We are very conservative buyers and usually watch for the bargains. We also check the ticket when we get home and today found a $9.29 item listed as NSCFE TC HSE. The total order amounted to $93.41 and as we un-bagged the groceries on the kitchen counter, realized that the "Mystery Item" was a 7 oz jar of Nescafe, Taster's Choice instant coffee. Elaine said it was a bargain and often cost over $10.00. It's an item that Elaine puts in the cart, and I just didn't realize what it cost. On the other hand we got some bargains like 2 roasting ears for $1 and 80% lean hamburger for  $1.99/pound. It wasn't even marked for "Quick Sale" but tasted good as we had a big burger for supper and topped it off with a Jelly Kolache. Those of us who grew-up during "hard times" need at least 2 bargains to offset something costing more than we expect.

Monday, April 10, 2017

Busy Day, Locally & Nationally

We enjoyed seeing Sergio Garcia on the CBS morning show with David Rose this morning, going over some of the Highlights of the Masters Golf Tournament yesterday and seeing a replay of his getting "cloaked" with a Green Jacket by Danny Willett, last year's Champion. It was also interesting reading the newspaper accounts of yesterdays event and even the listing of pay-outs. Garcia received $1,980,000. in addition to the Jacket. Justin Rose got $1,188,000. Even Phil Mickelson who finished 11 strokes behind the winner, received $105,600. 
I came home from coffee early to be ready for Carolyn to pick up Elaine and I in her new Subaru SUV and take us to our Eye Doctor in Lincoln for appointments. Dr. Mousolf gave Elaine a new eye-drop prescription and scheduled me for out-patient surgery on the lower eye lid of my left eye.
 We stopped at the Super Saver on the way home and did a bit of shopping. We could have gone on our own since neither of us had our eyes dilated, but it is so much more relaxing just to be able to ride along in a nice new car with Carolyn doing the driving.
This evening we watched a PBS program of the Justice Gorsuch swearing in to the Supreme Court by Justice Kennedy. Mrs. Gorsuch is shown holding the Holy Bible and President Trump is in the background. He did a good job moderating the session in the White House Rose Garden with an audience of all Supreme Court Justices, etc.

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Sergio Garcia won the Masters

Sergio Garcia won the Masters Golf Tournament  and the Green Jacket this afternoon in Augusta, Georgia. He won in a one hole play-off over Justin Rose. He is shown here right after last year's winner helped him into the Green Jacket, and is being congratulated by the Augusta National President. It was an interesting day with many lead changes. I followed Charles Hoffman who led after the first day and managed to stay on the fist page of the leader board throughout.

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Son Verlon

I went through a bunch of  1970's pictures this morning while Elaine was at the Beauty Shop and found a couple of Verlon that warrant some discussion. Soil Conservation pictures for Jon is what I was looking for but as so often happens, you come across more interesting ones than what you looked for. I didn't get the year of this shot but believe it would have been about Verlon's Jr. year of Wakefield HS in Arlington, VA. His "cut-away" model house looks like a very neat piece of work and I must admit to having very little memory of it. Elaine and I were both working full time plus I finished my BA and got my MBA about the time Verlon would have been working on this project. It reminds me some-what of the model houses that Carolyn has worked on recently, including a model of a 7 foot row-house in Alexandria, VA. This picture also shows some of the "undergrowth in the fence line behind Verlon. This doesn't show it, but the walking Cane I use these days, was cut from a small Pin Oak growing in this fence line with a grape vine wrapped around it, which gave the Cane a unique twist. 
This picture of Verlon was taken a couple years later but again demonstrates some of his "artistic ability" that we didn't really appreciate at the time. I have no memory of his working on this vest nor know what may have become of it. I have no ideal of how he could have obtained the Budweiser patch or any other part of it for that matter. But looking back on it now, I don't believe either Elaine nor I gave him credit for developing a pretty unique vest that represented young people's attitudes in the 70's. We are looking forward to Verlon being out to visit later this summer. I've even added a couple "home maintenance" items today to the list of things for him to "take on" while he's here.  He will be here during the Eclipse and observing it will be the top priority. Hopefully, there will be time to do the repair work, painting, tree trimming, and yard work that needs to be done. We might not even have time to go to Bee for fish on Friday night. But, will do some special things and plan to just sit out on the Deck, have a drink,  and talk about things and stuff.

Friday, April 7, 2017

Bob Cerv, RIP

Bob Cerv, 91 died yesterday in Blair, NE. Cerv was a native of Weston, NE and had lived in Blair where he had family for the past several years. The daughter who lived there is one of their 10 children. My first memory of Bob was seeing him play basketball with UN-L back in the "Bus" Whitehead days. Bob was ahead of his time as a very physical, aggressive guard. He was also the Nebraska's baseball teams first All-American. He came to the University after having seen active combat during WW II. He signed with the Yankees following has graduation in 1950. Following the 1956 season, Cerv was sold to the Kansas City  Athletics where he had his best season in 1958 when he hit .305, hit 38 home runs and had 104 RBIs. In May 1960, he was traded back to the Yankees and joined Roger Maris and Mickey Mantle in the HR race.  This picture of Cerv, Manlte and Maris hung in his room at the Blair Care Facility at the time of his death.
During the summer of 1960, Jim Cain (with whom I worked in SCS), his sons Mike and Steve and I with Verlon and Tim went to a game in Kansas City with the Yankees. Maris hit 2 home runs in that game and broke the old Babe Ruth record of 60 HR's in 1961. In his career Cerv had 105 home runs, a 276 batting average with 624 hits. Following his major league career, he coached college baseball at Southeast Missouri State College and John F. Kennedy College in Wahoo, Nebraska where he also coached the men's basketball team. There is standing joke that most Czechs can figure out how they are related to each other if they talk long enough. I remember of my Dad and Mother coming home from a Vrana, Milicek, Ruzicka, Novotny, Moravec Family Reunion held in Weston, NE in the early '60's,  and Dad proudly telling me that they had figured out how we were related to the Bob Cerv Family

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Solar Eclipse

With enthusiasm building for the Solar Eclipse coming up on August 21st this simmer, I dug out this picture taken on March 1, 1970. It was at the back door of our house in Arlington, Virginia. We placed binoculars in a shoe box and aligned it so the image of the eclipse was projected on the back of the box. I noted in my Diary that "we had a 95% eclipse maximum during the 1:00-3:00pm time frame. Since taking pictures was more costly in those days, this is the only one we have. As I understand, our duration of totality here in Seward on August 21 will only be for some 1minute and 34 seconds. I will set up a similar system to view this one but will plan to take many more digital pictures. Here is some interesting information on that earlier eclipse.

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Don's Role in Our Conservation Family

Brother Don is shown here having just received a Distinguished Performance Award from his SCS boss, Rudy Hraban. Rudy was the Work Unit Conservationist in the Syracuse, NE Office, and Don was a Soil Conservation Technician there. Our son Jon who is with the SCS/NRCS, is doing a paper on members of our family that worked for the Soil Conservation Service and after it's name was changed to Natural Resources Conservation Service. Don just sent me some great pictures that I scanned and have sent on to Jon. In addition to Don's time with the Service, Jon's continuing career, and brother-in-law,  Ed Soucek and my 32 year Careers; we can combine a significant number of years of service. He was very effective in explaining terraces to farmers after having built them for some years.
Don is show next to the "cut-off section of this large corrugated metal tube and riser during an early stage of Dam construction. Earth fill is typically brought in to build a Dam over the top of such a drainage system. The large "riser" is set on a concrete base and the first section of the outlet tube, wielded to the riser. While Don's length of service with the Agency was shorter than the rest of us, it is very obvious from the pictures and all reports, that he certainly "did this Conservation Family proud" during those years and has continued to support the conservation ethic.