Friday, June 30, 2017

Jon and His Mandolin

A bit of explanation might be necessary here. I received a "new" mandolin for Father's Day and have put together an acceptable song list of the Civil War and Irish Folk Song genre.

In the absence of a band, I have to play solo, but in this instance, I located a small group of musicians that played a beautiful rendition of "Midnight on the Water." Same key so I played along and solo'ed at the right times.

Music is a love and a passion, passed down to me from both of my parents as well as many friends. I have early memories of my Dad playing the Hawaiian guitar. But not to stop there, my dad and I have enjoyed many hours signing numbers as members of the Seward Kitones. Enjoyed all the times, except for that trip back from performing in Omaha where he and I spent the good part of a very snowy night sitting and sleeping on a case of beer in a gas station, but then again, that is another story for another day.

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Heather visiting burial site of Princess Prairie Flower and Others.

We got Heather down to the Mount Pleasant Cemetery this afternoon to see the monument that has been established to recognize the burial of Chief Standing Bear's daughter, Princess Prairie Flower and some of her family . She had bought the book, "I Am a Man" here locally and wanted to learn more about it. The 20 year old Princess died of Tuberculosis and some of their tribal children and others died as the Poncas migrated from their native lands in Dakota crossing to the reservation that had been established in Oklahoma. The tribe followed the Big Blue River through Seward County, Nebraska. When the Princess and many members of her family became ill and died en route, they were buried in the northwest corner of the established Ruby Mount Pleasant Cemetery in the Potter's Field portion in unmarked graves. Local citizens were recently responsible for erecting the Monument. Some members of the tribe have walked part of the route this summer with spending some time in Seward and Milford. They also helped with unveiling the State of Nebraska Historic Site sign located at the nearby I-80 rest stop.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Visiting Granddaughter

We have really enjoyed Heather's visit during the past few days. I caught this picture of her this evening as she visited with Jon (her Dad) as he had his laptop open. I have asked her to write a bit about her visit.

Hello there, readers of the Crow's Nest.

Seward, Nebraska is a special place. One of the most special things about it is how my grandparents, aunt, uncle, and cousins know just about everybody here. Every conversation is peppered with names that I remember from decades of stories. There are also many Czech last names with their double consonants, which are so common here and few other places in the U.S. We lived here when I was in first grade, so there are places etched into my kid-brain, like big old Seward Middle School (formerly the high school, and now a Christian community center) and the concrete path down to Plum Creek Park (where I used to dare myself to ride my bike with no brakes until once I hit a tree), and other familiar names, like that of an old friend from middle school (now a prominent real estate agent in town) and a childhood best friend (now a supremely talented photographer). It is thrilling to come back and see what people and places have "made of themselves." There are things that I miss, too. What happened to the roller rink? The Ben Franklin five-and-dime store? Why does the bandshell look so small now?

All of these changes seem so drastic, in part, because I don't get to come back and visit as much as I wish I could. We moved away when I was 11 or 12. When I do get back, the youngsters are a bit older and the oldsters are talking about their legacies.

This trip, I have especially loved hanging out with my Grandma and talking about her childhood or teenage years. We've spent a good amount of time looking through her genealogy research, which is a treat for me as a historian and as a grandchild. We also talked about cooking and Czech recipes and embroidery. I have great plans to adapt a bunch of Czech recipes to make them vegan. I have also really loved cracking jokes with Granddad (you readers already know his clever sense of humor). Seeing the unique home and garden that my Aunt Carolyn and Uncle Ben have created and curated was really cool. My cousin Julie and her husband (John) have a new house on the edge of town where their two kids (Sadie and Jack) let me chase them in their plasma cars. Special evening walks with my Dad around familiar residential streets where I used to ride my bike were a real highlight, as was a trip to Lincoln's best bookstores and coffeeshops.

But unless you know my folks, you can't have this kind of fun in Seward. 

If you do get a chance to visit Seward, Nebraska, here are some things you should make sure to do:
1. Wander around the town's many beautiful parks and its historic downtown
2. Wave and say hello to everyone--it's what we do here
3. Browse Chapters bookstore on the town square
4. Eat some Mexifries at Amigos (spicy tater tots! so good!)
5. Keep an eye out for the many birds that make their homes here
6. Eat a kolache

Thanks for reading, folks!

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Family Time

Jack took this picture of himself with Photo Booth on my laptop last evening. He enjoys doing it but hasn't quite made the connection between when he touches the pad, and the 3-2-1 countdown for the picture to be snapped. That accounts some of the unusual (but cute) expressions. The Seward family had gathered to welcome and visit with Heather. She had flown into Lincoln on Sunday evening but it was late by the time Jon got her out to Seward. She has been teaching at Southern Connecticut State University for the past 3-4 years and is moving to University of Florida at Gainesville. That is the home of the Florida Gators baseball team that is in the Championship Series of the College World Series in Omaha. She is looking forward to the change that will bring new challenges. Jack has new challenges every day but is learning to cope with them.

Monday, June 26, 2017

Birthday Visits Continue

Pat Coldiron provided the program today at the Kiwanis meeting. Pat is the owner-operator of Liberty House Bed and Breakfast here is Seward and is also leading "Tall Grass Prairie Tours" in the County this summer. She was the long-time Director of the Seward Chamber of Commerce and has a deep appreciation of historic sites and events here in Seward County. Though not a native of Seward County, she has read widely, developed close relationships with many of the "Old Timers" and worked on  personal histories to broaden her knowledge of the County and City. I took Jon along where he was able to see many friends from his being a member of the Club and singing with the Kitones when they lived here during the 1990-'96 time frame. 
Mr friend Charlie came down during the afternoon to bring me Birthday wishes. He and I played golf together for several years before "hanging it up".  While we often played as a 4-some with a couple other friends, just the two of us played hundreds of 9-hole rounds. It's amazing what two old men who are close to the same age, can find to talk about while riding in a cart at a Golf Course. We played every month of the year on several occasions.  Once in a while Ken even played with us. Charlie and I still have a lot to talk about since we seem to see many things from the same perspective.

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Number 92 in the Book

Today has been a very busy birthday. Jon has his mandolin along and enjoys playing Civil War songs and singing. We enjoyed listening. We haven't seen it yet but believe he also brought along an "outfit" of clothes that he wears for some of his Civil War "re-enactment". My guess is that he may "dress up" and play the mandolin on a street corner as part of the Seward 4th of July celebration. We have kept the button accordion here that we bought a year or two ago, that Jon plays whenever he's here. Last 4th of July he played it as part of the Auto Show. He has already had an invitation to set in and play at one of the Care Centers here with a group. 
We had all of our Seward family here as well as  other guest during the course of the afternoon. Sadie and Jack are always the center of attention when here. I also had phone calls from Verlon and Tim, Brother Don and Sister Janice. Carolyn had put a picture on Facebook early this morning that attracted many comments. Then, Jon "power-pointed" the 68 year old picture of me into a modern setting which attracted even more comments. This evening we went to the City Band Concert at the Band Shell.  When the Conductor asked about Birthdays and Anniversaries, Jon spoke up and revealed the truth. He had already acknowledged being from Washington, D.C. when the question was asked earlier about out of town guests. It was a good celebration, and I appreciate all the well-wishes and comments.

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Happy Birthday

Tomorrow will mark the 88th anniversary of this picture.  It was taken at our home next to the railroad track at the west end of Moffitt street. (now a part of Hughes Bros. storage yard) The guest at the party included neighbor kids as well as Aunts, Uncle Ralph, sister Vivian and Aunt Ethel holding brother Don and cousins. Dad would have taken the picture with his "fold-out" Kodak camera. As I remember, it was a nice party of playing games, taking pictures and eating birthday cake. It may have been soon after reaching this milestone that I got my first pair of long pants. It was about 20 months after this event that we moved out to the farm north of Garland when Dad was raised. As a "town-kid", I found it one of the most traumatic moves that I (we) every made.  Yet, it was one of the best things that could have happened.
The acknowledgement of my age  is the first time that it has been revealed on "The Crow's Nest". There are times in a person's life that appearing older than actual may be a benefit, like when I was 15 and passed for 16 in getting a job. The opposite may be true as one gets older. The age of life-expectancy has certainly been extended but I don't know if 70 is the new 60. One of the Doctors that comes out from Lincoln to see Seward customers said recently, that when he started coming out 20 years ago, he many see one 90 year old among his patients and now he sees 4-5 on most visits. This factor probably has more of an impact on our Health Insurance problems than what is recognized. I (we) have been very fortunate during these many years.

Friday, June 23, 2017

Conservation Symposium in Lincoln, NE

Our son Jon from Washington, D.C. is spending a few days with us after having been involved in meetings in Lincoln the past week. He has written this blog page  this evening.

National Conservation Partnership Symposium Energizes Attendees
On June 22, 2017, natural resource conservation partnerships, representing national, State, and local conservation agencies met in Lincoln, Nebraska on the Nebraska Innovation Campus. During the single day event, leadership from these organizations had an opportunity to share their successes in delivering conservation to this nation’s farmers, ranchers, and private forest managers. Attendees were challenged to build on the rich legacy of Hugh Hammond Bennett, the soil conservation movement, and the conservation partnership and strengthen our conservation team to future the future challenges and opportunities.
Through a series of individual talks, panel discussions, and presentations, and through networking, attendees shared their own experiences and solutions for what worked in one location might help solve problems in another location.
A very special part of the event was the premier of the new NRCS movie, “Hugh Hammond Bennett – The Story of America’s Private Lands Conservation Movement.” Through a number of original film clips and interviews of modern national leaders in the conservation movement, the new 20-minute PBS-style documentary highlighted the challenges of feeding the ever-expanding world population while the productive farm land continues to diminish.
The symposium participants were honored by the attendance of Carolyn Bennett Weckstrom, granddaughter of Dr. Bennett and Bryan Weckstrom, great grandson of Dr. Bennett
Almost as if Bennett were alive and in attendance, participants were challenged to remember the words, voiced in 1943 --- “If we are bold in our thinking, courageous in accepting new ideas, and willing to work with instead of against our land, we shall find in conservation farming an avenue to the greatest food production the world has ever known …” Hugh Hammond Bennett
The culmination of this event was the inspirational address by the Hon. Dr. Thomas Osborne. “Coach” Osborne inspired the audience with words of trust and integrity, hallmarks to his success as a Nebraska football coach and a Congressman from Nebraska.
The symposium was co-sponsored by the US Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), the National Association of Conservation Districts (NACD), the National Association of State Conservation Agencies (NASCA), the National Association of RC&D Councils (NARC&DC), and the National Conservation District Employees Association (NCDEA).
             By Jon D. Vrana, NRCS, Washington, DC, 2017.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Pictures over Time

The little windows at the top of the dome of the Seward County Courthouse are closed in this picture, but there was a time when they could be opened. In 1952 I was officed in the building as part of an agreement with the local Soil Conservation District, the County and the Soil Conservation Service (SCS). I also sang in a church quartet with the County Judge whose duties included maintenance of the chimes in the Courthouse dome. One day in early 1952, he invited me to accompany him to the dome. With camera in my pocket, I climbed the ladder up to the level of the little windows where I was able to take 35mm Kodachrome slide pictures in all 4 directions around the City Square. In 2003, a friend and I got permission and repeated the feat of 51years earlier. The flag had been moved to a lower level of the building and the dome reinforced  to prevent the kind of damage that had been caused by the flags vibration. The reinforcement made getting to the windows much more difficult but was again able to get pictures around the square. Here is a portions of the north side of the square in '52 and again in '03. 

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Solar Eclipse of August 21, 2017

Excitement continues to build in our area, as more and more events are being announced for the August 21 solar eclipse. Concordia has said that their athletic field and bleachers will be available to the public with our City Library and others announcing their program. Verlon scheduled his "home maintenance visit" this summer to be back here at the time it takes place. We are to have over a minute of total "blackout" here in Seward with it increasing to just over 2 minutes in the center of the path which is just beyond the SW corner of Seward County. Verlon would like to get to a native prairie or some isolated place to observe. I'm assuming the City will be able to keep the street lights from coming on as they normally do as daylight fades. We had ordered special glasses which will be important. Elaine and I would probably be happy just to see it all from our front porch on backdoor deck, but will be willing to ride along if a more desirable place is found.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Soil and Water Conservation

This soil conservation picture is at a prominent place among my honors, etc. in my office. It shows the farm where my folks lived and were recognized as operators of the 1969, Seward County, Soil Conservation Farm of the year. Dad was a very good farmer and very patient in farming on the contour between the gradient terraces.. His first experience of farming with terraces and grassed waterways was when I started working for the Soil Conservation Service in the spring of 1948. At the time of my parents receiving this award, Dad would have been in his early 70's.  They retired a few years later and  parting with some 35 head of Polled Herford cattle was Dad's most difficult decision.. They were sold at public auction and fortunately, bought by one individual who lived near Syracuse. With Don and Gladys living in Syracuse, it was convenient for them to stop by and see the old herd as they  visited family. Dad and Mother had a  number of years of very enjoyable retirement here in Seward, but when stricken by acute Leukemia at he age of 93, this picture went with him to the care center. Our youngest son Jon, is out from Washington, D.C. this week to be involved in a symposium at the UNL Innovation Campus Center,  that  along with Partnership Development, will recognize SCS's  first Chief, Hugh Hammond Bennett. Our family has been involved in Soil and Water Conservation for many years, and it continues to be a High National Priority.

Monday, June 19, 2017

Son Jon and Re-enactments

This is our son Jon in his civil war regalia. He has been doing "re-enactments" for several years with Justin Morrell being one of his favorites. We have just finished several Chautauqua events here is Seward with our having heard President Woodrow Wilson and William Jennings Bryan.  The City of Seward and the State of Nebraska are celebrating their Sesquicentennials this year so a lot of re-enactment is in vogue. Jon is hopeful that he will be able to participate in something dealing with the Civil War when he gets out from Virginia. Jon is a Soil Scientist by training and has worked at various locations for USDA throughout the Country. He has been back in the Washington Office of the Natural Resources Conservation Service of USDA for the past 20 years. He likes to "do"  Justin Morrell and tell of his role in the passage of the Land Grant College Act and the establishment of USDA. He says that answering questions after presentations, while still in "character", is the most enjoyable.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

A Happy Father's Day

We had a busy and enjoyable Fathers Day. The weather was a "top 10 day" which added to the pleasures. We were up early and got to 8:15 Church where we learned about Abraham and Sarah having Isaac in their old age.  There was acknowledgements by several of the Church members of having taken classes at UN-L taught by Elaine's brother Dale. Mention was made of his Memorial Service in Lincoln on July 7th. 
Carolyn stopped by with  a card for a  "Special Dad and Father-in-law" from both she and Ben. We had a good visit. During the day I received phone calls from our three boys. Jon and a couple of his fellow USDA workers will be flying out to Lincoln tomorrow for activities here in Lincoln this week.  Verlon called from Richmond, VA to wish us well and bring us up to date on some of his activities. We look forward to his being out later in the summer to witness the eclipse. Tim called later and was pleased to tell us of their son Tony having won an Emmy from The National Academy of Television Lower Great Lakes Chapter for his work at WTTV, in Indianapolis
as producer.
We were invited out to Owenses for ice cream after supper. Sadie and Jack ate at their own little table on the back porch where Ben, Carolyn, Julie, John, Elaine and I enjoyed the treat. Some of us moved to the Patio and back yard after the ice cream was finished. There were even some ripe Mulberries gathered from a tree along the fence line out by their shed. The kids gave Elaine a good workout. She enjoyed finding a place to set down. I just enjoyed my view of the neighborhood on a beautiful evening

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Garland High School Alumni Reunion Luncheon

We attended the Garland High School Alumni Luncheon this noon at the American Legion Club in Garland. This marks the 51st year since the school graduated its last Senior Class. The High School has been closed now for several more years than what it was in existence. This is our first year for meeting as a luncheon after years as an evening banquet. Our invitation this year included a Cartoon showing the Plugger opening an invitation with the caption,"You know you're a plugger when your high school reunion invitation announces a luncheon rather than the usual dinner dance."
It was still a great reunion and we were able to visit with many old friends.  I am the only one left from my class. There were a few "reports" from members of the 50, 60  and 70 Honor Classes. It is commendable that the loyalty is still strong enough to have over 60 people turn out for the event with Officers already named to "head-up " next years luncheon. 
We haven't taken it as an "omen" but as we drove over on a gravel road, we scared up a pair of Turkey Vultures that had cleaned up something on the road. As we came back they were still in the same spot but flew over to the nearby dead trees so we stopped and took this picture. My brother Don and I have appeared on many pictures but believe this is the first from this angle. The back of my head is on the left and Don on the right at this first table. Eldon, VP is at the podium and did a great job serving as MC when President Pat was unable to attend.

Friday, June 16, 2017

Local Obituary

Albert Dale Flowerday

June 14, 1927 - June 10, 2017

Albert Dale "Dale" Flowerday, age 89, of Murfreesboro, Tennessee, formerly of Lincoln, Nebras died on Saturday, June 10, 2017 at the Tennessee State Veterans Home in Murfreesboro.
Dale proudly served his country in the US Army, during the Korean War. He received his BS in Agriculture, MS and PhD in Agronomy all from The University of Nebraska, Lincoln.
He was preceded in death by his parents, Albert G. and Flora Koch Flowerday; his first wife, Alice Flowerday; and brother, Bill Flowerday.
Dale is survived by his wife, Marlene Faubion Flowerday; his four sons, Charlie, Stan, Ken (Linda) and Rich (Cherith) Flowerday; grandchildren, Sean, Issac, Seth, Luke and Shay Flowerday; step-children; sisters, Joyce Althouse and Elaine (Tony) Vrana; numerous grandchildren, great grandchildren; and special friends.
Dale was born June 14, 1927 and raised on a farm north of Seward, NE. He graduated from Seward High School in 1944 and went on to the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, majoring in agronomy. After graduating with a PhD in 1958, he began his professional career at UNL as an agronomist and was the first superintendent of the Northeast Experiment Station at Concord, NE. He returned to UN-L to serve as leader of agronomy extension and out-state testing activities; served in Bogota, Colombia, South America, as deputy director of the Nebraska Mission to Colombia and, back to UN-L with teaching and research responsibilities. He was recognized as an excellent teacher, member of several professional societies and received numerous awards.
After retiring from UNL, he served as agronomy manager, Pioneer Hi-Bred International at Lincoln. And, following his marriage to Marlene, they started DalMar Consulting in Lincoln where he provided crop consulting services as an independent agronomist.
A memorial service to Celebrate Dale's life will be held at 11:00am, Friday, July 7, 2017 at Eastridge Presbyterian Church in Lincoln, Nebraska. Following the ceremony, there will be a Remembrance Luncheon at the church.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Seward Chautauqua

We got up to the Seward High School Auditorium this evening to hear two of the Chautauqua speakers. Paul Vickery represented President Woodrow Wilson and Ted Kachel served as William Jennings Bryan. Wilson spoke of his opposition to entering WW I because of his experience growing up in the south in the aftermath of the Civil War. His position was altered with the sinking of the Lusitania by German U-boats with a high cost of American lives. British intelligence also informed him that they had interpreted German communications with Mexico suggesting that if they would help takeover the United States, they would return the States of Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and California to Mexico. (I had never heard this before) These factors were the tipping point in his going to Congress and asking for a Decloration of War. 
Listening to "William Jennings Bryan" made me realize how little I actually knew about him.  He was elected to serve as a Congressman from Nebraska and reelected to a 2nd term. He was elected to the Senate and was a nominee for President at the age of 36. He ran twice more but never elected. President Wilson appointed him to serve as Secretary of State, a position from which he resigned when Wilson and he differed on the "Silver Standard". He read the resignation letter which I'm sure many of us were familiar with, at least parts. When war was declared, he volunteered his services and President Wilson put him in charge of promoting the sale of War Bonds at which he was very successful. They were both strong advocates of the League of Nations and developing a system to prevent future wars. It was anticipated that WW I was the war to end all wars.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Sign and Song

The 1st Impressions committee held a public info meeting at the Civic Center last evening concerning a "Welcome" sign at the eastern entry to our City. Gary Rolf conducted the session and showed pictures of a couple versions of what has been considered by the committee. He then opened it up to reaction and opinion of those in the audience. There was no "clear cut" preference nor was their any intention of asking people "to vote". While a few people expressed strong preferences, others saw pro's and con's with either.
The Senior Center hosted the June Birthday and Anniversary dinner this noon and entertainment was provided by the Fremont, NE Tri-Tones. They sang 40's, 50's and later music in the mode of "The Andrew's Sister's". They have only been performing together for the past 3-4 years but bring professional talent to the Trio. It was the first  time they had performed in Seward but am sure they will be back. They had ideal accompaniment with electronic controls fastened to the music stand. It followed an excellent Country Fried Steak Dinner with mashed potatoes, gravy, green beans and choice of pie for dessert. Those of us celebrating a Birthday or Wedding Anniversary were given a little gift and were sang to as well. The Lied Senior Center is just another one of the facilities in Seward, NE that make it a "top-ranked" small city.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Dale Flowerday

Albert Dale "Dale" Flowerday, age 89, of Murfreesboro, Tennessee, formerly of Lincoln, Nebraska, passed away on Saturday, June 10, 2017 at the Tennessee State Veterans Home in Murfreesboro. Dale proudly served his country in the US Army, during the Korean War. He received his BS in Agriculture, MS and PhD in Agronomy all from The University of Nebraska, Lincoln. He devoted his whole life to improving and teaching agriculture, as evidenced by his professional life. 
Dale was born June 14, 1927 and raised on a farm north of Seward, NE. He graduated from Seward High School in 1944 and went on to the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, majoring in agronomy. He met Alice Boswell of Benkleman, NE while at UNL. They married and had four sons: Charlie, Stan, Ken and Rich. After graduating with a PhD, he began his professional career at UNL as an agronomist and was the first superintendent of the Northeast Experiment Station at Concord. He returned to the department of agronomy in 1964 to serve as leader of agronomy extension and out-state testing activities. He moved his young family to Bogota, Colombia, South America, where he served as deputy director of the Nebraska Mission to Colombia from 1967-69.
Upon returning to UNL he served as vice chairman of the department of agronomy from 1969-71, when he was named associate professor. He was promoted to full professor in 1973 with teaching and research responsibilities. At UNL he conducted research on irrigation, soybean yields, water use, and simulated hail damage at what is now the University of Nebraska Agriculture Research and Development Center near Mead. He helped initiate the crop management and diagnostic clinic at ARDC in 1996 and has assisted with the soybean management field days since 1998.
While teaching undergraduate and graduate agronomy courses, Flowerday was rated an excellent teacher by students in the introductory course in crops science. Dale received the UNL Student Foundation Builders Award for Teaching in 1974, 1975 and 1976. He received the university's Distinguished Teaching Award in science and technology sponsored by the Amoco Foundation and the Outstanding Teaching Award from the UNL chapter of Gamma Sigma Delta in 1976. During his professional career Dale received many other awards. While at UNL, he also led several student research trips to Colombia in the early 70's.
After retiring from UNL in 1983, he served as agronomy manager, Plains Division, Pioneer Hi-Bred International at Lincoln from 1983-94.
Dale married Marlene in 1992 and together they started DalMar Consulting in Lincoln where he provided crop consulting services as an independent agronomist. He is a member of the American Society of Agronomy, Sigma Xi scientific research society, Gamma Sigma Delta honor society of agriculture, and the Nebraska Association of Crop Consultants.
A memorial service to Celebrate Dale's life will be held at Eleven O'clock the morning of Friday, July 7, 2017 at Eastridge Presbyterian Church in Lincoln, Nebraska. To leave thoughts, memories and to view complete obituary, please visit Roselawn Funeral Home & Memorial Gardens, 5350 NW Broad Street, Murfreesboro, TN 37129, 615-893-2742

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Dr. Dale Flowerday

( I had this written last evening when the call came that Dale had died. We have since received a call from Marlene's daughter who is working on arrangements. One of Dale's boys and his wife are in Europe, so a Memorial Service is being considered in Lincoln in July. )
This picture was taken a few years ago when son Verlon was back from Richmond, VA for our annual Home Maintenance.  Elaine's brother Dale stopped by on his way back to Lincoln after working out-state with farmers on crop insurance issues. Dale had top honors and scholarships graduating from Seward High School and went on to get his BS, MS and PhD from the UN-L. His education was interrupted with Army service during the Korean War. Early in his educational pursuit he married and had 4 sons. He served as a UNL Agronomy Professor for a number of years where he received many honors including being singled out for recognition from among those listed in the Nebraska Hall of Agriculture Achievement. He took advantage of an opportunity to work for the Pioneer Corn, Inc. of Des Moines, IA after several years with the University. His work with Pioneer enabled him to remain living in Lincoln where his wife was stricken with Parkinson's Disease and passed on following several years of declining health. He went from Pioneer to working as a private consultant and often serving as an expert witness in legal disputes. He remarried Marlene with whom he became acquainted during Alice's hospitalization. She had family in Lincoln with whom they made their home. As his health declined, he gave up consulting and physical activity. He and Marlene moved to Murfreesboro, TN a couple years ago  when the family with whom they had been living, were transferred to that area. Dale had serious internal health problems a year ago and had a stroke on April 14th which paralyzed one side. He has spent time in therapy but recently has had another stroke. He was moved to a Comfort Care facility and certainly in need of our thoughts and prayers. As I wrote the last sentence, the phone rang and Marlene indicated that Dale died an hour ago. (6:30pm 6/10/17)

Friday, June 9, 2017

A House to the Country

We had excitement in our neighborhood this week as a large, old house was moved past our home and to a location NW of Seward. There are many people involved is such a move, starting with the tree trimming that was done along the route, movement of utility lines, to police officers regulating traffic on a section of State Highway which was part of the route to the new location. County and City police were also involved in the process. The house is apparently 100 years old but still a very sturdy structure.  The peak of the roof and front porch had been removed as part of the preparation. I heard that the folks who bought the house and having it moved, actually tore off a lot of the old plaster to meet the weight limitations on one of the country road bridges that it passed over. With people like that involved, I'm sure this will turnout to be a success and a lovely country home.
This is the way the back side of the house looked as it went on past our house.  Elaine and I drove out a few miles northwest of Seward this afternoon to look at the new location. It is in an area with several other homes located on a few acres. I was on the County Planning Commission some years ago, at the time this area was approved for such "development". And, must admit that as a Soil and Water Conservationist,  I wasn't in favor. 

Thursday, June 8, 2017

An Eventful Day

When you are celebrating a 68th wedding anniversary, it isn't sufficient to limit it to the very day. But rather, continue to appreciate and enjoy it for a few extra. That is what we did today by having our traditional lunch at Olive Garden in Lincoln. And, having our usual, soup, salad, and bread stick special. We cleaned up the salad bowl and each had our 2nd bowl of soup. Elaine mentioned our anniversary to the waitress and she brought us a big piece of chocolate cheesecake which we enjoyed at supper with ice cream. It was a great celebration.
We began the day by being interviewed by Jill Martin with the Seward Independent in regard to the Seward County Community Service Award.  I went to coffee and got home early when we decided to go to Lincoln. My Mac Laptop has served me well since 1/4/10 but wanted to have it checked out, we also had some things to pick up at Super Saver. The lunch was the highlight of our trip since they were unable to do what I had hoped for on the Computer.  I mistakenly left my walking cane on the shopping cart at Super Saver and didn't miss it til we got home. I learned through a quick phone call that it had been turned in,  and Carolyn took me down to get it. I was greatly relieved to have it back.  
Jon and Verlon both called during the course of the evening. Jon will be coming in about 10 days; so we talked about all the things he and his family want to do while they are here. Verlon says he reads the blog every morning and was checking his memory against mine of things that happened many years ago. We both agreed on what some of the great times we had when the kids were growing up and none of us appreciated them at the time as much as we enjoy looking back on them. We were so busy, I saw very little of the Comey Hearing.

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Fourth of July Kick-Off in Seward

The Kick-Off for the Seward Sesquicentennial and 4th of July celebration was held last night at the Bottle Rocket Brewery. Clark Kolterman MC'd the event and did his usual great job. Lance Schwartz from Channel 10/11 was out from Lincoln to do some filming and interviewing. The Kitones sang as did a chorus of young voices. Announcements were made in regard to the Chautauqua on June 15-18 here in Seward and several people and groups were recognized for contributing to Seward's Tourism activity. The  3 "While I like living in Seward" essay  winners read their messages to the delight of the audience. It was a bit nostalgic since it was at this event a year ago, when I sang with the Kitones for the last time. 
Carolyn had made sure that we had this event on our schedule since it appeared that John may be getting some recognition. She and Ben picked us up and dropped us off at the door. John and Julie already had places saved for us. The final item of the evening was the announcement of the Seward County Community Service Award. This is a prestigious award with nominations and ranking by citizens from across the County. Clark announced that the winner this year was from Garland. That really caught my interest in wondering who that may be. Then he went on to say it was "Tony Vrana". I about fell off my chair but was able to announce my having spent the first 7 years of my life in Seward and have came  back twice to spend 47 more. It is a great honor for which I am very appreciative.  Elaine and I are shown here with Roger Glawitz, Chair of the Seward County Commissioners and Jean Kolterman, first winner of this Award in 1971.

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Congratulations Don and Gladys

Congratulations to this attractive couple who  are celebrating their 67th Wedding Anniversary today. I have known Don since the day he was born and Gladys since she was a little girl; and don't know of a finer couple. Don was a special little guy who had the appearance of a leader at a very young age. This picture was taken shortly before his 5th birthday where he already shows the social  and "take charge" traits that have served him well over the years. It is only fitting that he and Gladys should be blessed with an outstanding family as shown on this picture. One granddaughter was unable to be on the picture, but I understand, they are trying to have her "photo-shopped" in. Congratulations, and we are looking forward to a 5th generation picture sometime in the future.

Monday, June 5, 2017

An Exceptional Wedding Anniversary

Twenty years ago on this date, Elaine and I celebrated our 48th wedding anniversary while in Europe on a 10 Country Globus tour with Julie and Carolyn. We left from Omaha on May 25th on a TWA  plane for St. Louis; transferred to a Boeing 767, and landed the next morning at London's Gatwick airport. We took a bus to Norwich, England  where we met Alan and Ann Flowerday. And, spent the next 3 days touring the area in England where Elaine's family was from. We took a day tour of London seeing the highlights of the City and the girls saw the Swan Lake Ballet at the Royal Albert Hall. We joined the Globus tour group at the London Embassy Hotel where we had been staying and met Carl, our Tour Leader. We bused up to Dover and saw the white cliffs as we departed and rode a "hover-craft", 4-5 feet above the water across the English Channel to Callis, France.
 We saw many Dutch Windmills in the Netherlands; drove past the houses if "ill-repute" in Amsterdam; and, visited the Cathedral of Cologne in Germany. We went through the Black Forest and on to Switzerland where I rode the cog-railroad up Mt. Pilatus. We even did some clothes shopping in Innsbrook. We took the Autobahn across the Alps to Venice, Italy. The girls enjoyed a gondola ride and being serenaded. Carl announced our anniversary as we boarded the bus in Venice and everyone sang Happy Anniversary to us. We traveled through an agricultural area on our way to Rome where we went on a City Tour ahead of Dinner (pictured above).  We had a 4-5 course meal with all the wine we wanted where Julie got a kiss and Elaine got a pinch. Carl brought us a bottle of Champagne, Cake, and a Rose for Elaine. He then took us on a great walking tour where we saw the Trevi Fountain and a view of the City from Capitol Hill. It was a Great Wedding Anniversary Celebration and we went on to enjoy the rest of the trip.

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Evolving times, relationships and Anniversary

I came across this picture that prompts several stories. The first is the affection shown by the body positioning, the second is the way I was expected to dress for "everyday" work at the office. This was a few years before we started wearing blue shirts occasionally. Carolyn may have a story about the picture that could possibly include the VW. It was one of the best investments we ever made which enabled each of the 4 kids to have a vehicle to drive occasionally. All 4 of them took "Driver Training" in HS. Another story involves the "bramble" along the fence between us and our neighbors. It was from about this area in the fence line that I "fashioned" my walking cane. In fact, the one little limb at the extreme left of the picture, could be part of it. Walking with the cane is very critical to my stability these days though the only reason I "made" it 40 years ago was to ward off dogs when I went out walking. The biggest story prompted by the picture is how important family members are to each other. We go through the years and stages as these relationships evolve. Last year it was difficult for me to see someone else mowing our lawn but this year; I not only accept but welcome it. We have really appreciated Carolyn taking us to Doctor's appointments and my eye surgery in Lincoln recently and the many other things she does for us.
Tomorrow will be the 68th Anniversary of Elaine and my Wedding. It's been a good run. This relationship has also evolved from the early years when we were so important to each other to these later years when we are even more dependent on each other for nearly everything we do.  We were most pleased when Jan came over a few minutes for our Anniversary. We are most appreciative of Jan and Chuck honoring us in this manner. I plan to go to Coffee tomorrow  morning and to Kiwanis at noon, but am open for what ever may happen later in the day. I will drop a dollar in the Good News basket and announce our anniversary. One of our special anniversary celebrations was in 1997 while on our European tour with Carolyn and Julie, Our Tour Leader hosted us at a special dinner in Rome.

Saturday, June 3, 2017

A Good Day

We took our "stuff" down to the City Recycle Center this morning and have never been greeted with a more helpful crew. I didn't catch the name of the organization they represented but they were great. Granted, we were the only customers there at about 9:30, but the young man hopped down from the dock and unloaded the trunk.  He even volunteered to take care of the cardboard which is carried over to another spot. I served as a volunteer at the Center with Kiwanis crews many times in past years, so really appreciate what this crew did for us today; all I had to do was push the button to open the trunk. Elaine didn't even have to do that much since she normally takes care of the cardboard. Today's special service may have spoiled us.
Our next stop this morning was at the Beauty Shop where Elaine got a cut and permanent. I understand the service was excellent there as well but it came with a cost.  Our daughter has convinced Elaine that she can afford to go to her weekly appointment. Carolyn followed us home when I picked up Elaine and came in to visit for a while. We always appreciate reports on her many interesting activities including time spent with Sadie and Jack. 
We had short after-lunch naps and went to Walmart where we got some groceries including a  chicken. That became the basis for our supper along with fresh green beans. It has been a very nice day though we did get our AC tuned on yesterday and appreciated being able to walk into a cool house when we got home.