September 25th, 2006
We’ve had a couple of great family week-ends. On Sept. 17 we joined Bill, Edith, Jason, Tanya and girls for a brunch in Lincoln with Dr. Robert Hayes, his wife Helen and daughter Janet. Dr. Bob is my dad’s first cousin – my grandpa, Herbert, and his dad, Orin, were brothers. It had been too many years since we were last together and it was a wonderful reunion. We hope to do it again in the next year when, hopefully, more members of the Hayes family will be able to join us.
This past week-end we drove to Burke, South Dakota for the 100th birthday party for Francis’ dads first cousin, Earl Whidden of Bonesteel, SD. It was great! Since we are the only Whidden family in the entire state of Nebraska, it was good to get together with a few other Whidden’s from Texas, Connecticut and South Dakota. The conversation was lively and Earl’s smile just kept getting bigger – he enjoyed it immensely, as did everyone else.
Both our Hayes and Whidden families have been in this country for a long time. The Hayes family came (probably from Scotland or Ireland) to this country around 1620 to the Virginia area. Icabod Whidden and his sons left the Portsmouth, England area and arrived at Portsmouth, ME in the 1640′s.
All in all, the experiences of our past two weeks help us to realize that our families are definitely a link to our past that help to define who we are and also a supportive bridge to our future as well. Alex Haley must have known what he was talking about! The pictures that follow are of our recent Hayes (first) and Whidden (second) family reunions.
September 21st, 2006
Yesterday I went to a Tech Prep Coordinator’s meeting at the community college in Grand Island. Although it takes a lot of time to get plans ready for a substitute, it’s always fun to get away from school for a day and do something different. The meeting was interesting and I saw some teacher friends that I hadn’t seen for several years. While there I found a little book in the campus bookstore called A Short Guide to a Happy Life by Anna Quindlen who also writes a column in Newsweek. It’s a great little book that does give you some things to ponder concerning what we do with the time we are given on this earth. To paraphrase from the book… “Every person has only one thing that no one else has. When you leave college, there are thousands of people out there with the same degree you have; when you get a job, there are thousands of people doing what you do for a living. But you are the only person alive who has sole custody of your life. Your particular life. Your entire life. Not just your life at a desk, or your life on the bus, or in the car, or at the computer. Not just the life of your mind, but the life of your heart. Not just your bank account, but your soul. It is so easy to waste our lives: our days, our hours, our minutes. Learn to love the journey, not the destination. Get a life, a real life. Get a life in which you stop and watch how a red-tailed hawk circles over a pond and a stand of pines. Get a life in which you pay attention to the baby as she scowls with concentration when she tries to pick up a Cheerio with her thumb and forefinger. Get a life in which you are not alone. Find people you love, and who love you. This life is not a dress rehersal; today is the only guarantee you get. Remember to look at the view.” Think about it … and check out the view of a sunset I saw near O’Neill nearly a year ago as I was driving up to South Dakota. I’m glad I stopped the car to capture that view in a photograph so I could share it with you!
September 4th, 2006
Just had to mention our love affair with the Nebraska State Fair. This year marked the thirty-sixth anniversary of the day Francis and I met at the State Fair 4-H Friendship Dance in Lincoln. The story goes like this…I was just starting my junior year in high school and my 4-H club was at the fair for the Song Contest. We talked my mom (our 4-H leader) into letting us go to the Friendship Dance at the old east campus union. As I walked into the dance, I saw a guy from St. Edward that I had met on a youth trip to Washington, DC a month earlier. I went over to say hello to him and a really tall guy with the St. Edward FFA group asked me to dance. I said sure and walked out to the middle of the dance floor. When I turned around, there was a shorter guy standing next to me! Apparently, the taller guy nudged Francis and told him to go dance with me – and the rest of the story is history! I asked Francis if he was a high school senior – he said no. I thought maybe a junior then??? Again the answer was no. Surely not a sophomore or (horrors) a freshman?? Francis said – yes – he was a freshman , but at the University of Nebraska – not high school. Wow – was I impressed! We have attended the state fair every year since then, usually attending two or three times during the ten-day fair. We even took Jesse as a newborn when he was less than a week old! It’s always been special to us and our kids. Last Saturday, August 26, we were all there again. Over the years some of my favorite moments at the fair have been checking out our photography exhibits; the model trains; cattle, pigs, horses, and llamas; concerts, Kid’s Day FCCLA booths; and the Peruvian music. We love it all! Here’s a picture of the kids – yep, you guessed it – at the fair!
September 4th, 2006
OK, it’s been awhile since I posted anything here – but, ya know, school started and that’s when my life gets busy! But a three-day week-end gave Francis and me a chance to slip off to Kansas City for the KC Irish Fest at the Crown Center. Our favorite Irish band, Gaelic Storm, was one of many Irish bands featured at the festival along with many booths of Irish crafts, food, drink and “stuff” for sale. Seeing Gaelic Storm (http://gaelicstorm.musiccitynetworks.com/index.htm) was a highlight of the week-end as we love their easy-going, story-telling type of folksy Irish rockin’ music. If they ever are near your area, we heartily recommend them! Pictures below show the band and three of the five members autographing a photo for us. Saturday evening, my college roommate Cindy and her husband Dave met us for dinner at Milanos and we had a great time catching up on traveling adventures and the kids. Sunday, on the way home, we stopped to enjoy the apples and tree farms near Arbor Lodge in Nebraska City. Later, we joined Kalie and her boyfriend Shawn at the Nebraska State Fair and enjoyed listening to Risky Business (www.riskybusiness-band.com) in the beer garden. Shawn’s dad is the bass player in the band (pictured in the middle). We’ve heard them before and always enjoy their music!!! We were exhausted when we arrived home after midnight last night, but it was a great week-end!