Tuesday, November 30, 2004

New Blogger

is a new blogger, Ralph Campbell. Ralph and I go way back and I don't think you'll want to miss his blog. He has his first two up and I think you'll want to add it to your daily blog tour.
If I could figure out how to do it(without losing everything for the forth time) I would have put in a link and added his name at the right under Marty Morrow's. But I can't, it's getting late, so just try to imagine,
Marty Morrow
Ralph Campbell

Marty, this may be a thinly veiled hint.

Morrow Collision Center

The big customer appreciation party at my son's body shop is over. It was a lot of work for those of us smoking salmon and cooking 50 pounds of top sirloin steak blocks. Marilyn baked other goodies and helped serve everything. The most rewarding part for us,(Mom and Dad)besides having people tell us the salmon and sandwiches were good, was that we asked strangers all day long the same question. "So are you guys friends or customers?" Every time we asked it, we got the same answer, "Both". We got it from young and old alike.
I think the group running Morrow Collision center, has a firm grip on how to widen a customer base.
P.S. The Smoked Salmon and Beef were a success but by the time you hit 54 years old you should be able to cook. I loved all the young people coming over and visiting to find out "now just how do you cook that?" It's fun to see young folks recognizing, and then wanting to learn how to prepare good food.

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

Professional Sports

I have become, shall we say, completely disenchanted with professional sports. I know it's not true but it seems that we gather around the TV to watch men play sports whom if they weren't playing would doubtless be incarcerated for various attrocities. It seems there isn't a man among them who would be capable of doing anything to support themselves if not for being able to bounce a ball. The NBA had little support other than the hometowns they play in, and now with the brawl the other nite, that should about do it. See Marty Morrow's link (on the right) for his take. It is well stated.

Saturday, November 20, 2004

Young Ladies and Other Thoughts

I have just completed my first shopping trip of the holiday season to Omaha. I have two thoughts on the subject. The first was that years ago when my boys and I would see someone with their pants being magically suspended in the half moon position and the bottom of the jeans were dragging in the dirt or a young lady wearing something that should have been worn by someone 40 pounds lighter or heavier than they were, I would simply say "no mirror". The boys would say "what", I'd say "no mirror, that poor person has no mirror or they wouldn't wear that".
Well the lack of an adequate supply of mirrors has reached epidemic proportions.
Secondly, while strolling thru Sams Club tonight, it dawned on me. Nothing says Christmas like a well lit, white wire, Christmas tree.

Thursday, November 18, 2004


The chairman of our county board is Bill Larson. He was seated at the East end of the table when I won my election 2 years ago. I've always liked Bill. He had what I call a 'big' personality. He served on a lot of boards and if he wasn't the chairman of the board, it was because he didn't want to be the chairman of the board. People seemed to be drawn to him. A natural leader.
I would walk into the room with 'County Board Room' painted on the door, and I was always greeted with a smile and Bill's booming voice. "Hello Supervisor Morrow". I'd say "Good morning Chairman Larson".
Bill always said everything emphatically and with excitement. He wouldn't mumble "nice weather we've been having" instead he would boom out "Hasn't this weather been won-der-ful"!
I admired the way he ran meetings. We've had some contentious public hearings and just about the time someone would give a hint that they were going to go over the edge and get 'personal' with their argument, Bill would produce a gavel, and at just the right moment he would bang it on the table, thank everyone for coming, and say the hearing is now over. "The board has heard what they need to hear".
You could tell a lot about Bill by what he talked about casually, off the cuff, when the press doesn't have a pen and paper handy. Bill liked to talk about Burt County, the County Fair (which he ran, for as long as I can remember) the various boards and committees that he chaired or sat on, but most importantly, he talked about his family. His wife, and his kids.
When he talked of going to a meeting, he wouldn't say he went to Kearney. Instead he'd say "Virginia and I went to that meeting in Kearney last week". He started many sentences with "I said to Virginia, or Kirby and I or....
Bill had medical complications. Last summer, he kept coming to nearly all of the meetings even though they had removed part of his foot. Then he had to go on Dialysis. But through it all he missed very few meetings except for the last two.
Tonight, when Marilyn and I got home, I had a message from one of the other board members that Bill had passed away. I am deeply saddened. It's hard to loose people who have made a difference.
There is little doubt that Burt County, the Burt County Fair, his Church, the Nebraska Association of County Officials, the various boards and committees that he sat on, and the State of Nebraska for that matter, are better off because we had Bill with us for his time.
They say when you die that it's like taking your hand out of a pan of water, it fills in as though your hand was never there. Well even though the hole Bill leaves, will eventually fill in, it's not going to happen quickly and it will take more than one man to fill it. In this case the hand was just too big.
I know he had to be tired of feeling bad. I'm just glad I got the chance to know him. Farewell Chairman Larson.

Sunday, November 14, 2004

Guilty Your Honor.

I've been made aware of how they take biopsies of the prostate. I was discussing this with a close relative. Close enough that I am a bit concerned about the same test as I eventually reach his age. Having closely followed his progress I have decided that I will simply plead guilty to having cancer and take the radiation treatments rather than go thru the test. I'm sure Blue Cross Blue Shield won't mind.
One more thing. He and I both agreed that when a health care professional says "this might sting". Take off your shoe and put it in your mouth, this to avoid shattering your teeth from clenching them.
If they say "you could feel some pressure". Ask to be put under.

Friday, November 12, 2004

To Secede or Not

The Blue states threaten that they should secede from the union because they pay for everything and don't get to say who is president. I think I'm confused here. Weren't they the ones saying that it was o.k. for just a few rich folks to pay for almost all of our government and had plans for that burden to get even worse.
If they are successful in leaving the U.S. we would miss the, uh, oh yeah, the uh, er the uhhhh. Well, now that you mention it, not a bad idea. Let us know if you need some food or fuel. We might be willing to work a trade for some of your high fashion goods. One more thing, keep the judges. We have our own legislative branch.

The Trial

The big trial has ended in California. Scott Peterson is fortunate that he is as close to Californias' Federal Circuit Court, as he is. That appellate court should have him out on the streets, selling fertilizer again in a month or two. They may even run him for president.

Monday, November 08, 2004


We finished picking corn this afternoon. My Brother from Omaha ran the combine thru much of the harvest and was at the helm when the final stalk succumbed. If my Dad were still here he would say, "well it's too late to be picking corn".
My Brother Ed usually runs the combine and pushes harvest along. The day to day care of the combine was his responsibility. When the doors to the machine shed opened, I knew the machine had been fueled, greased, the filters were clean and it had been checked over from top to bottom. He missed much of harvest because of some complications from a medical test which lead to an operation and a week in the hospital. They found a bit of cancer but it was caught early and the prognosis is excellent.
In his absence I had to do both his job, of prepping the combine, and that of getting the other machinery ready. It slowed things down but we prevailed.
This morning as I walked into the shop, on what I hoped would be the final day of the 2004 harvest, A pair of bib overalls caught my eye. They had been left hanging there by Ed. He always wore them while fueling and greasing the combine. I stared at them a moment and thought about the day he had hung them there and said "I won't be here tomorrow, I have a medical procedure they want to do to me". Little did we know that he wouldn't return this season. An then I thought how sad it would have been if he had not had such good news and never came back for the 'bibbies'.
The finish of harvest on the Morrow farm is rich with tradition. For as long as I can remember, we have had oyster stew soon after we got done. We also have slices of ring balogna, sharp Cheddar cheese, and soup crackers. The brand name of all of these have to be correct or it's just not right. It's tradition.
Back in the 60's and 70's, on the final day, the entire harvest crew would gather around the combine and ceremoniously throw our farm caps into the running machine. The combine would spit them out the back in shreds. We would hang them in the shop.
Once Ed finished a few acres of beans on Christmas Eve. Marilyn and I had been in Omaha shopping and brought home fresh shrimp which we boiled, cooled and had ready to dip in the sauce when Ed came in. Ed wanted to make that a tradition but it didn't stick.
Well tonight as my brother from Omaha brought the combine to the shed, I gave him the signal to stop just outside the door. I then gave him the sign to start the machine running at full throttle. I took the cap off of my head, and my mind was fairly swimming with memories of harvests and family members of days gone by. I held up my index finger and mouthed the words "just a minute". I went into the shed and came back out. Put the cap on my head and threw Ed's bib overalls into the combine.
...It's been a long harvest without him.

Thursday, November 04, 2004

Once Upon A Time

Once upon a time there was a little boy named George. He attended a small one room school house and had grown to be one of the four boys everyone looked up to. They were all in the 7th and 8th grades. The boys all seemed to behave about the same until one rainy day, they had to spend recess inside. They got out a deck of cards and started playing hearts with the little kids. Before long George noticed the other three were cheating. He told them he wanted nothing to do with that and refused to play cards with them anymore.
The next day, nearly the same thing happened. Only this time they were playing their usual game of softball during the noon hour. One of the 8th graders decided that instead of simply catching the ball at 1st base and touching the base with his foot, he would 'tag' the little runners as they came by first. He tagged them hard. Some went rolling, some cried. The other boys thought that looked like fun, except George. So while more little boys and girls were hurt both physically and some had their feelings hurt, the game continued. George quit the game.
Soon George fell out of favor with his older friends. He refused to lower his standards, and morals, and participate in what was hurtful to the peace and unity that had existed in the school.
George didn't think it was very fair that his friends started calling him names like Sissy, Chicken, and Geek. After all his views of what was right, hadn't changed one bit. The behavior of the crowd had deteriorated, he had been steadfast in what he believed was right.
It's now 50 years later, George has a great family. He has worked hard all of his life and dedicated himself to being a good example for his children. The values that he and his wife talked about before they got married in the 60's, haven't changed. They were after all, the same thing everyone else believed. Now, he's once again being called names because some are trying to drag his school, (er, society) down the wrong path. Now they call him Extreme, far right wing, fundamentalist, evangelical, christian, wacko.
Funny thing is that he never moved to the right at all. Those who have tried to drag the center, to left, are insulted by someone who won't be part of the dummying down of society. George refuses to be drug. He makes them look bad. No, they make themselves look bad.

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

Cancelled Vote

We live in a state where the overwhelming majority of voters are Republican. We also live just outside of a small town. For those of you who don't know it, if you live in a small town you will have a much larger group of acquaintances than you would, say, in a metro area where getting to know strangers could be dangerous. We also have the dangerous ones, the only difference is we know about them before we actually meet them.
Small town politics can be, well, peculiar. You don't want to make anyone mad by talking politics, unless you know they are the type who want to talk politics to get mad. One of the old stories from this town was about a race between two men for mayor. The old attorney in town who always stopped in for coffee at the local cafe told one of the candidates, "well I was the first one to vote this morning, so when I left you were behind."
We all know each others party affilliation. Since we know who is going to win in our lopsided state, our reasons for voting are varied, but one of the most popular is voting to cancel someone elses vote.
I had told one of my fellow county board members, the only one who is vociferous about politics, that I was going to the polls to cancel his vote. He told me I was too late, his wife was going to cancel his vote. So I went on a mental search of who I could cancel. Maybe that much hated Micheal Moore, and then I thought well there must be millions of people already using him. One of my Brothers votes opposite of the trend here in Nebraska but my wife wanted to cancel his vote. So there I was, no reason to vote and headed to the polls anyway. As I parked, I saw a neighbor lady, walk in the door. We don't seem to cross paths often, but when we do it's always an enjoyable conversation. She's a very bright, well educated person. I entered the large auditorium where, in the front corner, sat the 'committee'. The six gals, three from each party, in charge of the election for our township. I didn't see anyone else. My neighbor was doubtless one of the 2 pair of jeans I saw behind the curtains. I said "Hi" to the ladies. I went in to vote. My Neighbor got done voting and as she dumped her ballot in the box, I heard her say, "is that Cliff Morrow in there?" One of the workers answered in the affirmative. "Good, I just cancelled his vote."
I don't know why I bother?

Tuesday, November 02, 2004


In 1971 I graduated from UNSTA. The University on Nebraska School of Technical Agriculture, located in Frontier County Ne. About half way between North Platte and McCook, it was a long ways from home. I fell head over heals in love with a girl from Denver. We dated thru school and got married. The other big part of my life was the guy from Tekamah who rented the other half of my apartment. We'd been good friends in high school and it continued in college.
He came home from school and worked for a couple of different companies, then he and his Dad bought the main 'service' station in town in 1973.
I followed him to that station having convinced my Dad that we should do business there. Getting my Dad to switch companies was not easy. He was fiercely loyal, as I am. It didn't take Al and his Dad long to win us over. I don't think I've bought tires (pick-up, car, wagon, combine, tractor, or any other kind) {and we're talking a lot of tires}from anyone else since. Eight tractor tires, all at once, one time. There was the one time I had a blow-out on vacation, and had to buy a tire from a stranger in Colorado. I came home and apologized for that. He has done all of my service work, sold me gas, and diesel and at times when we vacationed together had to discipline my kids. They didn't pronounce Al correctly and always called him Owl. Hey Owl, come over here.
We trusted each other. He knew that if I sent a car in with someone to get a flat repaired, and the tire was bad, and its' mate didn't look too good either, he would put on two new ones because he knew I would trust his judgement. He might also say "it needed serviced and we did that too."
Well, Nov 1st, he sold the station to one of his employees. I have a hunch that he knows what I want and will do just as good a job as Al.
Al is still working at the station but makes noises about going to warmer climates. I hope he doesn't. His only priority was not wanting to own a filling station any more. I can understand that But I hope he sticks around. He's a gamer on the golf course and fun to have in a foursome. And when you get to be 55 you realize that your supply of 'really good friends' is fairly limited. But if he does go, I guess I'll look him up in the winter and say "Hey Owl, how about we play 18.

Monday, November 01, 2004

Harvest Help

There's a chance that what I said could never happen, is happening.
The average year may be upon us here in Eastern Nebraska. The high's and low's on the soybean yield were gone. Instead of a normal year of some 30 bushels per acre in the 'too' wet areas to near 55 on the best ground. The least this year was 40 and the best went 44. Half of these had substantial hail damage. These were complete farm averages. All in all, above average is better.
The corn isn't all harvested yet. But the yields have been exceptional. The threat of high prices went out like a wet diaper in a burn barrel. I was smart enough to sell 4500 bushels for Nov. delivery but dumb enough to not sell 45000.
When the dust has settled and we take the yearly money snapshot called the Financial Statement, it will doubtless prove my "Cliff Morrow- Good Year Theory" which says that it's the Bushels, not the price. In years of low production and thus high prices, there never seems to be quite enough to make the annual payments. But above average bushels will usually work out.
My Brother who usually runs the combine, had some trouble with complications from medical tests. He has missed much of the season but his prognosis is good for a full recovery. Good news! Another Brother from Omaha has been running the combine and doing a great job. Good news! A friend from Denver came and spent a week helping me with harvest. He came here, a Dutch Oven specialist, and added auger wagon operator to his list of proficiencies. Ralph is a forrester from Colorado and I owe him big. Since he went back home we have missed him on the harvest crew but we really hated to see those dutch oven beef and noodles go down the road. Oh yeah, and the peach cobbler made with his home-canned Colorado peaches.
We had help from Denver one weekend from Marilyns cousin and her husband Bob. He ran auger operations one whole day and enabled us to pile up a lot of corn in a short period of time. He has been in the oil field equipment sales most of his life and is extremely interesting to talk to as well as quick at picking up farming activities.
My nephew from Indiana was scheduled to come help but was needed at home that weekend. That would have been a lot of fun for the old timers on this crew.
My son from Lincoln was able to help a couple of weekends and always seems to know exactly what to do. He's handy because there is nothing he can't do on the farm. Including fixing machinery and climbing grain bins.
The fall in Nebraska is why people live here. It's like having a new born in the family and a couple of years later, having another child. This is exactly what your wife swore she wouldn't do, ever again, just 2 years earlier.
We've gone thru Winter and Summer in Nebraska since last harvest. But the cool dry air, great harvest, football season, the harvest moon, pumpkins or something, has intoxicated our senses to the point that we can't remember standing on the number 6 green in early August, and putting, while the sweat runs in our eyes, and saying "you guys really want to play the last 3 holes?" I can't remember my wife calling and politely asking if I could come up the lane a ways and put the fan belt back on. The last snow drift she hit ran it off. "But it's 5 below and windy, what, okay I'll be right up." The Fall weather is that good here.
Having been through about 40 harvests, I've seen it all, from not having enough bushels to better than average like this year. But all in all, it keeps my interest because of the people you deal with. Friends, neighbors, brothers, and family. All with good senses of humor. We laugh, we talk, we tell old harvest stories, and pick a little corn.
I guess it's not the bushels, it's the people. And the weather.