Monday, December 27, 2004

The Big Fall

Back in the spring of about, I think 1966, we were feeding cattle. By we, I mean my Dad was feeding cattle and I was helping when I could. It was a wet spring. Very wet. The snow had melted, the frost went out, and the cattle were up to their bellies in mud. The mud was even deep outside of the feedlot. We always piled a long line of small square bales along the North fenceline. We piled it there in the fall and would use that hay for a wind break, in the winter, and of course we would throw hay to cattle from that pile all winter. By spring of that year the hay was gone, and we had to pull a hayrack full of bales, to deliver hay to the cattle. We would do this every few days until it got too muddy, even on the outside of the pen, away from the cattle.
The mud on the cattle side of the fence was much deeper but it had the consistency of watery oatmeal. The problem on the outside was that the mud was trying to dry up and thus it became like thick peanut butter and the tractors couldn't handle that.
To get hay to the cattle we came up with the idea of loading a Johnson wagon (our name for the rectangular, square sided wagon that bore the name of the Johnson Company on the side) full of hay, and to pull it with the biggest tractor we had at that time, the John Deere 4020. We would drive thru the mud on the inside of the pen, and throw the hay over the fence to the outside, where the cattle could reach it, thru the wooden fence disigned for that purpose.
My Dad drove the tractor in the pen although the mud was over the top of the front tires of the tractor. The rear end of the tractor plus the wagon tongue were both under the mud.
I call this mud but the truth is it was a mixture of hay, mud, hay that had already been run thru the steers, and water. It was kind of, well, alive. It bubbled. On it's own.
As Dad drove along, I threw the top bales off of the wagon and then got to the ones that were crammed down in the box. I had a bale hook and began trying to pull a bale out of the middle. Kind of like taking a brownie out of the middle of the pan first. I knew that if I could possibly get one of the bales to budge, the rest would come out easily. On my fifth attempt at pulling on the bale, it broke free, almost like it was pushed up by someone underneath. I had the hook caught in the bale in my right hand, my left hand was holding the twine, and the bale hit me in the chest and over the side of the wagon I went. The bale held tightly to my chest. I expected to have the ground rise up and pound my back, like a good pulling guard would in a football game. I remember this event almost like it was in slow motion. I was prepared to have the wind knocked out of me. But I did not feel the landing. It was even softer landing than in water.
I lay in the mud, only my toes, and my face were above, well,...manure. I had a bale on top of me and a circle of about 8 curious, hereford cross steers, reaching with their tongues, to get taste of the bale without coming in contact with whatever that was underneath it.
I had survived the fall and then thought, somehow I need to let my Dad know that I'm alright. I knew that having a Son fall from eight feet up, and then land, on his back, in a mixture that was deep enough to drown him, would have him worried sick.
I pushed the bale off of me, waved the cattle away, and could finally see my Dad. Not his face. I could only see his body. It was shaking violently. I thought the excitement was too much for the old guy. He had his head buried in his left arm, which was resting on the fender. He raised his head to look down at me. Well to look down at my face, everything else was still submerged, and then I could see that he had become quite emotional over this accident. He was laughing. Not politely trying to conceal it. This was the kind of laugh that comes out of you that can't be controlled or stopped. I struggled to my feet, thanked him for his concern. And headed to the house. He said wait a minute. I hesitated and waited for the apology. He said, "well you might as well finish, you're probably not going to get any muddier".
In the years between then and when Dad passed away, he never could get that story out. He would look at me, say "you tell it", bury his head and start laughing.

Thursday, December 23, 2004

Christmas List

My nephew Marty says he needs a new tennis racquet for Christmas. Seems his backhand has slowed over the years.
My Christmas wish list would have to include the wish to become shorter. Most people quit growing when they reach 20 or so but I've gotten taller recently. At age 54. My first indication was that when I stoop to grab a magazine or newspaper from the floor, it's a lot further down there, than it was, say even 5 years ago.
And one more thing. Why have these magazines and newspapers, that I'm trying to clear from the floor, all gone to smaller type. It's aggravating.
Okay, that's it. Shorter legs, go back to the larger type.
Wait, one more thing. Why the deeper cups on golf greens. I have never had a ball bounce back up out of the hole, yet they've made the holes deeper and harder to reach your ball at the bottom. If you think old men are happy when you say "that's good, pick it up", they are. The ball is easier to reach. Or you can be a really nice guy and pick it up and toss it to them.Merry Christmas.
What's on your list??

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

Three Dog Night

We have a 'Three Dog Night' here on the Misouri river bottm. The supposed origin of "three dog night" was that the eskimos, when it became bitterly cold, would have to curl up with three of their sled dogs to keep warm. This instead of the normal one or two.
We only have two dogs here on the farm.
I've just sent Marilyn up to the kennel to get one more. I'm hoping it's not a pit-bull.

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

Raising the Bar

While at Church Sunday, I was watching the Kids Program on one of those rare Sundays when I had nothing to do but run a camera, and then only if a good shot presented itself. I had the opportunity to sit behind the accompanist for the program. My daughter Juli. Now, she has been playing for the choir I direct for a long time now and also for the church as the organist, and it never ceases to amaze me how someone can look at a brand new piece of difficult music and simply tranfer what they see into the proper finger movements. And thus this 'new' music, to the pianist, sounds as the person who wrote it intended it to sound. But more than being a good music 'leader' when playing hymns for a chuch congregation she has a much greater talent. She stays with whom ever is singing, no matter the mistakes they make. Sunday, the first soloist was incredibly soft, a little girl, and I had no idea that the piano could be played that softly.
Juli plays the piano as though she isn't the show. She knows her place when she accompany's a singer and yet she is very capable of becoming the show if asked to do so.
I've heard countless timing errors made by soloists, or mistakes, that only a few in the audience could have noticed. The recovery by the piano was instant.
I remember telling Juli, when she was young, that she should try to learn to do something, anything, better than almost anyone else can do it. She has. I've been told over and over again by soloists, "man did your daughter ever save me on that solo".
I am sure there are better piano players out there, but if you're in need of accompaniment, Juli's as good as the best. She has raised the bar.

Our Little Angel

Christmas is so very special. Especially in small communities and close families. The Celebrations in our Churches are filled with contata's, Christmas carols, choirs, and the pagentry that only small children can carry out.
Sunday, in our little Church, the childrens choir marched in, followed by the little narrators, Mary and Joseph, (both about 2 and half foot tall), and the angels. Three of them. White robes with gold, rope tinsel trim, and wings with gold tinsel trim. The last little angel was our little angel. My three year old Granddaughter. She likes to play the shy type, which she isn't. She walked down the center aisle behind the first two angels until she saw Grandpa seated by the aisle. She detoured, stood in front of me, proudly pulled her outfit out at the armpits, and with gusto said, "See Grandpa". She then saw my son seated by me, who is from out of town, and Grandma, and Mom at the piano. We all got the big smile and "See". As the rest of the procession was lined up, in front, she slowly shuffled down the row, between pews. "See"!
Finally up front, while the wise men, and shepherds, and the other angels paid their respect to Baby Jesus, our little angel, went over to show her outfit to her 6 year old brother in the choir. She was finally corralled, and placed where little angels are supposed to be. In a row.
Looking straight ahead, and shifting her eyes right and left, she slowly went down to her hands and knees, and crawled around behind the barn, where the Christ Child lay. The problem is that her wings were about twelve inches wider than the hole she went through. Everyone finally left the stage, and about 2 minutes later a teacher returned and went around behind the barn and retrieved our little angel. Wings hanging from one side.
The peculiar thing is that our family, and those who know this little Miss Independent, are probably the only ones who noticed what was going on. But it was all consuming to us. I don't know how the choir sounded, I was too busy thinking, "I know that little girl, this isn't 'type casting.'

Thursday, December 16, 2004

Bill O'Rielly Computer

After receiving the message PRIMARY HARD DRIVE FAILURE! , I was told that if it would still spin, they could retreive most of the data. It wouldn't. They didn't. My computer entered the 'no spin zone'. I lost everything except for my biggest file. Morrow Kennels had been backed up. 12-12-04. The new computer said there was nothing on the CD's. After a trip up here from Blair, and about 20 minutes of work, the tech. restored the one file. I must have had a big smile. He glance over at me and asked, "You're not going to kiss me are you?"
May I suggest, that you don't really need to back up any files, except for the ones you would like to keep.
If someone will send me an email, even a blank one, I would put them in the address book. I have an empty computer that I need to start filling up.

Friday, December 10, 2004

Too Much Sleep

I've always thought there was such a thing as too much sleep. I know the experts say you should sleep till you wake. But I've proven the opposite to be true. I have been using a C-pap machine (for sleep apnea). You use this every night when traveling as I did this week, to the state convention of County Officials, I took it with me. As I lay down on my bed in the Holiday Inn I thought that this is really uncomfortable. No 'sleep' numbers and to add insult, the mattress felt like it had been constructed with a piece of 3/8 composition board, buried about 2 inches below the surface. I thought, this will be a long night. I slept 8 hours straight thru.
Now wide awake I attended the conference that always has some highlights and more than it's share of really dull, pathetic speakers. They always seem to know their stuff, but could take public speaking tips from Ray Ramano.
My point is this. I have, up till now, been able to sleep thru these parts. Not now, not one nod. Eyes open. Listening. Anyone care to hear the 27 new acronyms the government has for the homeland security act. Don't let the bed bugs bite.

Monday, December 06, 2004

A Christmas Tradition Begins

When I think about Christmas Traditions I don't think of the same things my kids think about. I think about what we did, waaaaay back when I was a kid. In a few days, when the current rash of meetings and parties are gone I'll blog about that. But the reason I bring it up is that today my 6 year old Grandson came down for lunch with his Grandma. When I asked "what do you want to eat?". He shrugged and said, "whadaya got Grandpa?" I said "How about pancakes?" With a big smile and half way cheering, he said "Yeah, it'll make it seem like Christmas, We always get up and look at our stockings on Christmas morning and then we have pancakes!" Now if you figure that he probably doesn't remember his first 3 or 4 Christmas's, I guess it tells us to be careful with these young minds. They hold big memories. He has already started a tradition in his mind. Memories to look back on. I'm going to do my part to make sure they are worth remembering.

Saturday, December 04, 2004

Target Stores

The target stores have told the Salvation Army that they can no longer raise money by placing bell ringers and red pots outside of the stores. I can understand that. My Mother didn't like the bell ringers either. I would ask Her if We should put money in the pot and she would always answer that the Salvation Army is a Church that does good things with their money, but we already belong to the Baptist Church and if we can give extra, we should do it there. They also do good with the money.
When Target said they would stop the bell ringers, I could understand them because they could get hit up by every church in the country. They could have so many people trying to raise money that I wouldn't want to shop there anymore.
I was sympathetic, until I heard that they have removed all references to 'Christmas' in the store and replace them with 'Happy Winter Solstice'.
Lets see here. They want to sell me Christmas presents, but they are ashamed to use the word 'Christ' in their wording. I can understand. It may offend the one Muslim they get in store this week, and a Federal Judge would give him the store.
I think that religious sensitivity is good. I believe that when they threaten to kill we infidels, that we should wait until after Ramadan to start the bombing.
Merry Christmas Target. I'll shop there again as soon as Sams Club get done moving in.

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.

Sunday, October 10, 2004

Trailride weekend

This is the trailride weekend. My daughter and some of her friends from up in the hills decided to start an annual trailride last year. They wanted to correct the shortcomings of some other rides they had been on. Things like serving edible food and being friendly to the patrons, etc. I helped a bit at lunch on Sat. They rode to a hunting lodge, tied the horses under the trees and had b.b. hamburgers, homemade chili, dessert bars and ice tea and lemonade. The day was about 70 degrees, dry, sunny and well, perfect. The trails used had been worked to accommadate the several wagons that go to these events. At the camp that night, a local eatery and pub pulled out their LARGE smoker-grill and cooked chicken and fried catfish to perfection. The comments on the whole event, at last nights gathering, (as reported by my wife) ranged from great to "this is easily the best ride we've ever been to". Including most who said this was far and above AKSARBEN'S much heralded River City Round-up trailrides. Now the risk will be trying to keep a manageable number of people from here on out. Word of their success will spread like wildfire thru the horse community. Congratulations to my Daughter and her friends. Well done.
PS I stayed home to watch Nebraska play Texas Tech on TV last night. Turns out Nebraska didn't play.
P.S. Watch this space. I'll try to publish a couple of trailride and harvest pics.

Friday, October 01, 2004

A Story

I've always made my points with my children not by saying "don't do that", but rather by telling a story. For instance I wouldn't say "drive slow on the gravel". Rather I would relate a story about someone who got into the heavy gravel (piled along the side of every country road) and then how the squad had to load them up with a shovel. After the accident. As they grew older they would become irritated if I called too often. The conversations would end with... So Dad, why'd ya call. Oh I was just making sure you weren't laying upside down in a ditch. Now when I know they are driving somewhere, I'll ask, where are ya?? And of course the answer is, Laying upside down in a ditch. Or if I'm on the way to Lincoln they will call and ask where I am and I'll ask, why? Oh just making sure you weren't laying upside down in a ditch somewhere.
My eldest son has left his body shop in charge of our youngest son and went to Washington state on vacation. I called him today. I hesitated to call because I didn't know if he knew about Mt St Helens erupting or not. Or were they going to be close enough to care. Trying not to pry, I casually asked "are you going to be anywhere near Mr St Helens?. "Yeah Dad, we're on our way up there to camp right now. Near the rim. We're planning on taking a hike into that big hollow spot in the middle of the mountain."
For this branch of the clan, why say yes or no when you could tell a story.

Wednesday, September 29, 2004


I know that hospitals have free health clinics for the same reason they have Lifeflight helicopters. They pay large dividends. A few years ago one of the Omaha hospitals did nearly $100K of medical work for every patient that a chopper dropped off. The free screening will catch things like hyper thyroids, which, when the endocrinologist gets done, will gain them large sums. (this reminds me, I'll soon tell you about my experience with the radioactive cocktail)
Anyway, John Deere dealers do the same thing. For only $150 they will change the oil, wash, wax and replace some of the filters, and grease, your combine. Not bad eh? Oh yeah, free shipping. They will drive 45 miles with a semi-trailer, load this mammoth and take it to Iowa. FREE. What a Con-tree!!
So I get the call. Since I am the Insurance company in this case. "We'd like to come over and talk about which of the problems you'd like fixed". "Uh, why, how much will it be"? "I'll send someone over to visit with you and show you some estimates".
"Only $6200! Well by all means, operate. Could we try it without novacaine? Would that cheapen it up"?
The combine came home. The bill 2 days later. $9200 "Uh do you guys need to add a $100 charge for 'non-descript' shop supplies to a nine thousand dollar repair bill?"
"Oh you don't, Oh that's wonderful, what about the $3000 overrun on the estimate?"
"No kidding, free pick-up and delivery?" "How do I pay for this"? "No interest or payment till January"!!! Great.
At least we know the thing's in perfect condition.
Yup. You guessed it. We got about 100 yards, before we had to call the shop to come fix this thing. Help!

Wednesday, September 22, 2004

B. S. I.

This is what happens when you have a 4 hour delay in Wichita. It is however a good example of the idle mind at work. The story is true. I think I'm getting behind the curve with these boys.

Body Shop Investigation

I was running my Freightliner down Interstate Eighty,
When an idea popped into my head.
I’ll stop in Lincoln and see the boys,
The twenty-seventh street exit straight ahead.

I pulled up in front, the family name,
Was proudly displayed on the sign.
Collision repair’s the name of their game,
They saw me and said “Just in time”!

“Come over here, it’ll be of some interest”
As we went to the back of the shop.
There sat a truck, a two thousand two,
With damage to the front end and top.

He calmly explained, he’d bought it this way,
And to fix’er up was his intention.
He’d drive it a while, be livin’ in style,
This plan was not his invention.

“Dad it’s done all the time,
The title is clear, It’ll make someone a nice truck.
It needs a grill, a fender, a hood,
And then he said with some luck”.

“I’ll sell it cheap, make a dollar or two,
To hold someone up’s not my game.
We’ll do it right, use quality parts,
You’ll never know she’s been lame.”

Said I “That’s a plan, but I have a question,
What happened to this truck in the wreck?”
I could then plainly tell, by the look on his face,
His excitement was barely in check.

“It’s my favorite pastime, to examine an auto,
and determine from the crinkles and bends,
Exactly what happened, the forces at work,
It’s a science Dad, I don’t need to pretend.”

His Brother chimed in, “this isn’t a guess,
We use the knowledge we’ve gained.
To learn where to lift, and then where to pull,
To get a perfect, straight frame”

“When it’s on the rack, and we start to work,
We must have a full understanding,
Of how it was bent, rolled over or hit,
Or maybe just had a soft landing”

Then said I “Please, what happened here,
Can you tell me from what you can see.
Did it roll down a hill and under a truck,
Or hit a sand dune or maybe a tree?”

Skillful hands then rubbed the front fender,
And he said “Please look at the relation,
Of the damage here, compared to the front,
This was caused during extrication.

“There’s red paint here, and white over there,
And more red at different locations.”
These were excellent clues, for these CSI fans,
You could tell they love there vocation.

They then circled around to the right side,
And examined closely the wiper.
They pulled out some hair “This came from a deer”
A hint they were soon to decipher.

“We’ve considered all of the evidence,
The red and white paint plus the hair.
It’s seldom we can be this conclusive,
A slam dunk like this is quite rare.”

“Our investigation has come to an end,
The circumstances are really quite clear.
This truck was involved in a collision,
With Santa’s sleigh, and eight tiny reindeer.”

This happened, I swear, as I’ve told you,
My boys had sure tickled their entra’ls.
What should have been stated, besides CSI,
They also watch Comedy Central.

Cliff Morrow
August 2004

Saturday, September 18, 2004

I have finally taken my sleep test. Study for it was not bad. They wanted me to stay awake all day.  Being on a Sunday it was with some difficulty, but I did it. They proceeded to glue electrodes on all over my head, face, chest,  and legs. Put a sensor under my nose to tell them whether the air was coming out thru my mouth or nose.  Put an oxygen sensor on my little finger.  All of the above had a wire going to it. They could tell which way my eyes were looking and if they were open or closed. They knew by the microphone glued to my neck if I was talking or snoring.  They new if I moved a leg or if I was breathing with my stomach or chest or both. There was a camera on me. These people surely work for Santa in December to determine if children are naughty or nice.
They got all of the wires gathered and made a kind of pony tail with them. (I'm sure the nurse knew how to wire dashboards on 747's.  She then put a mask on my nose, asked me to not sleep on my side, (which I normally do) turned out the lights said good night and closed the door. I couldn't move without something pulling my skin.
After all of this I lay there, thinking, a mistake.  I have a thought that  goes thru my head several times a year.  I find myself in a very uncomfortable, avoidable, situation.  I usually get there by saying yes to someone I owe a favor to and the question usually starts with "Cliff, I'm going to be gone all next week and I was wondering if you would....", then I say "'yes" and think "how on earth did I get into this?". In this case it is an elective test, but I layed there, thinking and started laughing.  It's not possible to laugh with air being pumped up your nose and down your throat. I could have gotten the role of Darth Vader with that voice. I hope the laughing  doesn't show up on the printouts.  Other wise the Dr will be saying, 'Uh Nancy, what's this, what was happening to the patient right here?"
I'm glad Mom and Santa didn't have this equipment when I was young.


Tuesday, August 31, 2004


I've had some trouble with sleep apnea. So I'm going to see a Dr at a sleep apnea clinic. The first question on the 10 page sleep history form is, "why are you coming to see us at this clinic?"
I came close, but did not put, "duh".
Instead I put, "and here's your sign."
My problem is that I don't know how to do a Sam Kennison scream with my computer.

Wednesday, August 18, 2004

Highway Construction

I've been to Wichita and back twice this week. It's only Wed AM. Two things cross my mind. One, when entering a multi-lane hiway, or 'merging', find a gap, look at the car in front of that gap, and get in behind him. This is opposite of the popular belief that one should find a large yellow truck with two cars on his left, and then time your entrance so that you find yourself precisely beside the truck. Paying no attention to the large gap in front of, and behind, the yellow truck. This move is usually followed by the driver of the car giving a sneer, flashing their headlights, or a salute to the trucker, without the use of the entire hand.
Two, if wise investing is your game, one might look into any group holding highway construction companies, or maybe those making the orange barrels and cones. The miles under construction seems to be growing yearly. I fully expect my next trip to Wichita to be completely on the wrong side of the Interstate. Both ways.
Sorry to bore you but the merge deal has been on my rant list a long time.

Monday, August 16, 2004

Tekamah "The Corp of Recovery"

For two years, our little town has planned the mother
of all weekends. It began as a commemoration of 200
years since the Lewis and Clark expedition went past
the place where our town later was established. Then
two big shows were planned, then we decided to have
a concert, which ended up featuring one of the top touring
groups in the country, Lonestar. Throw in movies in the park,
a playground full of inflatables, (not what you think, these were
for kids) car show, tractor show, Sunday afternoon in the park,
community choir, and on and on and on.
The weekend was an emotional one for me, we had invested
so much time, and planning and we pretty much had all of
our eggs in one basket. Enough activities for our little town,
for any 2 year period, squeezed into 3 days. Did I mention
about 4 hours of sleep each of the 4 nights involved?
We had friends and family visitors to the area from all parts
of the United States, any one of which would have been the
highlight of the summer.
Regrets would be that we couldn't be good hosts to the very
important friends and family who were here. They were, and
will always be the most important part of our lives.
Things I'll never forget, trying to hold back tears while the cowboy
poet recited the Man from Snowy River, and verses about
our old school. The poems didn't get to me, it was his command
of the audiences feelings and their breathing that had me in awe
of his talents. Also the pride I felt for our town. The nay-sayers had
said it would be a flop. And then sitting in front of Lonestar, and
when the stage lights suddenly swung our direction and up the hill
like a big set of aircraft landing lights to unveil an awesome sight.
Wall to wall people, as far up the hill as you could see. Everyone
waving their arms and yelling and screaming for more.
Tuesday morning, I couldn't even think what it was that I did for a
living. Tuesday afternoon I took a two hour nap. I went to town to
find that the streets were nearly empty of people, once more. There
aren't porta-potties on every corner. The grass is getting a bit long
in everybody's lawn, and they don't care. I remember now that I was
trucking corn to Blair when this began. So I guess I'll go thru the motions
until I can get interested in work again.
Lewis and Clark have mercifully gone up the river from here. There's
been some talk of a picnic for them on their return in a year or so,
but most of us are hoping they just float by in the middle of the night.

Monday, August 02, 2004

The Weather

Next weekend is the big event in Tekamah, Ne. Shows, carnival, Lewis and Clark lectures, cowboy poetry, car show, motorcyle show, tractor show, the city's 150 birthday party and the group Lonestar is coming to town on Saturday nite. Easily the largest single event to happen in Tekamah.
Because of this and all of the company we have coming to town, I have been watching the weather forecast for the entire week with an eye for specifics. High temps, Low temps, rain chances and so on.
I now believe that the forecast, is actually the result of a committee, some of whom, it's obvious, have been in to the adult beverages. And not just one committee, two. And they don't like each other. And never talk. Or they have a chicken in a cage with little squares drawn on the floor of the cage and when... ok never mind.
We are now 5 days away from the Cowboy Poetry show, and I can report that the temp will be between 80 and 98 degrees. And the chance of rain will be from none to 60% chance, to as high as likely. The low temps for the period will be upper 50's to about 75.
The bottom line... bring a jacket for the outdoor events. You'll be able to wear it to take the chill off, or get naked and use it for shade.

Wednesday, July 28, 2004


Last week we had a great family reunion for my wife's side of the family. Even her Brother from New Zealand came, along with his wife. In the midst of all of the eating, visiting, and picture taking, we had a family baby shower for our son and his wife from Lincoln. They were expecting in the middle of September. I had to leave in the middle of all of this for a truck driving job to Wichita. I was feeling sorry for myself, I had to leave too late in the day, we had company at home, and I even had to stop on the way down to snooze. I couldn't stay awake and that little nap made it so I didn't leave Wichita until 4:00 AM. I stopped at the first rest area at 4:30 and went to bed.
At 6:00 AM, my phone rang and It was my son saying, "Dad, where are ya?" " North Wichita. Why?" " We had a baby last night." Right there, July 20 went thru my mind. My Dad's birthday. I thought about how we have our time here to try and make a difference and then make room for the next.
"Well that changes everything." "How soon can you get here Dad?" " I'm leaving right now."
The sleepiness was gone, the reunion was on the back burner along with truck driving and I was on my way to see two of the happiest people in world.
Everything was as it should be. Smiles, Grandmas, and Dad proudly handing the baby from visitor to visitor saying "meet Madilyn Rose". The reunion had moved to a hospital in Lincoln, NE.
I recieved an email the next day. At the bottom it said, Life isn't measured by the number of breaths you take, it's by the moments that take your breath away.
Grandma and Grandpa are breathless.

Wednesday, July 07, 2004


The stumps are gone. Family members will know what that means. The ten large cottonwoods in front of the house had to be removed and I was determined not to spend the money required to grind something away that was going to rot anyway. But I couldn't take it anymore.
Living on a farm has it's advantages. We got the job done cheaper because the man didn't have to haul anything away. We used the loader and now have a pile of mulch, big enough to fill one side of a two car garage.
Also, life on the farm is predictable, I have averaged out the aforementioned 41's at the golf course.

Monday, July 05, 2004

The Parade

Putting a float in the town's parade is an obligation. At least it feels like one. If you fight the urge to deploy a float, you will get questions like, "so, I didn't see a Morrow Kennels Float in the parade, did I?" From past experience, we know that a float, when properly prepared is a joy to both behold and to drive proudly down the street. People cheering and you flinging candy as though you had been paid off by a Dentist.
It's best to plan the float well in advance, gather the material to do the job, and then casually, over a week (the one before the 4th) put it together. There you will see the fruits of your artistic expression merge with physical talents into what surely will be a winner. Something, that if seen by certain people in Pasadena, would put you on the fastrack to a permanent assignment there on New Years Day.
Then reality sets in. On the Saturday morning, the 3rd of July, my wife says "I want to put a float in the parade, for a change". For the last several years she had bought my argument that floats in parades are too stressful and made it so that we can't enjoy the 10 to 20 people who show up in Grandma's yard, to watch the parade. After all, there are things to get ready, tables, chairs, decorations, grills, charcoal, lighter, matches, ball gloves, coolers, ice, plates, silverware, and oh yes, the food.
The tone in her voice told me a float was in our near future. I said, "if you want a float, then we will make a float". I didn't realize until right then, that she had watched the movie "Dumb and Dumber", once to often. She wanted to make the Caravan look like a dog. At about 6 PM she starts. A dryer vent pipe covered with black cloth for a tail. Good. A red piece of construction paper sticking out from under the hood was a tongue. Good. Two large pieces of black cloth hanging out of the doors for ears. Looked more like large sunscreens. Four legs, white, outlined with black, taped to the side. Looked like two pieces of cardboard taped to the side of our van. Then she had a black garbage bag stuffed with trash, and taped to the hood. I said "what's that". She said, well actually screamed "It's a nose, what's it look like". Thinking back, I shouldn't have said "a black garbage bag stuffed with trash, taped to the hood of your van".
If I could have avoided snorting while trying not to laugh, that too would have been wise. I was able to duck the magic markers flying my way but she got me with the nose. I had to help make a nose. Which with my help, I must admit, ended up looking like a piece of black construction paper, bent and taped to the hood of the van.
It was time for me to put my talents to work. "Go make some signs for the van, and be sure to tie it in with the Lewis and Clark theme", she said. I already had an idea, but I was missing one important number. I thought I could get it off of the internet, which I did at about 2:30 am on the 4th of July. The number turned out to be 190.
I got up at 6 AM to put ten pounds of potato salad together, cooked 5 pounds of Sloppy Joes, and cleaned house. Oh yes the signs. I had them ready. She got to town at 10:30 to put everything on.
They heard some laughs, and a few young females say "oooh, poor dogs" Others said "I can't believe you actually put that on the float".
I think all in all it was a successful float. If you want to get involved with small town America, come to Grandma's house on the 4th of July, next year, I'll be there watching a parade with my Wife and Grandchildren.

Sunday, July 04, 2004


Nothing can be more exciting for a small town than a traditional celebration. Tekamah has a parade, dinner, kids games, and fireworks every year.
We all know we can find better fireworks, and parades without traveling very far, or just turn on the tv. That's not the point, the kids are home with their families, we all stay up too late and talk and laugh. This is where wev want to be. I've got to go make the potato salad and check the charcoal supply.

Thursday, July 01, 2004

The Planner

My granddaughter, is not the normal (almost) 3year old. She is not, and never has been, afraid of anyone. She studies strangers faces. She is calculating, a "planner".
Casey knows that adults will correct bad behavior, and then the adult mind will return to what had it pre-occupied. She can tell by your body language, the exact moment that you quit thinking about her. And will then return to her devilish ways. When you then catch her again, she has this big smile, as if to say "pay attention Grandpa". I predict her future will have something to do with the CIA. A job that requires a cold, methodic, thought pattern. Nerves of steel. Possibly a foreign operative.
I took her to a parade in a neighboring town where our local reporter snapped a picture of her. They put it in the paper. People say "but she's sooooo cute".
I know, that's what's kept her alive this long.

Saturday, June 26, 2004


My wife has had trouble getting comfortable in bed for some time now. Her first attempt to alleviate the pains came when we got our kingsize bed. It was one of those air ride units. It came with two kingsize pillows. And we kept our old ones. Her thinking being that the two big pillows could be tucked here and shoved there. Not good enough.
She bought a memory pillow. She didn't like it and gave it to me. It remembered that when I use it, it's mostly flat. I gave it back.
Next she bought a body pillow. It is double the length of the bed and is in the shape of a U. It will attack in the middle of the night and when I disgustedly wake up and attempt to throw it across the room, it comes back to the exact position it was in before I threw it.
During all of this (meaning the two years it took for this to happen) she found out that she could get comfortable sleeping in her Lazyboy. Not beside him.
She recently bought a wedge pillow thinking that she could simulate a Lazyboy while laying in bed. Not so.
Currently she has left me with a mountain of pillows, on her side of the bed, which I can't crawl over. If I set the alarm, it will wake me, because I must get out of bed and walk around to where the alarm is. Mountain climbing is dangerous when you are half asleep.
She is now, again, sleeping in her Lazyboy. I am finding it hard to sleep with a wedgie.

Friday, June 25, 2004


Time being at a premium, I have started to blog. My thinking being, that I have nothing to do between midnight and six AM when I wake, and can't go back to sleep except that unintentional sleep in a chair which I do easily. So now I blog and can fill that space with run-on sentences.

The price of corn and golf.

Golf, when taught to someone in their youth is filled with advantages. The first reason, being the one most people give, is that it allows those of us approaching our senior years, exercise and camaraderie. It can teach sporstmanship to the young, and it allows them to learn to mingle with men and women 50 years their senior. All of this is great, but it overlooks the real reason we play golf.
It prepares our minds and attitudes for the really tough times in life. You can shoot four over par one day and follow that with a nintey seven. You walk into the house after that and your wife says "sit down, I've got bad news, your best friend Chuck just died". You say "well that's nothing, I took a ten on hole seven today". You would like to have said a double or triple bogey but you don't know what six over is called. "Ol Chuck died, eh"
I bring this up because I've been playing the worst golf of my life on our little nine hole course. In league play I shot a fifty one followed a week later with a fifty seven. Tuesday I shot a forty one and another one yesterday. The golfer with less experience would celebrate the fact that after years of struggling with the game, I've finally got it. But as for me, I know that corn hit $3.20 a bushel lately and I sold a few loads. But for the most part I'll get my normal $2.00. I learned that from golf. I have a forty eight average and those forty one's will have to be averaged out with some fifty five's. I know that, It's golf.
One day you'll get a call that some of your dearest relatives are coming for a visit, you'll get in your truck to head to the grocery store, and back over your dog. It doesn't matter, I'm used to it, I play golf. It's the average. cliff

Thursday, June 17, 2004


If I told someone from our small town that "last night about 4:30 A.M. I was
blogging for the first time", the women would turn red, and run. The
men would just wink and say, "well attaboy. It's about time. You're what, 54 years old"?
I may wait a while to try and explain just what blogging is until I figure out what
blogging is. My nephew Marty, from Indianappolis, though well intentioned, got me started
doing this, and here I am, the maiden voyage.
I see two possible outcomes to this. One, in a few years, this may cross my mind one more
time as the thirty minutes I wasted that one June morning back in oh-four. Or I may brag
a bit and say "oh yeah, I've been blogging for years" as if to say "you moron, get with
it, learn how to use that computer.
Now I lay me down to sleep. Thanks Marty. I think.