Saturday, September 21, 2013

Recording Re-Surfaced

My daughter Juli, who is organist at the First Lutheran Church in Blair and the Tekamah First Baptist Church in Tekamah, played this piece, Taccota and Fugue in D minor by J.S. Bach, for a spring recital while in college back in 1996 I believe. She was majoring in Organ Performance. She is pictured here with a niece.
It was originally recorded on a cassette tape and then digitized and tweaked by some friends at American Gramaphone.
Marilyn recorded this and I didn't attend as I was trying to catch up planting corn. It is likely one of the biggest mistakes of my life to not have witnessed this in person
Turn up your volume and especially the bass on your speakers, click on link and sit back and enjoy. They cut the applause short at the end but it went on for some time. The organ was in the balcony of a large cathederal and at the end of the recording, you can her professor encouraging her to take another bow.
The Hendrickson Opus 78 Organ Used In This Recording
St Joseph Cathedral, Sioux Falls, SD

Click this link:

Car Show

The largest carshow in the region was held last weekend in neighboring West Point, NE. They stop all entries at 750. The event draws an estimated 10,000 spectators each of the two days of the event. Our son Dan entered his 1968 Camaro Convertible he had restored. It is pictured below. This little gem will pin you in your seat when he releases all of the horses. It's as shiny underneath as it is on top. The mirrors lying on the ground displayed that for the crowd.

 He also entered his 1948 Indian Chief. He also restored this one. The pic below was taken at a rare moment. One when there wasn't a crowd gathered around it.

The picture below is of  Dan and his girls. His wife and 4 daughters. They are pictured in front of his enclosed aluminum trailer.
The tall trophy was a sponsors choice trophy for his Camaro. The other trophy was for 'Outstanding Motorcycle' at the show.

Friday, September 06, 2013

Grandma On Phone With Grandson At Bedtime...

visiting about going to school tomorrow:

Grandma: Cooper, are you in Pre-School now?
Cooper: (with a 'you should know better tone) No Grandma, I'm at home right now.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013


16 0Z Old Spice Body Wash. $2.97
Beside that were 2 packaged together, again 16 OZ. 
The sign said:  SAVE. Buy 2 in one box. $6.97
There were a lot of the singles left but only one of the double package.
Knowing your customer base well, is the key to marketing.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Summer Time...And The Livi.....

Champion Grandaughter, with her Champion Dog. Bailey doesn't no what to do when Casey goes into another room.

Leftover pic from corn day. Training starts early in these parts.

Children of the corn.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013


Transient workers who came to help freeze sweet corn. Two daughters in-law and two sons. The brown and blue shirts go together and one of their 4 daughters they brought is in the truck. Black and grey shirts go together and the little red head boy is one of 3 redhead boys they brought with them. Dan (in the blue shirt) is actually having fun. He likes to have a serious look on his face in all pics.

There are certain times of the year that are the "pay-off" for living in rural America. For me, it's when the stars align and there seems to be an aura that illuminates the land. I speak of that time when the tomatoes, sweet corn, cucumbers, onions, beets, peas and new potatoes all ripen. A time when a well-stocked kitchen dare not run short on vinegar, salt, pepper, sugar, butter, bacon, mayo, spices or toast. Remember, it's August and time to lock your car doors when you park in town, for fear your backseat will get filled with zucchinis.
Many families, the Morrows included, have had a tradition of preparing sweet corn for the freezer. There are as many ways to get the job done as there are raccoons in my sweet corn patch. From my first remembrance we picked, shucked, cleaned, blanched, cut and froze endless numbers of pints and quarts of the delicacy. The corn was not even close to being as good as it is today but it was all we knew.We each had our job. The youngest kids helped pick the corn and then we pulled the wagon up under the shade of some giant cottonwoods and commenced shucking. Shortly after we began this process we usually had someone on the cleaning committee send a runner out to report, "Mom says you guys are doing a lousy job of getting the silks off." Not knowing that removing silks was in our job description, we doubled our efforts.
Being the youngest of seven children, I began to reason that possibly I had the toughest job of them all. I helped pick the corn early in the morning and then got stuck shucking. Often, all alone it seemed. My older siblings would go to the house with a five-gallon bucket of clean corn and never come back. Well, they did come back and usually carrying another five-gallon bucket of empty cobs for the pile. I didn't have the reasoning ability to know it best to just sit in the shade of a tree and shuck corn.
Years passed and I began to climb the ladder toward the ultimate, Dad's job of slicing the corn off of the cob. The trouble was, all of my siblings left for greener pastures and eventually I was left with the whole operation. Marilyn does do a better job than most at cleaning and blanching the corn, but I do the rest. And that ultimate job wasn't all that hot either. I needed a band-aid every time I cut corn the first few years. Dad made cutting corn seem very quick and easy. Other folks would borrow the cutter and bring it back saying they couldn't make it work so they had to use a knife. It was a tricky thing to master which I eventually did but I too have let it go to a friend only to have the "worthless machine" brought back a day later. Everyone who ever used it for the first time needed to bandage the right ring down near the finger nail.
When one gets up into their 60s and are fairly swamped with farming and grooming dogs, it becomes imperative that you begin to triage the garden. The decision to "Let's not grow this anymore," is based on whether the reward is worth the time spent. Recent victims to this thinking are our strawberry bed which succumbed to pressure from the neighboring asparagus, and our raspberries will be mowed off but not because they didn't do well but because we could never find the time to get them picked.
Our focus is now on growing tomatoes for the table, canning and BLTs. We are also going to keep raising green beans, early and late season spinach, onions for salsa, and sweet potatoes.
Oh yes, we do raise cucumbers to watch them reach the age of production, and then we watch them die. Cucumbers will also cross over the line into the world of "not worth the effort" very soon here at the Morrows. They do, however, prepare you for life in general because they look good one day, not so good the next and then they're dead. The other factor is the disagreement they always spark in our home. One of us likes a sweet vinegar dressing and the other of us likes them fixed the correct way with vinegar, water, salt and pepper.
Please excuse me now while I sharpen my cutter and try to beat the raccoons to the patch.
Tip: (I've cheated this year, I now have a double electric fence around the patch) The neighbors still got into it.
Second Tip: Roundup can be used in place of a hoe in the garden.
Third Tip: Have plenty of excuses ready when the wrong plants start to die. ie: "It must be the drought." (Or try some kind of 'wilt,' or better yet, 'Phytophthora Root Rot' will work every time.)

Sunday, July 21, 2013


We were raised with baling wire. I know that sounds as if I had a 7th sibling made of wire but it is close to being true. The wire was an integral part of our everyday farm life.
In the 1970’s the wire began its exodus as most of the hay balers went to using twine. Before that, all of our alfalfa, brome and straw bales were held together with wire. The wire allowed some of the straw bales to be packed so tight that they would nearly explode with the mere nicking of the wire. A four foot straw bale could end up bursting to ten feet long as we cut the wire.
We used bales of straw for bedding the pigs in the barn and we also fed the feeder cattle with wire tied hay bales. We used bales in the barn one or two at a time. That meant that we would have 2 or 4 wires in our hand after bedding the sows. We would then begin to fold the wires in half enough times so that the result was about a foot long and then toss the wrapped strands into a pile in a vacant stall. Out in the feedlot we would sometimes feed 40 bales at a time that meant we had a pair of pliers in our right hand and a growing supply of wires in our left. When the load in our left hand got so big that we couldn’t carry it, we’d stop, fold it in half, wrap a wire around it and then take it to our outdoor pile near the end of the row of bales.
Those two piles of baling wire then became the supply that kept the rest of the farm running.
Wire had an almost unlimited number of uses. One use was to wire the hog panels in the barn. Right here let me interject that hog panels were to be double wired and tightened clockwise. If we did otherwise and my Dad had to unwire the panel in the dark to fence lock in a sow that was ready to farrow, we heard about it. “Who wrapped this wire the wrong way?” We always thought we were too young to have to do chores so we’d reply, “You need people working our here who are old enough to tell time and know which way a clock runs.”
We used the supply of baling wire for fencing repairs, emergency cotter pins, and our hitch pins always were wired in. (Clockwise I might add.) I don’t believe that we had a tractor, harrow, disc, combine, corn picker, truck, seeder, drill any other piece of equipment that didn’t have several pieces of wire wrapped or twisted around it.
We could fix the exhaust system on the old jeep or the Studebaker without going to town. Dad would simply hand us his pliers and tell us to go get a piece of baling wire.
We’d run to the mountain of wire that was so large that it wouldn’t have fit in the box of a pick-up and cut off a length of wire that ended up being about 2 inches two short. We’d get back to Dad, he’d try the wire and ask “Are we getting short on wire?” “Now go back and bring enough wire to go all the way around this.” 
Almost every temporary fix on the farm was accomplished with the aid of baling wire. Even if it ended up being a forever fix. My Dad once fixed the metal frame on a chair from our daily dining room set with baling wire. That was the day Dad found out that baling wire wasn’t coming into the house.
Other times the wire became a curse when someone would run into a pile of used wire with a shovel type cultivator.  A pair of side cutters and 1 hour will usually be enough to correct that mistake. Single strands of baling wire laid carelessly about were always the scourge of our lawnmowers.
We still have horses on the farm but I’m not sure where the used baler twine pile is kept. I do however know exactly where to find a piece of twine if I need one.
There’s probably one wrapped around one of the three spindles on my lawnmower deck right now.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Never Before

I've lived on this farm 63 years. I've made or been a part of the drive from town down our country roads the 9 miles to the farm, countless times. But I have never, ever, seen this many lightning bugs. The corn fields, which are now all about chest high, are well lit. Marilyn says they're the males of the species trying to attract the girls.
So...I had to try but the flash light I took to bed didn't attract anyone. As a matter of fact, I now have to see if it can be fixed.

Thursday, June 06, 2013

Colton- Just Horsing Around

I have been avoiding talking about our local grandson for fear of sounding like I was bragging.. He is a pleasure to be around. He'll do anything we ask of him and with a smile. He has a good sense of humor and cares not what others think. He's very comfortable being himself.  Colton is 14 years old, 6'1 1/2 and weighs about 210. He's a pretty good athlete as well and a Boy Scout.
He used some of his money from working on the farm to purchase a horse head mask a few months ago. No particular reason, he just wanted one. He gets it out from time to time, but not often.  I saw him walking down our main street with it.  Everyone, young and old alike were honking and laughing and waving at him. He just waved and kept walking. He made their day and vice versa.
A month later he was standing along the fence at our rodeo, wearing it. I can't help but laugh when I see him wearing it because it happens so seldom and it always seems to be at the right time.
He recently had a friend over and they went out by Mom's horses and he had his buddy take a picture. He captioned it and I got it as a text this morning about 6 AM. He was lifting weights at school and sent it between sets.  I had to pull off of the road until I quit laughing. This kid has a great sense of humor.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

How High Up is Up?

How can you  tell if knowledge of a scandal (or 3 or 4 scandals for that matter) goes all the way to the top? It's easy. No one gets fired, because firing is the only sure way of making people talk. To think something is 'OUTRAGEOUS' is admitting that you don't really want to find out what happened. To fire someone, knowing they'll begin talking as soon as you fire them, is to be serious about finding the answer.
I doubt anyone will lose their jobs. Just reassigned to a higher paying position.

Monday, April 22, 2013

It's Finally Over. The Grand Opening Was Saturday April 20, 2013

 This is the reception/grooming room prepared for the big day. We had a lot flowers sent by well wishing businesses from the community as well as contractors.
 Our son with his youngest eating some of the bisquits and gravy we fed our guests up until 11:00 AM. We switched to grilled hamburgers and hot dogs at that point. Dan ran that operation for us.
 This is our daughter Juli giving free pony rides to customers who brought youngsters to the celebration.
 This is Marilyn visiting with 'locals' while they enjoy their lunch with us. Notice Ralph on the far left. That was one of the few times he wasn't moving quickly from our kitchen to our garage where where the meals were being served. He was a huge help always working behind the scenes.
 This is Char serving food in the garage and son Dan having just dumped a load of grilled burgers and dogs in the roaster. That's his wife going thru the serving line during a lull in the action. The two on the right are raising 4 of our 5 grandaughters for us.
 This is another daughter in-law who is  helping raise 3 of our 4 grandsons for us. These two are both delightful people. Dad who is son Tom is holding this same child in the above picture where Ralph is on the left.
We think we a had about 200 customers and friends visit us during the day on Saturday. There still are a lot more people wanting to come take a look. We will be forever in debt to our immediate family including my brothers and sisters in-law as well as some close local friends and we can't leave out Ralph and Char who came from Denver to help. A truly wonderful day.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

We've Kind Of Moved Into Our New Kennel

                                 This is the east side of the bathing and blow dry room.
 Marilyn grooming. The cabinets are still under construction. The window to the rear opens into the kitchen/break room.
 When the dogs come outside, they are here. There are 5 overhead garage doors here that can be opened to make it pretty much outdoors. The floor drains toward the the inside wall where there are several drains.
This is the inside part of the boarding area. 30 cages in all. The floor here also slopes to the walls and the drains. When we get done, we'll give you a full tour.

Our Youngest Grandchild

 She always comes right to Grandpa to be picked up but this look on her face is pretty typical. I believe she looks at me like a grown-up would a train wreck. She's thinking, "Man, this is wierd."
This was Christmas morning. She's showing us some of her take from her stocking. The coincidence here is that it's a Pez dispenser just like the ones her Mom collects. Such a fortuitous gift.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Time For A Progress Report On The Kennel

 To avoid the frustration of making the pictures go where I want them, I hereby accept the order in which they fell. SO....we'll start in the back of the building. This is the kennel area. This indoor area has forced air AC and Heat, and zoned by itself. The cement slopes to the wall where there are several drains. This allows for more efficient sanitation with our pressure washer. The dogs can go out the doors to the area below. Okay the next pic isn't what I thought. The outside picture is the last picture.
 This is part of the 'wash' and 'blow dry' room. There are 4 heavy duty electrical circuits on the far wall for big dryers.
 This is the reception and grooming room. The front door is just out of sight on the left. All of the tile was installed by my sons. It is completely flat and the lines are laser straight. It would seem to me that if you are talented in auto body repair, it also qualifies you to do almost anything that requires artistic talent and a high level of craftsmanship. Many parts of the trades industries are like that.
This is going back again to the back of the building. This is the 'outside' area of the kennel. This too, slopes to the wall for cleaning. There are 5 big garage doors surrounding this inner building and they can be operated by remote control from our house. They will be open in nice weather and closed in bad. This area has two hanging heaters to keep it warm in the winter to aide sanitation and keep snow at bay during snow storms.

Friday, March 08, 2013

"Kevin, Say It...Say Roof."

There are often two ways to pronounce common words. As a matter of fact we hear them pronounced those two ways so frequently that we don't realize what is being said. The locals will often do it in regard to our hometown of Tekamah. Sometimes it's "T-kay-muh" and sometimes "ta-KAY-muh." The story goes that it is an old Indian name or that it might be a misspelling of a town back east when the group of men gathered to lay out the town in the mid-1850s. They drew the name out of a hat and one of the men was from the eastern U.S. No matter how you say it, we all know what is meant and give no thought. There are no authorities on the subject.
Mispronunciation can have its downside as my friend Kevin found out many moons ago. Unlike myself, Kevin was a town kid and had all the advantages of the city school, including a teacher named Mrs. Valder. Mrs. Valder retired just before I started making the trip from "Tobin School" to the high school in town. Mrs Valder was famous for being a hard core English teacher. She was old school but not mean as she was often judged, but rather focused on perfection. Everyone learned to diagram sentences, proper pronunciations, the rules of punctuation and of course that generally speaking, a preposition is the wrong word to end a sentence "with."
Now back to Kevin, he became a successful carpenter with several employees. He had all of the staff and talent to take any project from planning to completion, no matter the size. As is the case with many professions, the big jobs are sprinkled with pesky little jobs that need to be completed to maintain your good reputation in a small town. Thus was the case when Mrs. Valder left word at Kevin's shop that her roof was leaking somewhere on the south end.
Kevin didn't want to take any of his help away from the big projects and so called on Mrs. Valder himself one morning.
He was in a hurry and so when he arrived he immediately went about setting up a ladder and went to the top of the house. The roof was generally in good shape but the chimney drew his attention instantly and sure enough there was a problem with the flashing where water could run down the chimney and get into the house. Luckily for Mrs. Valder, it was a small problem that he could fix fairly inexpensively.
He climbed down and knocked on her door. She was very happy to see him and after exchanging pleasantries, he said, "Mrs. Valder, I've already been up on your roof and have found the problem. It's. ..."
She put a finger in the air and interrupted him and said, "Kevin, it's pronounced roof, (like the 'roo' in kangaroo) and since Kevin thought that was how he pronounced it he gave a nervous giggle and said, "Well anyway, I've been here for a bit and already set a ladder on the south end of your house and I climbed up on the roof. ..."
Again she interrupted him, "Kevin, it's roof, now say it." He smiled, she didn't. "Say it, Kevin, say 'roof.'" After a pregnant silence, she again said, "Say 'roof,' Kevin, the way you're pronouncing it is close to what a dog says. Now say 'roof.'" Finally Kevin realized that he was in way over his head and said "Roof." She smiled, relaxed and said, "There, that's correct Kevin." And then she went about lecturing him about how he was a bright, well-educated young man and that there was no need for him to butcher the English language like that.
Kevin said he left the house a lot smarter and with a smile on his face. He knew at that moment that Mrs. Valder was no phony. All those years of school teaching and demanding that everything was correct were not for show, she was a true believer in education.
I've often thought of this story and Mrs. Valder. She was a true educator. Not unlike many of our teachers of today. Without those "tough" types our society slips a bit every day until another "stickler" shows up and raises the bar back to the top.
Or should I say through the roof. Err..I meant roof.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

The Other Shoe

This pic is an addendum to the post. Marilyn snapped it without flash during the snow storm. The light was from the porch light. The near blizzard conditions never materialized. It was actually just normal Nebraska weather for the second month of the year.

We're waiting for the other shoe to drop. About a week ago the National Weather Service began forecasting a near death experience storm to pass through the area. Today it arrives and like most winter storms, it's going to depend on where you live. The two feet they began forecasting for this area has dwindled steadily down to what is now 8" for later today. I do know there is a major event south of here with the two feet and an inch of ice. It makes our forcast look pretty tame.
Todays agenda includes plugging in the engine heaters on the snow blower tractor and the emergency farm generator tractor, putting the semi tractor-trailer inside and unload the srap lumber in my pickup into the burn pit. I must attend a 9 AM meeting at the courthouse and then we'll count our blessings.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Why I Prefer The Embassy Inn and Suites

On January 12th, we passed the 125th anniversary of the Blizzard of 1888. I’ve read varying accounts of the storm and about the devastation it caused and about the horrible tragedies, death and heartache. It hit on a day that started out calm and unseasonably warm and struck with hurricane force winds that continued on for days. The temperatures dropped from near 30F to in some cases, -40 degrees below zero and it deposited nearly 4 feet of snow in the time span of just a few hours. The winds were so strong it blew the roof off of barns and school houses and left many trapped or pinned down right where they were when the winds hit.  Some school teachers were considered heroes because after losing the roof to the building, they led their students to the safety of a neighboring farmhouse.
Of the 235 people who lost their lives in the storm, most were school children. Other folks died within a few feet of their home, unable to find their way in the blinding snow and unable to hear loved ones banging on pans from the porch. It’s worth taking the time to find and read the accounts of that storm. It points out the fact that when Mother Nature throws her best punch, we lose.
I recall a storm we witnessed firsthand. In the late 1970’s we put afloat with several families and boats from near our place on the Missouri River in route to near Ponca Nebraska. We were going to caravan (or would that be (boatavan) up stream to camp, fish, and basically carry on with family activities on the banks of the wide Missouri for 2 glorious fun packed days and nights.
Our armada was beached all in a neat row that Friday night, in what turned out to be a sandy beach/picnic area/cow pasture. The cow herd left us kindling for the fire but none ready to use on that trip.
We pitched our tents and the volleyball net. I picked the beautiful spot for our tent that we were sharing with friends.
We ate supper and the sky turned nasty looking. It was bedtime soon after that and we all bedded down in our tents because it was beginning to rain and it put the fire out. It began to rain very hard. The winds came up and the lightning was ferocious. The river where we were camped wasn’t too wide. I would guess it to have been maybe 200 yards wide and there were several strikes within a quarter mile of us over the next two hours. At about midnight my friend on the other side of our big tent said, “Cliff, push down on the floor of the tent.” I did and it felt like a water bed. I had to push down about 7 or 8 inches before I could feel the ground. We were in trouble. We and our wives were in more trouble than the others. My choice spot was actually in a depression caused by rain water running to the river. We bailed out of our tent and everyone headed to try to save their boats that were all sinking from the rain water. Five gallon and minnow buckets were pressed into frantic service. All of this scooping action went on as the lightning intensified. When the rain finally quit, some of the runabouts had their tops and storm covers put up and the kids and an adult were moved from the soaked tents to the interior of the wet boats. Most of us spent the rest of the night huddled around a fire trying to dry our clothes. It didn’t work. Dawn finally broke after what seemed to be an eternity and we began loading 50 pound sleeping bags into the boats, along with even heavier tents, coolers and unused food and we said good bye to our glorious weekend retreat. We’d all been up 24 hours to that point and we had to navigate muddy, turbulent water to try and get home. The two hour trip home took nearly 5 hours. We had to steer clear of picnic tables, large cottonwoods trees, old sows, steers, footballs, and 55 gallon drums all churning in what appeared to be chocolate milk.
We got home to read that the storm that night dumped over 7 inches of rain near Ponca in a two hour period. We could attest to that.
Lessons learned that night were many. One neighbor sold his tent and vowed never to sleep on the ground again; and he didn’t. I vowed to pick spots for my tent that were a bit higher than the surrounding terrain. My other big lesson for camping in the rain was to get up at the first sign of a storm and keep your bedding dry. Then you can go back to bed.
But the biggest lesson of all is that Mother Nature always wins the big fights; all we’re ever left with are the stories.

Saturday, February 09, 2013

This Is A Great Speech...

By a great Man. I wish he were President.
His level of intelligence and understanding of society were clearly far above and beyond anyone else in room. He dwarfed everyone. I can see why this wasn't covered by the mainstream media. It didn't match their agenda.

Monday, February 04, 2013


Failure should be our teacher, not our undertaker.
 Failure is delay, not defeat. It is a temporary de-tour, not a dead end.
Failure is something we can avoid only by saying nothing, doing nothing, and being nothing.
~Denis Waitley~

Saturday, February 02, 2013

I Just Read...

where Punxsutawney Phil is accurate only 39% of the time. No wonder we wait for his prediction. He's more accurate than the people we've been using.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

"Hands Where I Can See Them Ladies!"

One of my sons just called to say he'd gone to a gun show in Lincoln this morning with his two young sons in tow. The facility is a sprawling event center out on the edge of town capable of hosting two or more big events.
Today they had the gun show and the other show was a giant craft bazaar.
He said the State Patrol had a presence there, but not at the gun show, it was for the craft show.
The boys have friends who are policemen who have told them that on a traffic stop, they know before approaching the vehicle whether or not the owner has a concealed carry permit. The policemen also say they don't mind those stops. The well trained nature of concealed carry permit holders means they know and follow the rules. They know the first words out of the mouths of the drivers will be, "Officer, I have a gun in the car."
It's not concealed carry permit holders or the gunshow attendees the cops are worried about. There are no amount of laws that will affect the people they are worried about, those people don't follow the rules or the new laws sent down from Washington.
By the way, I'm fat, so I want all forks and spoons banned.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

New Kennel Progress Report

        I took a bunch of pictures of the inside of the new kennel and then realized they all look the same. They were all similar to looking at a row of me standing there. You know, a bunch of studs in a row. So this is all I'm putting up. The pic above is of the break room taken from the grooming area. The HVAC and plumbing and electrical are mostly all roughed in.  The pic below is deceptive because from where the camera is located to the other end is 73 feet and it just doesn't look that far. That part of the ceiling is finished and insulated. The two hanging wall heaters will be used to heat the 'outdoor' part of the building.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Favorite Christmas Day Photos

We all gathered at our Son Tom's new house for Christmas Dinner. It was melancholy at best without Great Grandma being there but we carried on.
This is our Daughter Juli and her niece Georgie. That of course would make Georgie Girl one our 5 Grandaughters.
The next two photos got hooked together by Blogger so I'll describe them from here. The top one is our buddy Ralph with one of my daughter-in-laws after the funeral on January 5th, and the bottom pic is of another Grandaughter, Danica, who found Christmas day much, much to long for her taste.

Monday, January 07, 2013


Note: The reference to McPherson Kansas in this post may seem out of place but the magaizine this was written for covers all of Nebraska and Kansas.

This has been a grueling Holiday Season for the Morrow’s.  Marilyn’s mother passed away just before Christmas and it was quite unexpectedly. It was complications from emergency surgery so our opportunity to prepare mentally for all of this was short. I guess we’re never prepared for such things but it’s hard to think that the head of our family has been cut down. She was the singular head because my parents have been gone many years, Marilyn’s Dad died mid 2012 and that left Maddie as the sole surviving Matriarch.
G G was 91 years old. She never could grasp the thought that she was old enough to be called Grandma but Great Grandma was the last straw and G G was her idea to avoid having to hear the words “Great Grandma” from 13 little renegades.
Maddie was fearlessly proud of her Scottish heritage. She was born Madeline McPherson. She was a card carrying member of the McPherson Clan and had traced her lineage deep into Scottish history.  Her family tartan and crest were proudly displayed in her abode and was eager to talk about them.
Maddie and I butted heads sometimes. Okay often. Well, really it was nonstop from the day we first met back in 1970. She always had a singular focus and wanted things done ASAP and I did did them for her but usually not soon enough.
 She moved from Denver to be near me, (or maybe it was my wife she was moving to be near) in 1995. That’s when we really began to know each other.  She had a keen sense of humor and cutting wit about her. I once called her at night; I was trucking near Wichita Kansas and explained that I needed a phone number from back home. I told her I was driving and couldn’t write the number down. She came back with “Cliff, here’s the number and it’s so easy, even you will be able to remember it.”  She laughed, I didn’t.
Other times she would get her jabs in early. She was always glad when I came for a visit but she would sometimes open the door, and then say in a disappointed tone, “Oh, it’s you.” But she did it with a smile and then invited me in.
She moved from Denver to our small town, and just like her daughter, completely embraced this farm community and the people. Maddie dove head first into her church, her bridge club, quilting group and those with whom she dined. She seldom missed concerts and recitals and grandkids at sporting events and as well as 4-H shows. She was quite proper about all things and kept her appearance up right to the end. Like her Father and Grandfather she was fiercely independent, completely organized, and documented her life in diaries and when the funeral arrangements were made they were made well in advance, by her.
She had a special place in her heart for McPherson Kansas that bore her maiden name. Marilyn took her mother down to the ‘Highland Games’ there in central Kansas. For those unfamiliar with them, the Highland games are athletic events originating from ancient Scotland.  They involve many events that require brute size and strength.  Like throwing what appear to be telephone poles so they flip forward away from the thrower. The poles are big enough to require a power company truck to perform the same stunt if you don’t have a Scotsman handy.
They also throw BIG hammers for distance, and heave stones over standards set quite high. I would tell Maddie that the show of strength by these guys were pretty amazing especially for some guy in a dress. The comment was meant to get a rebuttal and did. Immediately. “Cliff, those aren’t dresses, they are kilts, and by the way it’s pronounced Mc-‘fur’-son not Mc-‘fear’-son. So of course I always used the latter. But she loved the pageantry and rituals of being Scottish.
As a sidebar, I suspect the Highland Games in McPherson, KS are sponsored by the local hernia specialist.
In the game of gotcha that Maddie and I played with each other, I was always behind and trying to catch up.  Her ‘coup de grace’ for me was the time I took her to a Robert Burns banquet (famous Scottish poet) and she had me unknowingly try ‘haggis.’ I’ll not explain the ‘delicacy’ just in case you’re dining while you read this, but suffice it to say ‘she got me.’
Every place we went in our home town we’d hear, “Wow, you’re Mom is really something Marilyn.” Well, she was something. Trusting me with her daughter the past 41 years was top among my reasons to agree. Maddie, on the other hand, would have told you that very fact just showed a lack of sound judgment on her part.
But only if she thought I was within earshot.
Rest in peace my friend.
Maddie   1921~2012

Wednesday, January 02, 2013

Now I'm Worried

We've been going through some old family photos and found this picture of Marilyn and Santa. I have now ordered DNA Testing on my 3 kids. might have been the year Santa brought that new Crosby Prix de Nations english flat saddle to her as a gift.