Saturday, August 12, 2006

Where I was born, Part III - - - Out in the Nebraska country

Picture 3114 -- click picture to enlarge


Here in the back again you can see the back yard. And the other back porch. Out there was Mom's washing machine, a wringer type Maytag. At first it had a gasoline engine, but in 1938 we got electricity and Dad changed it to electric.

Also out there was the shower. Until we got electricity, we hung a bucket of warm water with a hose on the bottom. After there was running water, we hooked the hose up to the faucet Mom used for washing when we showered.

There were curtains to pull when we were showering. I doubt if there was ever anyone out there to peek in (except us kids). There was a crawl in door beside the shower to go down to service the water pump. The water was pumped from a cistern in front of the house.

On top of the water system was a fairly large bathroom with a sink, tub, and lavatory. They were light blue, from Sears. We didn't look out there to see if the buggers had taken those fixtures. A closet for my clothes was also in the bathroom.

The roof on both these porches is metal, we called it tin. The porch with the shower was the emergency exit, out an upstairs window, then onto the roof. Dad had to use that when the snow was over the downstairs doors and windows. Then he would shovel us a path out the back door.

A cherry tree everyone called Jim's was beside the porch in the yard. Behind the porch is an old washhouse we used for storage. It was cute. Behind that are the chicken houses, then behind them is the outhouse.

Even after we had plumbing we were encouraged to use the outhouse and the porch shower to help not overrun the cesspool. Dad didn't like to clean that out, but it had to be done too often. I never helped with that.

Lois doesn't want to burn the house down, she was born there too. Dr. Luckens came out, I remember vividly. I was five. Then Grandpa came to take me for a ride. We took his stud horse for a conjugal visit or visits. We were in his pickup truck with his valuable stud horse in the back.

I always did like to go riding with Grandpa. He called me Little Jim. More about our relationship some other day.

Herman and Farm map -- click picture to enlarge
This is a Yahoo map of Herman--at the eastern edge--and Dad's farm--towards the western edge. About three miles by road is the New England [country] School where I went to high school. Remember I rode my horse, Minnie, to that school.
Tekamah, where Mom and Dad retired, is seven miles north of Herman. Crawford School, where my Dad attended high school for two years is north of the farm, at the # 27 box.

Grandpa's farm was just west of the "D" in Dad, Uncle Howards farm was at the "a" in Dad, Uncle Chester live one half mile to the west on Road B, and my Uncle Chester lived on a farm near Craig, Nebraska, about ten miles to the northwest.

Uncles, Grandpa, and Grandma

From left to right: My Dad, Uncle Lester, Uncle Howard, Grandma, Grandpa, Uncle Chester in 1940s photo taken at Grandpa's farm. The car was Dad's blue 1938 Ford Tudor Deluxe.

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Another reason to smile [IV]

I signed up for an exercise class and was told to wear loose-fitting clothing. If I HAD any loose-fitting clothing, I wouldn‘t have signed up in the first place!
[Courtessy of Les in Aug 2, 2006, e-mailing, there's more]

Friday, August 11, 2006

Where I was born, Part II - - - Out in the Nebraska country

Picture 3111 -- click picture to enlarge

This isn't too pleasant? Well, it never was as nice as my upstairs bedroom. Then trouble came with a four letter word. What you are seeing was to become my bedroom. What happened to cause a banishment like this!

A blessed event for most was the problem, my sister Lois--the four letter word--was born. She got my bedroom and I slept on this front porch, on that very couch you can see. I remember the day when it came from Sears. The couch would be upright in the day and open for my sleep at night.

Some days, especially on rainy nights with lots of lightening, being there was fun. I could see it all around, then wait for the thunder. The telephone lightening arrestor was on the wall towards the front. It would click right after the lightening crash, well before the booming thunder.

What about those cold winter nights? Dad and his carpenter cousin installed glass storm windows to go over the screens. That kept the wind out but didn't do much about the cold. There wasn't any heat out there. On very cold nights, often below zero, my blankets would be all frosty in the mornings, especially around my breathing places.

For a while when I was a teenager I would sleep walk. Mom was real worried, once she found me out in the barn, still asleep. Finally they figured out that if we hooked the inside hook, it might wake me up trying to unhook it. That worked and my sleepwalking stopped.

Then, as now, I sometimes had trouble sleeping. I can always read myself to sleep, faster than I want. My favorite read was Zane Grey. I had many of those, some publisher was doing a book reprint in a monthly periodical. Before the destruction you are seeing, Mrs. Jim and I looked for those but all were gone. They would be collector items now.

On the far left is that open door you could see from the back. The front of the porch has been knocked completely down. First the raccoons (Rocky?) tore in from the top, then a tree fell on that corner, and finally the buggers knocked it all down so they could steal the kitchen cupboards.

Finally, in the back with open door is one of the back porches. It contained the cream separator and the deep freezer and some closets. The open door is the back door that we used most of the time, even a lot of our company did too.

[Part I is below as yesterday's--Aug 10, 2006-- blog. There will be a final Part III tomorrow.]

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Another reason to smile [III]

A good friend will come and bail you out of jail...but, a true friend will be sitting next to you saying, "Wow...that was fun!"
[Courtessy of Les in Aug 2, 2006, e-mailing, there's more]

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Where I was born, Part I - - - Out in the Nebraska country

Picture 3113 -- click picture to enlarge
Out in country, it was in Burt County, Nebraska, seven miles northwest of Herman, in the hills.
What might should be a happy sight is a little sad to me. This is the house where I was born. It has fallen into neglect, no one has lived in it since my parents moved to town (Tekamah, Nebraska). That was around 1980.
I was born in the living room, the room behind Mrs. J. with the open door. Dr. Lukens from Tekamah came out to do the doctor part of delivery. Either Dad or Grandma was the assistant--the one with the hot water.
I lived in this four room house until I left for the University of Nebraska in 1951. Mom and Dad's bedroom was upstairs in the front, your right. Mine was the back, or the north bedroom. Downstairs to the left, under my room was the kitchen. It was one fourth of the house, the kitchen table was in there too.
Before we leave, look carefully through that open door, into the living room. Then on the other side of the living room, you can barely see the open front door of the house. Remember that.
Didn't we have a nice and a comfy little Three Bear House? But trouble was coming. [Part II and Part III of this blog are coming soon.]

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Old Buildings on Our Farm - - - Mom's Cat House - - - Dad's Pig Shed - - - Mom's Chicken House

Link to all the "Old Buildings on Our Farm"

Mom's cat house

My mom always had a lot of half-way stray cats. A few would let us pet them or come to the milking barn for a fresh teat treat.

She had this special cat house at the edge of the grove. The cats would get fed out there and at our back door.

None ever got shots or the like. They seemed to be pretty tough though, most lived to run off or get killed by a wild animal or the neighboring Toms.

[click on pictures for full size]

The old pig shed .

At one time this pig shed of Dad's was in the corral. Now the corral is cultivated to become an excellent corn field.

The small door on the left got mainly used by the pigs, but Dad and I went in many a time to help a pig out of some trouble, or to mark their ears so we could tell them from the neighbors if they got mingled.

Dad usually raised about 120 hogs from pigs. He would pick ten to fourteen to become mother pigs and another cycle would begin.

Those others went to the slaughter house. We generally butchered a couple for family eating. Remember, the Jim Bunch eats good.

. Original farm house,
it was a chicken house
ever since I new (70+ years)

Mom raised the laying hens and handled the egg marketing. Again we raised from babies, chicks this time. She always got unsexed chicks. Most of the roosters would get sold for fryers, we would eat about sixty. That is one for each Sunday and a few more for company or the threshing crew.

She would wash every egg with vinegar. Like me, she was a night owl and would start this task around midnight. A lot of times Lois and Dad would have had several hours of sleep before Mom and I went to bed.


1. On our farm, the cattle, cows, hogs, and chickens ate the grain and hay grown on the farm. The oat straw was used for bedding. Most times there would be more profit, not counting family labor, from raising and marketing the animals, eggs, and cream.

2. All of the farm buildings were kept in good paint. The cat house and hen house were red, the hog house was black. There is still some of that paint showing after twenty-five years of non-use.

3. Unsexed chickens meant buying a mixture of male and female chicks. The mixture generally was around fifty-fifty. It figures.

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Another reason to smile

I saw a woman wearing a sweat shirt with "Guess" on it.
So I said "Implants?"
She hit me.

[Courtessy of Les in Aug 2, 2006, e-mailing, there's more]

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

The End of Summer '06

This is back to school week a lot of places. GC#4 here spent a week here with us this summer. In the picture she is on her way to Bentwater Kid Kamp. Lots of games and water play for all was to be had. There even was a boat and a drag rubber raft!

Last night we picked GC#4, Billy, and Karen up from the airport--we had been keeping Karen's Prius (link).


They all had been to Paris for eight days! I'm sure we can get some pictures here from that real soon. I was privileged to preview them last night at Papasitas. When people get back to the U.S. they like to hit their favorite food spot, theirs was here for Mexican food.


For GC#4 it was the finale of a great summer. The biggie in Paris for GC#4 might have been Paris Disney. I will ask her.

All of the girl grandchildren are going back to school this fall. Jenna (GC#3) and her Dad (Tim), and I spent a day last month at my alma mater, The University of Houston (go Cougars!). We even got Jenna's picture ID made that day and found all of her classrooms. I'm hoping to go to a couple of football games with her. Shasta, the Cougar, will be there. (U/H football)

Jenna will be a second semester freshman at U/H. She was fortunate to be able to do concurrent enrollment--high school and college--for her last year; and she took a summer class at another of my other alma maters and former employer, San Jacinto College (go Ravens!--you know them from basketball, Sam Cassell and Steve Francis, and baseball, Roger Clemens and Andy Petit).

Megan (GC#2) will be home next week from Peoria, Illinois, where she is finishing a summer internship at Caterpillar Co. Then she will return to the University of Texas in Austin.

She is on a five-year business/accounting program and should be getting a Masters degree then. Megan is way ahead of schedule also because of summer classes and high school concurrent enrollment.

Man married at least 7 times gets 15-year sentence -- too many wives will get you in trouble! Man married at least 7 times gets 15-year sentence Read it!

This 30-year old fellow had a busy life for a while.

"With one of his ex-wives wearing a T-shirt that read "I Play Dirty," Eric Eugene Cooper pleaded guilty late this morning and was sentenced to 15 years in prison."

His crime of record was tampering with a government document, a car title belonging to one of his wives.
If you have a lot of wives, don't mess with government documents. His former conviction was for bigamy, no prison for that.

Is this a reason to smile?

How come we choose from just two people to run for president and over fifty for Miss America?

[Courtessy of Les in Aug 2, 2006, e-mailing, there's more]

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

I left my . . .


heart in Iowa, no, it wasn't my heart, it was my shoes. But these shoes weren't left in Iowa.

I left my Sunday go-to-meeting black shoes in Lois' guest room closet. Three of us, Mrs. Jim, my sister, Lois, and I all looked in that closet for things lost. I had them each in a plastic (paper or plastic?) grocery bag, down on the floor. They were in there because it was apparent that after our arrival Sunday afternoon, there wouldn't be any meetings for us to attend.

I am a four-car owner and a two-pair-shoe person. Now I'm down to one and an old pair of black ones.

The white tennies here have done me well, I've had these Reboks for at least four years now. You can see how the tread is wearing off the bottom. They are my faves.

For one thing, my doctor-ordered generic arch supports fit in them very nicely.

Also in their favor is all the places they have been, with me wearing them. They have been to Spain, Paris and a lot more of France from one end to the other-two times, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Lichenburg, Italy, and Alaska. They have been to New York City and Vancouver, then all through the Southern and Midwestern states.

When I retire them, I may just put them on the shelf beside the pair I wore to the Holy Land. Those shoes crossed Jesus' path many a time!

Sunday, August 06, 2006

"Everything is bigger in Texas"

Cousins from Nebraska standing by Sam Houston
The statue of Sam Houston is alongside Interstate 45, coming into Houston from Huntsville, Texas. It stands 77 feet tall. The 67-ft. tall (plus 10-ft. base) statue is named "A Tribute to Courage."
You can read all about this large Sam Houston monument at Jack and Linda were amazed. Long before they were leaving Texas, they too were saying, "everything is bigger in Texas."
A double take is in order for your first viewing; coming around the bend expect a "did I just see what I thought I saw" confrontation. Come visit us and we'll take you there too!

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Adi has these three trees, Jonah had only one tree (with a vine for a while)

"Someone's been sleeping in my bed," exclaimed Baby bear.
Adi's tree here is almost like a vine, it is an elephant ear plant.


"Someone's been sleeping in my bed too," hollered Moma bear.

This is a hedge apple [or horse apple] tree at the end of our side street on hole number 10, the green is behind those trees.



"Someone's been sleeping in my bed,

and she's still there!" growled Daddy bear


This tree for Adi is a large pecan halfway down the hill on our street. The pecans aren't very good this year, it has been too dry for them to fill.



Jonah awaits the fate of Nineveh (Engraving)

by MERIAN, Matthaeus the Elder 1625-30

. . .

I don't know too much about this tree and vine. In fact, this from Jonah 4 is all I do know:

Jonah 4:5 Jonah went out and sat down at a place east of the city. There he made himself a shelter, sat in its shade and waited to see what would happen to the city. 6 Then the LORD God provided a vine and made it grow up over Jonah to give shade for his head to ease his discomfort, and Jonah was very happy about the vine. 7 But at dawn the next day God provided a worm, which chewed the vine so that it withered. 8 When the sun rose, God provided a scorching east wind, and the sun blazed on Jonah's head so that he grew faint. He wanted to die, and said, "It would be better for me to die than to live."
9 But God said to Jonah, "Do you have a right to be angry about the vine?" "I do," he said. "I am angry enough to die."
10 But the LORD said, "You have been concerned about this vine, though you did not tend it or make it grow. It sprang up overnight and died overnight. 11 But Nineveh has more than a hundred and twenty thousand people who cannot tell their right hand from their left, and many cattle as well. Should I not be concerned about that great city?"

. . .

That verse 11 is how the Bible book, Jonah ends, just those four chapters. For the entire book, all four chapters, click here.

I think there is a lesson in there for me someplace, maybe quite a few. The ending sounds like the Little Red Hen story (words). And of course those people still don't know their right hand from their left. We are trying to teach them now.

You can read again how Jonah didn't want to obey God and go warn these people of Nineveh, how God had a big fish take him there, and how here under the tree, Jonah was still a sorry old person.


1. Nineveh was on the eastern bank of the Tigris in modern-day Mosul, Iraq. (Wikipedia)

2. It was Baby bear who found Adi (Goldilocks) sleeping in Baby bear's bed. (go here for this whole story)

3. The Little Red Hen couldn't get anybody to help her grow the grain and to make the bread, she did it all by herself. So then she sure didn't need help from those ungrateful people to help her eat the bread, she ate it all herself. (go here for this whole story)

4. When I was in the Army, I was one of the guys who had to, by the sergeant's order, carry a rock in my right hand during marching drill.

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