Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Looking Forward, Looking Backward

My New Years resolution for 2014 was to have more adventures, and I'm pretty sure that I accomplished my goal!
January of 2014 started off mile for winter in Nebraska, and my year started off with a walk around the Sutherland Reservoir Wall and thinking about what the year would bring.

We managed some winter road trips through the beautiful Nebraska Sandhills, then my mom and I departed on an epic adventure, taking the California Zephyr Amtrak train to California to visit the new granddaughter. I highly recommend it if you have never done it!

The trip and my mom's pending 80th birthday got us thinking all things genealogy, and I began researching my family tree in time to make a genealogy book for my mom for her birthday. In doing so, I did the Ancestry DNA testing and found that I am nearly 1/4 Irish! That explains a lot!

Late winter and early spring brought Bald Eagle viewing, road trips across Nebraska, Sandhill Crane viewing and even some great craft beer sampling at a new brew pub in Ord. Hopefully there is a lot more of that in our future! Another trip with mom, this time to Idaho to visit another newly arrived granddaughter came around this time as well.

Summer always brings more "doing" and less "telling". We are busy having so much fun that it's hard to find the time to write about it! Our first year with an RV brought several great road trips. We got a taste of the Panhandle, central and northeastern Nebraska and south central Nebraska. We loved each of those trips and hope to do them again - but there are so many new places to explore!

Then there were weddings of family and friends!

Finally, the last part of 2014 was spent tilting at windmills. Lobbying against the KXL Pipeline - not only does the extraction of tar-sands oil threaten the environment, the particularly volatile oil brings increased dangers of contamination from unreliable pipelines, and there is no proof that allowing the KXL pipeline will have ANY effect on our dependence on foreign oil; Trying to get the Nebraska Public Power District to see the light and reroute the R-Project Powerline away from the fragile Nebraska Sandhills; Shaking my head that the Village of Sutherland is blocking the restoration of our historic Depot. Hopefully 2015 will bring more success and less frustration!

Though not as regularly as I would have liked, I managed to pass along some historical tidbits about Sutherland and the Nebraska Sandhills, which I hope to do more of in 2015.

I also moved toward becoming more fit in 2014. We found that on our travels it was nothing for us to walk several miles every day exploring where we were visiting. Since the RV got winterized, I have kept up with this, walking a couple of miles on the treadmill three to five days a week.

So what does 2015 hold? More adventure; another grand baby, which means another major trip; more consistent blogging; and continuing toward fitness. How's that for resolutions?

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Sunday Stories: Jim and Florence Flannigan

We received word on Saturday that Florence Flannigan, aged 101, passed away in Colorado. Here is the Flannigan story from the Sutherland Centennial book, and Florence's obituary. In continuing her lasting legacy to the Village of Sutherland, her family has suggested memorials to the Sutherland Depot Restoration Project.

James Edward and Florence Flannigan

James Edward Flannigan and Florence (Kunz) Flannigan were both born and raised in Stuart, Nebraska and graduated from high school in 1932. Jim went to Omaha to find work and Florence went to Casper, Wyoming. They were married in Omaha in 1937, where their first two daughters were born: Patricia and Judy.

In 1943 they moved to Sutherland where Jim accepted a position with Morman Mfg. Co. Two more daughters were born in the Sutherland Hospital: Michele and Jane. All four girls attended and graduated from Sutherland High School.

While Jim spent many hours as a salesman, Florence was busy at home with her family. She joined a bridge club in the 1950s and is still a member of this same club. She is a member of the Sacred Heart Altar Society and active in church affairs, having served in many offices. She was President of the Diocesan Council of Catholic Women for the North Platte Deanery. She also completed the Hospice Volunteer Training Program in North Platte and became a Hospice volunteer. She is a Canteen Chairman for the Red Cross Bloodmobile, volunteer at Bethesda Care Center, and serves on the election board.

Florence sums up 53 years of being a housewife as follows: “In your home you are the Director of Health, Education and Welfare; Secretary of the Treasury; the head of Entertainment and Public Relations; Chairman of the House Rules Committee; and the Chief Operating Officer of Family Planning… and you have to be married to a millionaire to be paid what you are really worth.”

Florence Flannigan Obituary

From the North Platte Telegraph.

Florence Flannigan, 101, of Aurora, Colo., formerly of Sutherland, passed away Dec. 20, 2014, in Colorado.

Florence was born Nov. 3, 1913, the sixth of 10 children, to Donat and Emma Pettinger Kunz at Stuart. Her family was important and Florence stayed close to them throughout her life. Every three years the family would meet for a reunion. It was not an event to miss.

Florence grew up in Stuart and attended St. Bonifice Elementary, then graduated from Stuart High School in 1932. On Sept. 7, 1937, Florence was united in marriage to her high school sweetheart, James Edward Flannigan, in Omaha. They moved to Sutherland in 1942 where Florence became a mother of four girls and the wife of a salesman. The Flannigans built their home during the war when it was difficult and next to impossible to get supplies for the building. They started out with two government granaries, then over the years and several additions later, it ended up being a lovely home and well lived in.

Florence was a true housewife, doing all the housewifely duties expected during the ’40s, ’50s and ’60s and then some. The freezer was always full, the pantry lined with canned tomatoes, beans and fruit, and the garden was big enough to share. To Florence, these were her happy years.

While Florence was busy at home with the family, Jim started Flannigan Chemical Co., which he operated until he retired in 1974. With Jim’s retirement and the girls going off to college, Florence’s life changed. They were now able to do some wintering in the South until the early ’80s when Jim’s health began to decline. After nearly 58 years of marriage, Jim passed away in 1995.

Florence was a member of Sacred Heart Catholic Church and the Altar Society. She was active in church affairs, having served in many offices and was president of the Diocesan Council of Catholic Women of the North Platte Deanery. Florence helped others through her volunteer work at Bethesda Care and as a Hospice volunteer. She was a Canteen chairman for the Red Cross Bloodmobile and served on the Sutherland election board.

Florence joined a bridge club in the 1950s and was a member for over 40 years. After playing bridge for years and years (until February 2011), Florence was really good at it. She and Jim also had a long-standing cribbage game and liked playing bridge with old friends. Florence was always agile and active; even into her 70s she could get up from a sitting position on the floor without using her hands.
Along with her husband, Jim, Florence was preceded in death by their daughter, Michele “Mike” Arnold; son-in-law, William Echternkamp; her parents, Donat and Emma Kunz; five brothers; and three sisters.

She is survived by her daughters, Patricia Echternkamp, of Seattle, Wash., Judy (Larry) Sheppard, of Denver, Colo., and Jane (William) Patnaude, of Elk Point, S.D.; son-in-law, Sanford “Sandy” Arnold, of Scottsdale, Ariz.; 12 grandchildren, Scott Echternkamp, Amy Hageage, Sarah Echternkamp, John Sheppard, Therese Sheppard, Todd (Monica) Sheppard, Megan Arnold (Michael) Wuertz, Dana (Amber) Arnold, Matthew (Mayme) Patnaude, Ryan (Karen) Patnaude, Sarah (Cannon) Gies and Jordan Patnaude; 14 great-grandchildren; her brother, Bert (Edi) Kunz, of Lincoln; and many nieces, nephews and other family.

Memorials are suggested to the Sutherland Historic Depot Restoration Project.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Weeks of Ups and Downs

What an incredible past few days this has been - filled with ups and downs, steps forward and steps backward.

On December 10th, the Board of Trustees, the governing body of the Village of Sutherland, allowed a motion to accept a $30,000 grant to restore our historic Sutherland Depot to fail for a lack of a second. While the outgoing Chairman of the Board gave them ample time to pursue the issue, the Board kept their eyes glued to their iPads, not even looking me in the face.

On Wednesday, the Sutherland Courier-Times came out with a front page story regarding the vote.

 Also in this issue of the Courier were three letters to the editor taking the Board of Trustees to task for their actions. I am encouraged by this, though one letter was from me, one from my brother (the outgoing Village Board of Trustees Chairman listed above), and one from my daughter living in California. It is to be hoped that the news story along with these letters will spur further discussion.

Also this past week, I received an actual letter in the mail (nearly unheard of in this day and age) from a former Sutherland resident now an educator living in Alaska, who will be home visiting for the summer and wants to volunteer his time helping to restore the Depot. I also received a Facebook message from the owner of a construction firm in North Platte who has ties to Sutherland, volunteering his time and expertise to help in the project. There have been many other expressions of encouragement and offers of help. Will they be enough to turn the tide? Time will tell.

And just this morning, in the most touching gesture of all, I received word that the family of a longtime Sutherland resident, Florence Flannigan, who passed away yesterday has named the Sutherland Depot Restoration Project as the recipient of her memorial funds. I will feature Florence Flannigan's story from the Sutherland Centennial Book in the "Sunday Story" on Sunday, December 28.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Sunday Stories: With His Throw Rope He May

My mother turned 80 in 2014 and my gift to her was creating a genealogy book. It got all of us talking about the past and going through old keepsakes. My mother found this poem, published on Thursday, February 13, 1975. I'm guessing it was in the North Platte Telegraph, but it could have been in the Sutherland Courier-Times.

Poem of Yesterday Awakens Old Memories

(The introduction reads) This poem was sent to me by Herman Fischer of Hastings, Nebraska, he had found the poem in Grandma Spear's scrapbook about 7 years ago and thought maybe some of the old Sandhillers would enjoy reading it. Some of the people still live in the west part of the county. Grandma Spear was 97 when she died. They lived in Laramie, Wyoming.


By Nels Fields, March, '36

In the Sandhills of Nebraska,
Where diamond rattlers grow,
There's the stream they call the Birdwood,
And its rippling waters flow.

Swiftly its winding channel,
To the stream they call the Platte.
'Tis the home of white face cattle,
Boot, spur and broad-rimmed hat.

Where you meet the jolly cowboy,
As he rides forth on his hoss.
And the stern faced ranch foreman,
Whom the cowboys call the boss.

The cowboys know their ponies,
And they know their cattle well.
For each critter wears its owner's brand,
That's how they all can tell.

Lew Cogger brands Bar Seven,
John Harshfield the Diamond.
You see the cattle carrying brands,
Every age and sex.

Some split the burlap,
While others mark the ear.
Fred Seifer merely puts
A plain "S" on the rear.

The Field boys have the Bow Tie brand,
They know just where they are.
They know Bill Dikeman's cattle,
When they see the Diamond Bar.

Nels Field has no cattle,
But he has a field of corn,
And if his old throw rope don't bust,
He'll have cattle before the morn.

Locals will recognize many names in this poem. My Grandfather is the Fred Seifer mentioned.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Sandhills Driveabout 12-06-14

The weather is going to close in on us sooner or later, so we knew we had to take advantage of the mild days for a few last driveabouts of 2014. We went North of Sutherland, through Tin Camp, then on up to Highway 97, across to the west to the road that goes past Diamond Bar lake, then down the Sarben road and home.
Just north of the Birdwood, we scared up a fine looking buck that has survived the 2014 hunting seasons so far. Only Black Powder and maybe Archery to go and he'll be home free!
You can see he thought it was a race for survival.
Just south of the Glen Echo cemetery on the Sarben road stands this abandoned homesteader's shack.
We get all the way back to town and see three deer in the field just east and a little north of our house. So much for driving far afield to spot wildlife.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Lincoln County Driveabout 12-13-14

 A creative farmer making motorists smile on the Paxton-Elsie road.
 More of the artwork.
 The graves of Fred and Otto Creek in the Lincoln County Frontier Cemetery. Aged 15 and 16, they died within five years of each other.
 Can you see me? Mulies in the grass.
 The grave of Annie Nordquist, died in 1899, aged 25 years.
 And next to Annie, the grave of Albin, son of Simon and Annie Nordquist, died in 1895, aged 8 weeks.
 Cliff swallow nests on a bridge over the NPPD canal west of the Sutherland Reservoir. In the background, Gerald Gentleman Power Station and a Union Pacific coal train.
The coal train on its siding.
A beautiful Platte River valley barn, between Paxton and Sutherland, Nebraska.