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Monday, Dec. 22, 2014
A life well-lived (12/16/14)
Read the news or watch it on TV and one can become disillusioned with our world today. We have a lame duck congress trying to spend us into the poor house. We have a President intent on making our borders porous and eager to grant amnesty to illegal immigrants all in hope of creating more voters for his socialist agenda. ...
Lame duck (12/10/14)
Well finally the mid-term election is over. Mary Landrieu went down in flames so now she can live in peace at her multi-million dollar home in Washington D.C. No more having to check in at the Senate for instruction by President Obama to see how to vote for the good of her long ignored Louisiana constituents...
The beach and a Volt (12/02/14)
California and an interesting adventure last week. I was able to drive my son's new Chevy Volt. The Volt an all-electric car with a small gas burning engine and generator on board. Yes the much ballyhooed Chevy Volt. When you walk up to the shiny black auto it looks like most of the 2014 models on the streets today. ...
Our most generous district (11/25/14)
All in, all out. One hundred fifty large flat rate Christmas boxes sent to Grannie Annie's adopted Chaplains. I am humbled with the outpouring of items and treasure donated by individuals and organizations in this community. It may be a good time to mention that Adopt-a-Chaplain is recognized by the Internal Revenue Service as a tax-exempt non-profit 501c(3)...
Our eyesore (11/18/14)
Allow me to share a phone call from a concerned lady. She was somewhat upset at the sale, in progress, of city property both the price tendered and the possible future use of the partial residential lot. I share her concern in part. The small piece of presently unused and bare property is located between the new concrete parking lot of the public library and the residence just to the north. ...
1100-11-11 (11/11/14)
First a personal note. I loved the results of last week's election. Evidently my sister, the one of liberal persuasion, not so much. She seems to be blaming marital strife, over-(house) work, all sorts of things that are a temporary crisis in her life on anything except admitting to the sound trouncing of her beloved Democrat Party. Tickles me and I still love the lady. Even my fellow columnist, Mike Hendricks, seems to be leaning toward a more conservative outlook on life. Savor the moment...
King Air (11/04/14)
Sadly this week, for a few short moments between speculation of the upcoming mid-term elections on TV, we saw pictures of an airplane crash in Wichita. The pilot of the King Air airplane and three others on the ground were reported killed. The TV pictured a great column of black smoke coming from what appeared to be a large warehouse looking building not far from the runway. Back to speculation on the election...
Vote wisely (10/28/14)
Next week we vote in the mid-term election cycle. I'd like to tell you whom to vote for but that would be against the editorial policy of this paper and most likely you wouldn't take my advice anyhow. Therefore your columnist will offer some suggestions that might help in choosing where to place your "X" on the ballot...
Junkyard Kid (10/21/14)
Grannie Annie has been on my case this week for being a little hard on politicians in this column as of late. It is hard to resist, this being election season when the airways are filled with incumbents trying to defend a record of poor judgment, and hopefuls making promises that we know won't be remembered. Oops!...
Of this and that (10/17/14)
Received a little insight into the ongoing, so-called Ebola crisis and our President Obama. Remember one of the first things he did after becoming president was to wage a big liberal campaign against "big pharma," the large U.S. drug manufacturing companies...
Fifty years and counting (10/07/14)
A wise man said that "You can't go back" and he was right because things change. Change they did because we did go back and in the 49 years since we last left Cape Cod, it was a little hard to recognize our old haunts. Some 50+ years ago Uncle Sam saw fit to assign Grannie and me plus one baby to duty at Otis AFB on Cape Cod. ...
Include and integrate (09/30/14)
What do we stand for? What is the essence of what we Americans really believe is the true red white and blue? In an attempt to get a well rounded understanding of current world events this old guy looks to several sources. Traditionally it has been the printed word that I turned to for well rounded reporting. ...
To swear or not to swear (09/23/14)
This week I was sorely disappointed in my brothers in arms, the U.S. Air Force. Actually it was some lawyer in the Department of Defense that made a politically correct judgment. "The resulting opinion concluded that an individual may strike or omit the words 'So help me God' from an enlistment or appointment oath if preferred." Tradition be damned!...
Our newest second lieutenant (09/16/14)
Meet Second Lieutenant Asher Brooks United States Air Force one of McCook's finest. As your columnist alluded in last week's column Grannie Annie and I were privileged to travel to Maxwell AFB, Alabama to "swear him in" or more properly to administer the oath of office and commit him to commissioned officer duty in the Nebraska Air National Guard and the US Air Force. ...
Enjoying a slice of the South (09/09/14)
Cajun Cuisine Yep that is what the ad on Grannie's iPad read! Cruising southbound on I-55 just north of Cape Girardeau, Missouri the clock said it was time for supper (that is rural Nebraskaneze for "dinner" the more sophisticated appalachian for the evening meal). ...
Something for nothing (09/02/14)
It has been interesting to follow the trials of the residents in Calabria. The residents' concern appears to be the upkeep of the streets leading to their homes within the City-of-McCook-approved subdivision. Their plight points to a flaw in the way we do local government. ...
An idyllic Sunday afternoon (08/26/14)
It was the usual. Church this morning and a nap after lunch. Mid-afternoon it seemed a good idea to take Grannie Annie to an ice-cream spot just enjoy a "date" together. It was time to head back to the home office to pay and send bills, write a column, help organize an upcoming class reunion--you know the mundane tasks which each of fills our lives...
Heritage (08/19/14)
Recently your columnist lost a childhood playmate and lifelong friend. His name was Gary Mills. Our families farmed in the Stone Church neighborhood a definitely rural area some 15 miles south of Culbertson, Nebraska. As is my sometimes practice, I wrote a letter of my memories of the deceased to his family. Gary's daughter-in law Michelle Lytle responded with a pleased thank you and urged a future column to include those memories...
Three old guys (08/12/14)
It was a reunion of sorts. Three old guys talking about some of their adventures in Vietnam. Two were helicopter pilots, Chuck Trail with the Navy and Jim O'Dell Air Force, the third was your author Dick Trail, KC-135 tanker pilot extraordinaire, at least in my own mind...
Decline of Christianity (08/05/14)
"How can you have church in a school?" was Ray's comment. Good question in today's more politically correct America but it wasn't always that way. Small rural communities throughout our western area came together to first build school buildings which were multi-purposed as church meeting places until a more religious structure could be built by the small congregations. ...
Complex and Pathos (07/29/14)
This past week your columnist was privileged to fly two trips to Denver. (Note for those not interested in aviation--good stuff at the end!) Now I'm talking about flying into DIA, that is Denver International Airport, the big one. For a pilot, that is the big time, treading where only the pros normally go. Actually it is pretty smooth event for one who is adequately prepared...
Helping out locally (07/22/14)
File this under "No good deed goes unpunished"! When Grannie retired from work, for pay, several years ago she migrated to a local thrift store, known as "The Helping Hand" to contribute hours upon hours of volunteer labor. Weekly she joins with some 60 other good Samaritans to contribute an hour or many more to make the store a success. Volunteer meaning no pay for constructive labor but a huge reward for good deeds done for the good of this community...
Thirst for tax money (07/15/14)
This columnist has noted that the McCook City Council is in the throes of putting a campaign to get the voters to reauthorize the City's sales tax. Like all taxes, our city sales tax is beloved by those who spend the proceeds. Not so much loved by those of us that get to pay, no choice, that self-same onerous tax. ...
Annex (07/08/14)
Last week a group of residents gathered with the Red Willow County Board of Commissioners to complain. Their beef had to do with the County not tending to the roads in the Calabria subdivision located a mile of so outside the McCook City Limits. Just a reminder that "all politics is local." The County Board reluctantly agreed to do better...
Essence a concept (07/01/14)
Recently I attended a presentation by the Superintendent of the Air Force Academy. She spoke of budget matters in this era of austere military spending. What she had her staff do was sit down and distill what the essence of the Academy really is -- what is their purpose in being...
The Astronaut (06/24/14)
"Karol there is a something that I've been longing to ask. How in the world do you get used to weightlessness? Personally I don't much care for the feeling of weightlessly floating from my seat when I push the nose over in the small general aviation aircraft that I now fly. ...
A busman's holiday (06/17/14)
Busman's holiday: According to the Wiktionary, first recorded in 1893 in the UK. The idea is that a busman, to go off on a holiday, would take an excursion by bus, thereby engaging in a similar activity to his work. Yes I did that very thing last week. ...
A real soldier's story (06/10/14)
With all the hype on TV of our Commander in Chief's trade of five really bad guys for an army deserter it may be time to share a good news story. In my 25 years of duty in the Air Force I never personally knew of a person to desert, or even go AWOL, of their own volition. ...
Graduation ... and millers (06/03/14)
From 8 and 10 to 584 were the numbers of High School Seniors that Grannie and I watched graduate this spring. The ceremonies were about equal in length but quite different in presentation. Yes, the graduates in the smaller schools received much more individual attention, but each in the large student body were appropriately announced and congratulated. Each ceremony was appropriate to the occasion with proud parents and well-wishers supporting the cast...
McCook Air (05/27/14)
" ... stuck in the hinterland." So states fellow columnist and friend Mike Hendricks. Oh woe is we when we lose our sporadic-of-service airline that has so poorly serviced this community since the first of the year. And the future is dim because our own Sen. ...
Wholesome foods and more (05/20/14)
If you like the news about the VA stalling appointments for veterans' medical help you are really going to like the Obamacare service. Incidentally one of the whistleblowers at the Denver and Cheyenne offices hails from McCook. Brave lady! And now for the rest of the story. ...
My hero (05/13/14)
The sad news is that another of the Greatest Generation has passed. The good news is that he was a good and honorable man. Merle Teel was one of my Grannie Annie's very favorite uncles. Allow me to share some recollections of his proud past. When World War II started Merle had graduated from the High School in Curtis with a certificate to teach grade school. ...
The graduates (05/06/14)
Ah ha, another item checked off the bucket list. Your humble correspondent had the privilege Sunday of delivering the commencement address to the Northern Valley High School graduating senior class. Yepm, that was in the nearby community of Almena, Kansas...
Super sport, high school rodeo (04/29/14)
Licenses in the parking lot reflected counties from all over Nebraska plus Kansas, Colorado, Texas and South Dakota. I noted a few: 14, 36, 61, 75, 65, 87, 81, 64, 93 ROP N TY, 83, 48, 80, 4, 15, 60, 67, and even our own 48. It was the Southwest Nebraska High School Rodeo located on the Red Willow County Fairgrounds, first off for the spring season...
Cold War coming (04/22/14)
Mother Nature smiled her blessings over the small crown agathering on the ridge top. The sun peeked over the horizon tinting the cirrus clouds above a happy golden color. Easter morning and a most memorable Sunrise Service overlooking the calm waters of Swanson Reservoir. The son has risen. All is well in the small world immediately around us. Just another reminder how great it is to be alive here in Southwest Nebraska...
To vote (04/15/14)
Great News!!!! Grannie Annie's Adopt-A-Chaplain organization was pleased to report that there were Zero casualties in March 2014 -- No ramp ceremonies held for warriors who died in combat for first time in a decade!!!! Yes casualty free for the first time since June 2007...
Two legends almost gone (04/08/14)
Drive north out of McCook about five miles. Look to the West and you can see the bleaching bones of the remaining hangars from the World War II McCook Air Base. In 1944, the base was dynamic, full of life, training crews to fly the then-brand-new B-29...
The wonders of subsidized air (03/25/14)
Your humble columnist had the pleasure of attending a couple of recent meetings with our U.S. Representative to Congress, the Honorable Adrian Smith. The called meeting was for members of McCook City Council and members of the Airport Advisory Board. Hmm that is the McCook Ben Nelson Regional Airport to be proper...
Bad news comes in threes (03/18/14)
There are three major items taking place in our world today. First on the news is the search for the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370. Then comes the Russian takeover of the Crimean Peninsula with the possibility of even more invasion of Ukrainian territory. The third? Well I am reminded President Obama's right hand man David Axelrod stating that this administration never intends to "Let a good crisis go to waste"...
Thoughts on retirement, and how to avoid it (03/11/14)
Mr. "Mike at Night" Hendricks had some good thoughts in a recent column Mike was concerned for a retirement crisis where most people would run out of funds before their lives ran out. Could be but my question is why would they quit work in the first place? Like I tell people in my own case, I have retired five times and it has not "taken" yet...
Turmoil and hope (03/04/14)
The news from Kiev is unsettling. Our administration's response is sad. But then Grannie and I watched a rite of passage that was positively uplifting. The TV news is full of the turmoil in the Ukraine. Putin's Russia is attempting to pull the Ukraine into his abuilding sphere now named the Eurasian Union. ...
Road trip (02/25/14)
"Big snow coming!" exclaimed the lady on TV. Confirmed it with aviation weather sources. It was time to skedaddle out of McCook the night before the storm and head for Omaha. A chance to cheer for grandson T.J. at the State High School Wrestling Meet. He did well by winning one and losing two matches. It has been his senior year long goal to go to State as he did in his sophomore year. We grandparents are so proud that he made it there, injured shoulder and all...
Time to change (02/18/14)
Recently your humble correspondent sent a letter to the editor suggesting that the McCook City Council hire someone local for our next city manager. Some pretty interesting comments came back explaining that hiring local would be a BAD idea. For instance the current Mayor, the honorable Dennis Berry, candidate for Nebraska Senator, opined that "The process is open to anyone to apply. ...
Cyber (02/11/14)
A couple of years ago Grannie and I attended graduation at the Air Force Academy. Those events get our patriotic blood flowing even though the speaker at this one was President Obama. I noted that a fair portion of the Grads had selected assignment to what was referred to as "cyber."...
Loving the night (02/04/14)
Some things in life are just too good not to share. One of those rolled by me last week when a longtime great friend asked me to fly to Plano, Texas. There might have been a bit of confusion because he chose Major's Field near Greenville to meet a business party...
Pin for a medal (01/28/14)
Big High School Wrestling Tournament in Lexington last Saturday. Grannie and I attended to watch our grandson from Omaha's Millard West perform. Major tournament with teams from large schools in Lincoln and Omaha to schools as far west as Imperial and Scott City, Kansas including the McCook Bison...
Raise those gas taxes (01/21/14)
Purchased gasoline for your automobile lately? Yikes, $3.27 for regular, that is the good stuff with 10 percent ethanol added. It is more for premium grades. Yikes before long we will be paying California prices. If there is any comfort in it, aviation fuel averages around $6 per gallon at the moment...
Sea of ignorance (01/14/14)
And the Leader said: "We stretch our hands over the sea of ignorance." We the people of the congregation responded: "Divide it and walk with us on the ground of unity." Our connectional church is celebrating combining our former Nebraska Conference with what used to be the Kansas Conference. ...
How our federal tax dollars are spent (01/07/14)
We walked into the long-term care home to visit friend Diane a victim of Alzheimer's disease. Sad case only compassion comes to mind. On the way to the door, we noted a half-dozen men working on the roof. Jimmy noted they were installing solar panels to produce electricity. ...
My redneck liberal friend (12/31/13)
Grannie Annie and I are back visiting the land of the "fruits and nuts" spending some time with our friend Jimmy the Democrat. Actually Jim the former department head of Industrial Arts at Merced College here in California and I are working on my son's 1941 Mercury Club Coupe "hotrod project."...
Sharing our special family celebration (12/24/13)
Tomorrow we celebrate the birth of Christ. Christmas it is for Christians a happy time a time of expectation a time to build family memories. Attempting to mine my own memory of the earliest Christmas experienced I was led to the old Stone Church. Extant today it sits alongside Highway 17 some 15 miles south of Culbertson. ...
On to Avenger heaven (12/17/13)
Your humble columnist walked into the Bank President's office and took a seat. His open door policy was in effect, as always, and the Bank President gave his usual eye twinkling greeting. "Pete I have just returned from the Offutt (AFB, Omaha, Nebraska) Open House and Airshow. ...
Political advice (12/10/13)
The email read in part: "...because you have a keen insight into life here in southwest Nebraska....I would like to come and sit down with you ...to talk about what you feel a state senator needs to know about McCook and the 44th district in order to be an effective representative for us in Lincoln."...
Halfway across the continent (12/03/13)
A friend on the phone asked "Would you fly an airplane back from California if I buy it?" My response "Where in California is it and when do you want it delivered?" The retort on the other end went something like "Usually a person wants to know what kind of an airplane?"...
The state of aviation (11/26/13)
You may have noticed in the media that the airlines may be experiencing a pilot shortage. Could be, and it was predictable. Recently the FAA changed the rules to make the traveling public "safer." Never mind that travel by commercial air has been the safest mode of travel in the history of mankind. The rule change came partially from the investigation following the crash of a Colgan Airways airplane arriving into Cleveland. The loss of life was unfortunate and sad...
The fix is in (11/19/13)
In case you missed it, McCook's very own Ben Nelson was on TV this past Sunday. I'm sorry, The Honorable former Sen. Ben Nelson, (D) Nebraska, now CEO of the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, to more properly use his new $1 Mil a year job title...
OUR troops (11/12/13)
Veterans Day was yesterday. In preparation for a little talk celebrating the day, I scoured the Internet for opinions and ideas. A column by Paul Greenberg struck my fancy as it was almost a scold of our daily lives. I'd like to share. Writer Greenberg writes that "We don't spend much time examining the underpinnings on which our lives rest. ...
Honor and light (11/05/13)
My beloved alma mater, the Air Force Academy, received unwanted attention from the national news media this past week. The headlines read something like "Academy Makes God Reference in Honor Oath Optional." There is a proud history of the honor code at the school and your columnist lived it...
Our senators (10/29/13)
Oh my. Woe is me. The news is grim. Republicans are being blamed for the government shutdown. Poll results show the public opinion of the Grand Old Party to be at or near historic lows. If that rabid Sen. Cruz, Republican from Texas, had just gone along to get along, everything would have been better. It is the bad influence of that deviant off-shoot that call themselves the Tea Party. So seems to go the thinking of the elite in Congress and most of the news pundits...
A history lesson (10/22/13)
Sometimes the old isn't so new. Several thousand years ago a non-native administrator named Joseph set up a system to prevent famine in Egypt. Joseph's plan was to build large granaries throughout the land and then nationalize all grain production. The crops were delivered to Pharaoh to be stored in his granaries. ...
A day of protest -- NOT! (10/15/13)
Sunday was to be a day of protest for United States military veterans. And protest they did in Washington D.C. the site of maximum frustration as of late. Protest and clean up was the mantra as the National Park Service is on paid vacation except to hassle the common folk. Closing an open air monument is ridiculous but not paying death benefits to war casualties is downright criminal. Worse than criminal! Where was Sec. Def. Chuck Hagel who surely knows better? He isn't making Nebraska proud!...
Affordable care largess (10/08/13)
Health care. The "Affordable Care Act." "Obamacare." Whatever you call it seems at the moment to be a mess. I've no clue how it will all turn out but fear we won't like the end result one way or the other. For one the healthcare aspect of the whole rhubarb is a misnomer. The Affordable Care Act has more to do with health insurance than anything to do with healthcare itself...
Giving back (10/01/13)
A wise friend and philosopher E.K. Woolley once imparted a bit of wisdom that has stuck with me over the years. E.K. related that a community invests in its youth by paying for education and creating a safe place to grow up and mature. Then for the rest of one's productive life it is time to give back to your community. It is each person's responsibility to pay for the education of the succeeding generations and to contribute to making his community a safe and nurturing place to live...
Dodging responsibility (09/24/13)
A tip of the hat to Al White, who died this week. Al was one of the few GI's left who passed through the McCook Army Air Base during World War II and returned to stay. Al crewed B-29s here and also found the love of his life a local girl, Dorothy Stewart. ...
A rant, and a good one (09/17/13)
This old career military officer is mighty frustrated with the daily news of President Obama's administration. Iraq descending into chaos from secular in-fighting. The news from Afghanistan is not hopeful and we are about to leave after telling the dissonants our projected departure date. ...
A Hun Jock (09/10/13)
I think that it was Baxter Black who wrote of things worth keeping. He mentioned aging parents, dogs with failing hips and a few other things that I agree with but can't remember. Whoever that sentimental author may have been he did however leave out one important thing that stirs the hearts of old pilots. That being favorite airplanes that we once flew but are no longer operational...
Ball lightning (09/03/13)
It was a race and I wasn't 100 percent sure that we were going to win. The speed contest was between a thunderstorm, a rather large one, and our steed of the evening, a super nice twin-engine aircraft. The McCook Airport the goal. We won but not by much. Incidentally it was the same thunderstorm that disrupted and delayed the Bison football game...
A marriage penalty (08/27/13)
I recently chatted with a young fellow working at a nearby airport. He shared a perplexing problem. Seems that he and girlfriend in the modern vogue live together. He was excited to announce that she is now pregnant. My comment, old fogey that I am in such matters, suggested that marriage be in order. ...
Full steam ahead (08/20/13)
Most readers will know that Grannie Annie, with generous help from this area, has been sending "care packages" to "her" soldiers fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan. She works through the ministry called Adopt-A-Chaplain and sends copious numbers of flat rate postal packages filled with items not readily accessible to the fighting men in the field...
Getting a pasty fix (08/13/13)
It has been some 35 years ago that for the first time we crested the ridge to behold a panoramic view of the south shore of mighty Lake Superior. Spread before us was the town of Marquette, Michigan, about the size of North Platte. On the outskirts of the city, the sign announced "Visitor Center." Uncle Sam had assigned us to stay an indeterminate number of years at nearby K.I. Sawyer AFB. So it was that we pulled in to learn the flavor of the place from a friendly Chamber of Commerce...
Gitche Gumee (08/06/13)
Greetings from the shores of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's "Gitche Gumee the shining Big-Sea-Water." Somehow writing those lines while at the moment we are camping on the southern shore of Lake Superior just doesn't have the poetic ring of Longfellow's "Song of Hiawatha." Our location may be the exact spot envisioned by the poet. Indeed it is a beautiful place...
First impressions (07/30/13)
As I write on Monday afternoon the temperature is a perfect 75 degrees, the sky is blue and there is a gentle zephyr out of the East. Grannie Annie is sitting in an easy chair in shade under the awning. The sounds and smoke trails in the sky a mile or so to the east of our camper hint at the afternoon airshow in progress...
Vagabonds (07/23/13)
"Oh to have been born with a silver spoon in my mouth!" It was an expression that my mother used to express a little envy of people in better inherited financial circumstance. They were thought to be living a life she perceived as "luxury." I'm reminded of the expression each time I read the weekly blog of friends who are currently touring the perimeter of the United States. ...
Kraut burgers? (07/17/13)
Erick Erickson Editor of Red State Morning Briefing and radio talk show host, recently said it best, "There is more to life than politics!" Grannie Annie at our house agrees so when she gets filled to the gag response level, she mans the clicker and switches TV to the food channel...
Taxes going up? There's more to the story (07/09/13)
It is an oft repeated tale of woe! "They are raising the valuation of my house by 25 percent and now my taxes will go up!" complains the working man home owner. They being the ubiquitous "they" and this time he is blaming the Red Willow County assessor...
Sixty years and counting (07/02/13)
How in the world do they do it? If you live in Southwestern Nebraska one can almost daily pick up the newspaper and find an announcement for a celebration for 25, 40 and the big one, 50 years of married life. On occasion it will speak of 60 years married and rarely 75 years. How in the world do people stay married, one man one woman for all those many years?...
Commencement redacted (06/25/13)
I must have received this email titled "Air Force Academy Commencement 2013" at least a dozen times. Usually I attempted to correct the record based on my own experience. The account off the iIternet invariably goes like this: Friday, May 31, 2013 Good friends of ours from here in Elizabethtown, Kentucky, just got back home from a visit to the Air Force Academy, in Colorado Springs where they attended the commencement exercises of the graduating class of 2013...
Fields of green (06/18/13)
Oh, yes, I like the color green. Green fields of wheat, corn and soybeans a-coming. Green native grass pastures in the rougher terrain hills and canyons. Trees in full leaf along the rivers and streams. It is particularly beautiful here in Southwest Nebraska this late spring. I suggest that the reader go on a drive into the countryside to soak it all in because for sure it won't last...
He came, he saw, he conquered (06/11/13)
Yes, conquered the hearts of our congregation. Four years ago it was that Grannie Annie, her congregation and this southwestern Nebraska community sent a hundred plus flat-rate postal boxes to his soldiers in a far away world. Chaplain Vineyard Sunday presented pictures of his year long tour in Afghanistan and expressed thanks on behalf of "his" warriors...
A giant who walks the Earth (06/04/13)
Back in the dark ages when I attended the new Air Force Academy Chapel attendance was mandatory for all cadets. There was a Catholic Priest and a Protestant Chaplain but no Mormon minister, Rabbi or Imam. We had no cadets of Muslim belief and students of Jewish faith attended protestant services along with the rest of us. ...
The lost is found (05/28/13)
Last week I wrote of the tornado devastation in Moore, Oklahoma. No I haven't heard whether our old house (Grannie Annie made it a home!) was destroyed. I didn't want to bother anyone near or far to check on it as they have more important things to do at the moment...
Back to Moore? (05/21/13)
During my career, the Air Force saw fit to move my family numerous times. Pausing for a time on the East Coast, West Coast, Northern and Southern Borders and three times living in Oklahoma, we got a feel for the country. Each place has points to recommend but our favorite spot turned out to be Oklahoma. There we would have settled upon retirement except for the siren call of home, family and farm back here in Nebraska...
Emily's family (05/14/13)
This is an all-American story. Well it is the way life used to be and can/should be again. Last week Emily graduated from McCook Community College receiving an associate's degree in graphic design. Her whole family came to celebrate, aunts, uncles, both sets of grandparents (still alive and still married to their original spouses) plus all her siblings and cousins, an even dozen no less and all younger. ...
Graduation (05/07/13)
The cranes are gone and the grass is green. The drive to Omaha was delightful. Not withstanding our most recent snowfall, spring may finally have sprung. Grannie Annie and I proudly went to watch our eldest grandchild, Monique Ann Monzon, graduate from college. ...
Another item off the bucket list (04/30/13)
Returning to Nebraska from our Air Force career some years ago, Grannie Annie placed an item on our bucket list. That goal was to drive all the numbered highways in Nebraska. No hurry to complete, just take the back roads when time and destination permits...
Best seat in the house (04/23/13)
I had the best seat in the house last week. Well maybe Kevin, the captain of the jet, seated just 20 inches to my left had it better if one values the privileges of command. No matter, the view was identical. We leapt off the ground from the municipal airport at Gary, Indiana, just after dusk. ...
Mentor pride (04/16/13)
Good job Mike. Yes that is Mike Hendricks, McCook Community College professor, who posts his weekly "Mike at Night" column in the Gazette. Mike was sharing the success of a couple of his MCC students that he helped inspire to reach life goals. He uplifted Grant Tietjen and Kayla Sanders both students from McCook that had enrolled in Professor Mike's Sociology classes. ...
Mustang country (04/09/13)
The boss wanted to go to some small town in western Indiana. Scanning the chart we found the closest airport that could handle the jet was Danville, Illinois. Never heard of it but if the boss wanted to go there, Danville it was. Such is the life of pilots that fly in corporate aviation. ...
Harbinger of spring (04/02/13)
It is a sure sign of spring and wonderfully welcome. Grannie and I drove to Omaha for Easter with our daughter and family. Along Interstate 80, over the many miles that it parallels the Platte River, sandhill cranes by the hundreds (thousands?) were spotted feeding in the fields...
The night the music died (03/26/13)
I have to be one of the luckiest guys going. Privileged to be a crewmember on a fast corporate-class airplane, we occasionally travel to some interesting locations. Recently, the crew spent several hours lying over in Lubbock, Texas, awaiting our passengers return...
Field trip (03/19/13)
Twenty-some bright, eager rambunctious but well-behaved fourth graders arriving to explore, touch, feel and learn about airplanes. It has become an annual ritual. Mary Dueland, English teacher extraordinaire at Central, brings her class to my hangar to experience real airplanes...
Sleet or snow, we (didn't) go (03/12/13)
Well, yes, we executed the famous 180 and got the heck out of there. The maneuver is one new pilots are taught when they "accidentally" stumble into clouds. Do the 180 degree turn and return to where you just came from because having just been there you know what the weather was like. The turn can be scary the first time a pilot flies into a cloud, very scary...
New secretary of defense: Time will tell (03/05/13)
Chuck Hagel native Nebraskan. Former U.S. Senator(R) Chuck Hagel from Nebraska. Chuck Hagel Secretary of Defense. How about that? Combat wounded in Vietnam and decorated for valor, we in the great State of Nebraska can be proud to claim him as one of our own...
Innocent or enemy? (02/26/13)
His given name was Warner Worth but his nickname was "Windy," Windy Worth. He hailed from Brooklyn, New York and honestly he was a fish out of water here in rural Nebraska. Dad found him at the local labor exchange. It was potato harvest and dad needed a driver for our Model A John Deere...
Granny's cup overfloweth (02/19/13)
How would you like to be a young soldier headed to Afghanistan today? Most likely you will be one of the last of the American personnel to be assigned. By presidential decree our U.S. mission to bring peace is to draw to a close, win or lose, in the year 2014. Our politicians will simply declare victory, get out and let the devil take the hindmost...
Keeping us safe (02/12/13)
Your writer caught a little flack concerning a recent column. The one grumbling is in law enforcement and suggested that I knew how the local citizens came to be saddled with the expense of a new jail. He is correct. Being a long time observer of this community has its advantages...
To move or to stay (02/05/13)
Sometimes in life one has to hit the "restart button" to get your head on straight. Grannie and I have been toying with possibly relocating to spend our remaining sunset years. In order to decide we have been checking it out. Our son lives in the L.A. ...
Starve the beast (01/29/13)
Local government is running rampant. What we need is a dictator to coordinate and hold costs to a more reasonable level. Case in point. This week, the Red Willow County Board may decide to hire a replacement director for the County Health Department. Possibly they will hire an interim director and kick the can down the road until the end of the year. Probably the end result will be to eliminate the department completely...
A little-known tribute to warriors (01/22/13)
The first time that I visited I was age 21 years and it left an indelible impression. At the time I was a cadet aspiring to become an Air Force officer, a profession that could lead to a career disaster displayed beneath my feet. The Navy's harbor boat was tied up to a rusted and heat-warped steel platform 15 or 20 feet in diameter. ...
El Dictator (01/15/13)
His name was Mike and we spent a lot of time together learning to fly an old airplane. It was in the spring of 1972 and I was preparing to go on my 4th deployment to the war in Vietnam. The airplane was the thirty-plus year old C-47 "Gooney Bird" or DC-3 in civilian colors when used everywhere as an airliner...
Dick Trail
The Way I Saw It