... a pebble in the pond

2017 ... On becoming an old guy!

To Send Christmas Cards | To Not Send Christmas Cards: Last year ended my struggle with that question which makes this year follow-up on that decision somewhat guilt free. That is until I open my mailbox and find that I’m still hearing about the wonderful year (for the most part) many of you had in 2017. Too assuage some of the guilt, I will make a contribution to a nonprofit (non-political) organization. The final project in my Graceland University Web Development class several years ago (2012) was to create our own web pages. Since then, I have included highlights of each year in my final project web page. It will give you an idea about my 2016.

This is the year I declard to myself that I've become an "old guy" which is OK because it's a stae of life we all hope to achieve!

I turned 70 this year - that's why I decided I'm an old guy. What I find interesting is that people think being thought of as an "old guy" is some kind of pejorative term. No one seems to mind being called a young person - or even middle age. So, why is being an old guy different? I'm like OK with it. One of the cool things is people keep trying to help me with things because they think I can't do them. So ... I let them. Why not. One of the things I don’t like is that some people don’t seem to know that just because we’re old we never had a life before “old.” That we never achieved anything. Fortunately, in a small town like Lamoni, we still have many opportunities to contribute!

Graceland University is a wonderful resource! Once again, I took two courses during the year - Advanced Drawing and Computer Graphics for Art-Design. In advanced drawing, I learned that drawing is definitely not a talent in my repertoire. I was awful, but I had fun. I am always so amazed at the talents of the students in the classes I take. They are so impressive. In drawing, we get to walk around and peek at each others work. Drawing is such a friendly class, too - because as we walk around and peek, we also get to know each other. The graphics course I took was entry level, and since I had taken most of the upper level courses, it was not very challenging. As good luck would have it, the instructor allowed me to go rogue and incorporate outside projects into my class time. That meant I got to use the Mac Lab and Adobe software suites. Every once in a while, I wish I would have had all this "stuff" when I was in school. (I may even have liked school!) One of the projects I worked on was a tourist map of “Food and Things” to use as a marketing tool for Lamoni. We’re in the final stages of completing it. That’s me working on the Mac.

Of course, there is so much more when it comes to Graceland University’s contribution to my days. As a student, I still (for a fee) use the Fitz Fitness Center regularly. The concerts are a highlight of the cold months of the year. Several of us (Les, Dean, Dee, Timothy, Justin …) buy a five-punch lunch ticket at the Commons – Graceland University’s student cafeteria. Once a month, the “Lunch Bunch” meets to load up on the buffet (I swear if they would have had this kind of food when I was a student I would have become the fat man in the circus!) and discuss the world going to h***. Then there are special meals during the year (Thanksgiving, Christmas, Surf and Turf) that we don’t miss.

During the year, I continued writing my column (Around Lamoni) for the local paper but have taken a hiatus for a while. After a couple of years, it's not easy to keep coming up with new ideas. I am writing Coliseum Clips which are articles I “write” on the upcoming movie at – as you might have guessed - the Coliseum Theatre.

I’m putting together “A Graphic Novel of Lamoni” which appears on our city’s internet site. Take a look at it at:

It’s the story about two travelers who stop at the Welcome Center on I-35 just outside of Lamoni. They decide to find out more about Lamoni and start to look around. I have six chapters completed and am working on restaurants now. Probably, my favorite chapter was the airport and the ride I took on Jordan Omstead’s airplane to take aerial shots of the city. I’m really having a great time putting it together.

I signed up for a community garden plot in the middle of the city – and started gardening with a partner, Dee White Eye, in mid-summer. We started late, but harvested some vegetables. We’re looking forward to a great crop next year. The plots are raised, and they require very little effort. They’re filled with horse manure which I’m told is from horse who never ate chemical laced food. So … I guess we’re organic!

2036.7 Miles – That’s how far I rode on the Trails of Lamoni this riding season. I was concerned but was able to beat last year’s total (2017.82). It was a really windy summer – part of the trail was not accessible because of a closed road which the trail crossed for a while until everyone began to ignore the barricades. I’m still chairperson of the Trails Commission – but I think it’s time to pass that on to someone else which usually means drafting someone!

DRAT! This year Darrel Baker won the March Madness compettion - that's all I'm saying.

I lost some friends and people I know this year. Some from high school … some along the way. Maybe I stayed In touch with some of them - and maybe I lost track of some. But to all of them, I can only think: “Thanks for the memories.” This lead me to start finding people I know on Facebook and have been fortunate to connect with many including several BPHS 65 classmates. It's a great way to find out how everyone landed!

Andy and I met twice this past year in Sioux City – once in June and again for Thanksgiving for what is becoming an annual event at the Mathews. It was great to see him! And Don and Barb. And Joe and Marsha. And ... . In August, I travelled to Perkasie to see Chris, Hannah, Betsy, and Maggie. Every time I see B and M, they’ve changed. I would imagine that at their age they change by the minute. It was great to see them, too! I’m due to visit Nick and Katie which I hope to accomplish this year. We're all in the same places as last year: Chris, Hannah, Betsy, and Maggie are in Perkasie, PA. Nick and Katie are in Los Angles raising (and still spoiling their two dogs - Sammie and Bennie) who I'm told have already visited Santa. Andy is in Scottsdale, AZ. And then there's me in Lamoni, Iowa.

2017 was OK - I hope you've had a great year!

Happy Holidays!

Family is the Greatest Gift!