We went to see my family in Nebraska this weekend and got to spend lots of time with my grandparents. (Now, keep in mind that we recently moved to a new house and had a baby — only a few days apart). Jackson was eager to get up there and kept saying, “I wanna go to Grandma’s!” But I told him that we were going to stop at Momo & Papa’s in Omaha first and he wondered why. I explained that it’s on the way, they’ve moved out of their old house, and they have a new place that he hasn’t been to before. So Jack immediately asked, “Did they have a baby, too?”
Don’t they look great for 85 and 86? While talking about last week’s election results, Grandpa mentioned that the first president he remembers is Herbert Hoover. Wow.
Though it was cold and blustery, we still bundled up and played outside in Mom’s yard.
One of the reasons we picked last weekend to visit Nebraska was to attend my hometown’s “railing unveiling.” Sunday afternoon was the culmination of a downtown renovation project in which community members and civic groups commissioned funky art panels that were cut out of black metal. They were designed by local resident Tom Schlosser with Estate Metals. U.S. Senator Ben Nelson was on hand to speak and help cut the ribbon, reopening main street. Read and watch a news story here ... and click on the following pic to spot the transparent moon to the right of center.
Can you believe it — a two-block-long public art project!?! Until now, the most public art Bennington usually sees is when the fire department’s annual poster contest winners are displayed.
Here’s our description:
The Lowell & Nancy Neumeyer family panel represents many well-known aspects of Bennington’s agricultural heritage.
The 1952 Allis Chalmers tractor at the bottom left (which currently sits in a field adjacent to their home) represents the family’s several generations of farming. After earning a degree in agronomy from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in 1953, Lowell returned to his hometown and was a successful farmer for as long as he lived. He loved raising a large cow-calf herd of Limousin cattle. In recent years, Nancy has served on the executive board of the Ak-Sar-Ben Buyer's Club Purple Ribbon Auction. Their children and grandchildren have been active showing livestock in 4-H.
The building on the left is the historical ice house that stored ice throughout the year, for use in ice boxes in the home, prior to the invention of the refrigerator. Blocks of ice were stored inside, packed with straw as insulation. Hans Neumeyer, Lowell’s father, owned the ice house which stood for decades just south of the Papio Creek on the west side of 156th Street.
Hans also owned the Bennington Transfer Company, with a fleet of drivers hauling such things as corn, cattle and milk. Milk was picked up from area farmers in metal dairy cans and delivered to Roberts Dairy in Omaha. One of the transfer trucks is depicted on the righthand side, and is an image which others who commissioned panels fondly remember. The building on the far right was the home of the Bennington Transfer Company, east of 156th Street on the north side of Warehouse Street, across from Centennial Park.
In addition, the Neumeyers are passionate about building civic pride and improving the community through horticulture, using both flowers and trees. Lowell was a founding member of Bennington’s original Tree Board and planted the beautiful trees along 156th street. Nancy continues that legacy on the Tree Board and the Bennington Community Foundation, all working to make a lasting impact for future generations.
On the drive back home Sunday night, with Leslie, Jackson and Landon asleep in the car, I was still thinking about how nice it was to see so many long-time family friends: the best man and maid of honor in my parents wedding, a guy who Dad was best man for, and another man who was one of Dad’s pallbearers. As I drove along in the silent darkness, seeing the combines harvesting late into the night, I witnessed a shooting star drop right in front of me.
Love you too, Dad.