‘Salad Days’ are the sweetest

Do Moore Be  Moore
Sandy Moore stands between “Do Moore, Be Moore recipients Alec and Evan Wick.

The phrase “salad days” describes a season when the taste of life, like the spring garden harvest, is fresh and sweet.   My first years of teaching were salad days.  I was young and enjoying the moment, living the life and learning my craft. There was the reality of hard work and some heartache and frustration, but I had few cares or responsibilities other than myself. Life was good – or at least fresh and fun.

Shakespeare coined the phrase “salad days” in the tragedy Cleopatra to mean “green in judgement,” and certainly that could be said of me at that time.  More broadly the term evokes the light heartedness, vitality and optimism of youth.   I think of late spring like that –  an idyllic time of freshness, novelty and fun – and I have tried to capture that spirit in my photos.

Memorial Day is one of those salad days.  From my youth, I associate the holiday with blue skies and sunny days.  My memories are of pleasant walks with family along cemetery lawns filled with colorful displays of flags and fragrant flowers. The cemetery visits were a significant family ritual and history lesson.  This year I attended and photographed ceremonies in Herman, Fort Calhoun and Kennard as well as visited and placed flowers on graves of my own relatives in Omaha.  I still prefer and often use the old term “Decoration Day.”

The last weekend in May now has added significance because my daughter Erin is now Erin McElroy.  She and her husband Declan were married on the Saturday before Memorial Day in a beautiful ceremony in the Fontenelle Park Pavillion in Omaha. While I had absolutely nothing to do with selecting the venue, I grew up on Ames Avenue in Omaha, and the park brings back many childhood memories.

Nothing evokes images of youth and summer more than swimming at outdoor pools.  No matter the temperature, kids dive, splash and play. The weather and the water temp was near perfect the week that the Blair pool opened. Unfortunately, a few days later the pool was shut down while a maintenance crew removed shattered glass particles imbedded in paint at the bottom of the pool.

Gateway to The West events and similar summer festivals bring out the kid in many of us.  Blair Otte Middle School was the new venue for Taste of Blair and the Blair Area Community Band Summer Concert. Holding the concert in the Otte commons area seemed to be an excellent fit and everyone enjoyed the performance.

While June Jam was again held at The Depot in Lions Park, the revamped park layout is a significant improvement. Kids swarmed the new and relocated playground.  Concert goers could see and hear the band while families picnicked and watched their kids swing, slide and climb on the new playground equipment.  The park will be even more family friendly when the modern all-season restrooms are completed.

Despite the toasty weather, families filled the sidewalks along the Gateway to the West parade route.  Fire trucks spraying water, and parade participants throwing frozen treats to parade watchers proved to be particularly popular for the kids.  After the parade, I stopped at the Blair Volunteer Fire Department beer garden for a refreshing beer and bratwurst before watching the kids and fire fighters water fight contests.

I can think of no better example of youthful vitality and celebration than the Kids Triathlon which took place this past Saturday.   I have no interest in stats – I have no idea who won or even how many kids took part.  I do know that for over an hour I watched kids ages 5 to 15 of all ability levels take part in the challenge and have a great time doing it.  I watched a host of volunteers organize, monitor and keep kids safe while family members cheered the kids on.

I also applaud Kids Triathlon organizers for instituting the “Do Moore, Be Moore” award.   which was presented to BHS graduates Alec and Evan Wick.  The two outstanding and record setting  cross country and track athletes have assisted with the triathlon each year since the event was first organized.

“Do Moore, Be Moore” honors recently retired PE teacher and Kids Tri co-founder Sandy Moore.  Physical education teacher Kim Leggott said, “The award is based on all things ‘Sandy’, – hard work, kindness, compassion and dedication!”

Spring is at an end, and summer officially begins this Tuesday at 11: 24 PM.  I am looking forward to the vacations and summer activities ahead, but I will miss the soft green salad days of spring.

 

Heat takes toll on Fort Calhoun, Blair State Championship runners

Alex Tietz leads the class C boys runnerr.
Alex Tietz leads the class C boys runnerr.

Record or near record heat took a toll on runners at the State Cross Country meet last Friday held at the Kearney Country Club.  Fort Calhoun senior Alex Tietz led the Class C boys race to within yards of the finish line when he stumbled and nearly collapsed.  Tietz managed to cross the finish line in third place and was treated for heat exhaustion.

Pioneer coach Jim Meyer said as Tietz approached the finish he tried kick and give that extra effort, but, “There wasn’t anything there. The body wouldn’t do what the mind wanted.”

Fort Calhoun team mate Peyton Griesert was also running well, and challenging for a top 10 spot near the 2 mile mark when another runner stepped on his foot.  Grieset fell down, but got up and finished the race, placing 21st.

Earlier in the afternoon, Blair sophomore brothers Alec and Evan Wick competed in the Class B boys race. Both competed in the state competition last year as freshmen. Alec’s 25th place spot was 10 spots higher than last yer while Even finished 51st.

Alec said his time was consistent with previous races on the Kearney course.  He was pleased that he moved up.

Evan was suffering from shin splints and shortness of breath Friday.  He trained on a bicycle during the week before the meet to get his hear rate up, but save his legs.

Alex Tietz led through most of the race but stumbled and nearly collapsed near the finish line. Alex placed third in the Class C boys race.
Alex Tietz led through most of the race but stumbled and nearly collapsed near the finish line. Alex placed third in the Class C boys race.
Peyton Griesert placed 21st in Class C boys race.
Peyton Griesert placed 21st in Class C boys race.
Evan and Alec Wick fight for position during the first mile of the boys Class B state champion race.
Evan and Alec Wick fight for position during the first mile of the boys Class B state champion race.
Alec Wick placed 25th in the Class B boys state cross country championships Friday in Kearney.
Alec Wick placed 25th in the Class B boys state cross country championships Friday in Kearney.
Evan Wick placed 51st in Class B state competition.
Evan Wick placed 51st in Class B state competition.

Ben Everswick leads Fort Calhoun to third place finish at State

Boys approcah finish line
Ben Everswick nears finish line with Adam Robinson close behind.

Beautiful day and near perfect running conditions for the State Cross Country Championships at the Kearney Country Club on Friday. Fort Calhoun Boys team took third place in the Class C Boys contest. Top finishers for Fort Calhoun were Ben Everswick and Adam Robinson.  Blair’s Molly Dibben finished in eleventh place in Cass B Girls.  The Blair boys team finished seventh in class Cass B Boys. 

girls running
Molly Dibben finished in eleventh place in her final State Cross Country meet.
Boys running downhill
Alec and Evan Wick near the finish in Class B competition.