Summer snapshots, Washington County 2017

‘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.

 

Gateway Weekend

Despite the storm damage, the majority of the  annual Blair Gateway to the West Days celebration events went ahead as scheduled.

Mulligan Stu was the featured band at June Jam in Lions Park Friday evening.
Mulligan Stu was the featured band at June Jam in Lions Park Friday evening.
Mulligan Stu performs at June Jam
Mulligan Stu performs at June Jam
Tanner Ashland plays guitar with Mulligan Stu Friday.
Tanner Ashland plays guitar with Mulligan Stu Friday.
people walking
Saturday morning walk/run
Saturday morning wal/run
Saturday morning wal/run
Saturday morning walk/run
Saturday morning walk/run
Saturday Morning Walk/Run
Saturday Morning Walk/Run
Otte Middle School  Marching Band
Otte Middle School Marching Band
Otte Middle School Flag Corps
Otte Middle School Flag Corps
Color guard
Color guard
Washington County Veterans float
Washington County Veterans float
Mayor Jim Realph with son.
Mayor Jim Realph with son.
Otte Middle School band.
Otte Middle School band.
Otte Middle School Band
Otte Middle School Band
Clair McKinnis and Don Kuhr are honorary parade Grand Marshals.
Clair McKinnis and Don Kuhr are honorary parade Grand Marshals.
Kevin and Bev Willis wave  to the crowd.
Kevin and Bev Willis wave to the crowd.
Kids watching parade.
Kids watching parade.
Kids getting sprayed from fire truck
Kids getting sprayed from fire truck
Shrine clown
Shrine clown
Lexi Taylor and Courtney Wrich
Lexi Taylor and Courtney Wrich
 Adam Hodson, Whitney Taylor, with Daisy (dog)

Adam Hodson, Whitney Taylor, with Daisy (dog)
Jen Jensen, Kylee Shtowell, Danielle Matzedn
Jen Jensen, Kylee Shtowell, Danielle Matzedn
Kids watching parade
Kids watching parade
Water fights
Water fights
Kids water fights
Kids water fights
Kids water fights
Kids water fights
Dylan, Maggie, Reelynn Magwire
Dylan, Maggie, Reelynn Magwire
Kaleb Sutherland with Zady Lambet, and Charlzie Lambert celebrates victory.
Kaleb Sutherland with Zady Lambet, and Charlzie Lambert celebrates victory.
Connie Kephart and Sarah Backman
Connie Kephart and Sarah Backman
Connie Kephart and Sarah Backman
Connie Kephart and Sarah Backman
Blair fire fighters Blair Randy Backman, Nick Faue
Blair fire fighters Blair Randy Backman, Nick Faue
Ten Gallon Hippie performs in the Beer Garden on Saturday following the water fights.
Ten Gallon Hippie performs in the Beer Garden on Saturday following the water fights.

A few more favorites from 2013

Here are a few more images from 2013 that made me smile.

Tractor ride over hill and dale is a highlight of Tractors Tall and Small  festival.
Tractor ride over hill and dale is a highlight of Tractors Tall and Small festival.
Female Huacaya Alpaca at Heartland Alpaca farm.
Female Huacaya Alpaca at Heartland Alpaca farm.
A little rain didn't spoil the Gareway to the West parade for Guinevere Andersen
A little rain didn’t spoil the Gareway to the West parade for Guinevere Andersen
Heuton family practices casting in the Blair Library parking lot. The fishing event was one of the many Summer Reading Program activities.
Heuton family practices casting in the Blair Library parking lot. The fishing event was one of the many Summer Reading Program activities.