Derek Johnson Muses

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Tag Archives: Seward

Seward Nooks: Trailing Up

These photos were taken last fall. I meant to write a detailed description and post them back then, but of course, I got caught up in football writing. Better late than never I suppose. 

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Walk Out

Turn a tight corner.

Downhill...

Downhill…

I’ve shown you the stroll down the hill. This time…

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Turn

I go the other way.

North

North

It isn’t out there, even if it kind of feels that way.

Fields of Tall Grass and Barley

Fields of Tall Grass and Barley

Shuffle through.

Cross Straight Ahead

Cross Straight Ahead

More and More.

Stark Path

Stark Path

Those powerlines have a way of messing up my photographs.

Modern Street

Modern Street

The new part.

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Stream

Sky getting low all around me.

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Flounders

At this point in my walk, I’m dragging.

Road Home

Road Home

So I’ll just skip to the end. 

Seward Nooks: South Tracks

It’s been more than a week since I’ve posted, a lifetime for this blog. This is of course the time of year where I post a lot over on Huskermax.com, and will continue to do so for the rest of the year. Last year, fall was a time where I felt I didn’t have a lot to say, and that has proven to be the case again this year. But I still have plenty of photos, and these shots come from around my new end of town.

The empty place...

The empty place…

This house is right down the street from where I live. It’s the prototypical empty house, with some overgrown bushes and grass, but it probably wouldn’t take that much work to be a livable home. I hope someone jumps on it.

Step up!

Step up!

Stairs for a sidewalk are like basements that you can go outside through, signs of geographic anomalies that cause for such construction. I always think of sidewalk-stairs as a special place, even though I never use them because they are on tighter streets that I never feel like walking on.

Last Side Road out of Dodge...

Last Side Road out of Dodge…

Highway 15 isn’t the only southbound street that leads out of Seward.  Second runs out of town on a country road (as does South Columbia for that matter). It’s a backroad to Wal-Mart.

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Rail Tracks…

Railroad tracks make up Seward’s south border. Even from my house, I can still hear the trains as they rumble by at night. I’ve gotten more used to it over the last couple of months, but it’s still bothersome.

Power Grid...

Power Grid…

I’m sure this mess of steel, right on the north side of the tracks, is where I get my electricity from.

Up and away...

Up and away…

Right down the railroad tracks, next to the highway is  a station where I get my sand for work. They also deal in concrete and other raw building material.

What....

What….

This looks like a water tower, but as a kid, I always thought that it poured out sand. It’s probably an old water tower or something.

Turn...

Turn…

On the right is new office space that was built four or five years ago, along with some storage units. It’s one of the newer units in Seward, and very respectable. And as you can see, the tracks just go on in the distance, toward Pac-‘N’-Save, Hughes Brothers, and the Fairgrounds.

thirtysomething

The day I turned twenty was my junior year of college. It was a Tuesday, and Tuesdays that fall were my busiest days for classes. I only had time to rest and reflect around 10 P.M., after Vespers, and I remember my friends giving me a card I wish I could still find.  

Style...

Style…

Yesterday was my thirtieth birthday. I got up early and went to men’s morning Bible study for the first time in a while, and had one of my favorite lunches, biscuits and gravy and eggs. I caught up on rest and reading and made pork in the crock pot for dinner.  I had a New Glarus Beer (a Wisconsin brew I’ve brought back each of the last two years), and sat down to write this while I watched the baseball playoffs and Big Red Wrap-Up.

On my birthday, I love to take a long, contemplative walk, this year Branched Oak Lake. The wind blew hard, and in the end, I spent less time contemplating and more time reading. Reading was my present to myself, and I need to fill this brain of mine. I need to find that one book I can sit down and get addicted to.

I suppose this is the end of my youth or something like that, which to me doesn’t matter. I feel old already, and I don’t have a wife or kids, so I’m untangled in that area of my life. The older I get, the more I contemplate what could have been. I always think of one course I know I should have taken many years ago, but I never did. The results of what that could have been, I don’t dare imagine anymore.

So here’s to a new decade and a new stage in life. I hope I continue to learn, grow, and changed, and most of all serve you better.

Lakeside...

Lakeside…

Seward Nooks: The Golf Side

There are certain trademarks of the small community, or of urban sprawl through communities where not every farmer wants to sell his land.

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Corn Field off a Paved Street…

…is one of the more prevalent of these signs. This one is off North Eighth Street in Seward, and it just feels odd. I know a town-line has to be somewhere, but still. Sometimes, I wish we as a town could just waste money on a wall so we didn’t have to look at stuff like this.

Three Way...

Three Way…

This sign presides over one of those dreaded traffic circles. At least this traffic circle wasn’t rammed into a place where a stoplight would work just fine, although I’m not sure they needed to build an angle street in this neighborhood just east of the field. Maybe it’s because of the hill, or just an attempt to look classy. 

DSCN9925Golf Club Lane…

This is the turnoff for the golf course. The same golf course that hams the cornfield above into a block of houses. Seriously, farmer-whoever, what did you get offered for that land? I’ll start a petition tomorrow to get that land sold if I was actually industrious. 

Crosser...

Crosser…

This an odd rip-off of an on/off ramp on a interstate, except it’s a crude on/off ramp for Highway 15 right as you come into Seward. I’m not sure why it has to curve in such a drastic fashion, but that’s the way it is.

What will always be Sunderman...

What will always be Sunderman…

This building is now called Ridgewood, but it’s the place where I volunteered in high school and where my grandmother lived her last years. I will always think of it as Sunderman, with the crappy beige walls and the tiled floors. I don’t know why they chose to cut down those trees on the left side of the picture, but I think it has something to do with the photo below. (Side note: the little gazebo is gone too.)

The Nursing Home...

The Nursing Home…

They must be building some kind of edition to Sunder-ahhh, Ridgewood. It seems sad that they would tear one of the older buildings down, but I guess I understand it. I’m glad Seward will have these places for years to come.

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Benched…

This bench was the place of a pivotal life conversation I had over ten years ago. That’s all I’m going to say.

Road Side...

Road Side…

Across the street from Sunderman (sorry, can’t change it) East is the high football field. Someday, I wish they’d gut those stands and move games to Concordia on a permanent basis, even if it completes the school

Seward Nooks: South Trail

As I’ve written before, I love to walk, although since I moved I walk downtown more than I do on the trail near my new home. Technically, it’s the same walking trail as I used to walk on every day at my previous residence, but as you will see, the route feels a bit more cramped, and quite frankly, less inviting in certain spots.

Big Crossing...

Big Crossing…

The worst part of my walk is this intersection of US Highway 34, which is too wide, and at this moment, under construction. But it’s either cross here, or cross a bridge with highway traffic on it, so I always dart in front of the incoming traffic. (For Lutherans, the LCMS Nebraska District office is in the background on the left.)

Downhill...

Downhill…

Up a block from that vast highway cavern, I turn and head down to the low-land floodplain. It’s one of the better streets of old houses in Seward, as all of them are well maintained and have genuine old-world charm that’s unique to each house. Don’t get me started on the cul-de-sac at the bottom of the hill, though.

Bridge....

Bridge….

This is the bridge I have to cross to get to the main trail, and while the bridge is broad and modern, but the pedestrian walk-way is narrow and not big enough for two people to pass by each other. At least it’s not as busy as the interstate. After the narrow crossing I have to go down a narrow connector path to get to…

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..the end of a spur.

This is where real trail begins. The John Deere repair place is in the background, on the other side of the soybean field. The trail is basically a whole bunch of curves around the river.

Curvature

Curvature

See.

Underneath...

Underneath…

This part of the trail runs beneath US Highway 34. It’s the one part of Seward that feels strangely urban, with the shadows and the lights along the top. But you can always see the greenery from either side.

Downtown...

Downtown…

More curves and greenery. Off to the right is a small parking area with a couple of historical markers, one of I don’t think I’ve ever read, and another one of those tall Nebraska historical plaques, blue and metal. There’s also a picnic table that I’ve never eaten at. But if I was driving through town on a business trip, I’d like to eat my lunch there.

Emptier....

Emptier….

A few paces down fro the picnic area, this drain hangs over the river. It may not empty anything into the river, in fact it probably doesn’t. There’s a lot I don’t know about this town.

Dome....

Dome….

The south tail of the trail runs by the ever bright sewage/water cleaning facility of the great city of Seward, right by this weird dome. It looks like the Trop in Tampa, where the Tampa Bay Rays play, not a great for them.

Gravel Street...

End Line…

Here’s where the trail ends, at Columbia Street across from a farmhouse and field complete with livestock, which you can just make out in the picture above. Columbia turns to gravel just before the it gets to the paved trail, and if there’s a sure sign of a rural town, it’s a gravel street and livestock within city limits.

Hibernation...

Hibernation…

On the other side of the fence is this winter-bear-float. I think this a Fourth of July Float, but I’m not sure since I never go to the parade. Either way, it looks so cheap in this city yard down on South Columbia in almost-ghetto. You think the city could find some empty shed to put it in.

It’s a long uphill walk, but I don’t think it’s that bad. It’s certainly not as bad as having to go down a steep hill when you’re tired and try to keep yourself from stumbling and falling all over yourself. On the left are the cheap Fox Run Apartments. When I worked at Valentino’s, I had to deliver to a woman in those apartments who always ordered an extra-cheese, extra-black olives small pizza.

Uphill...

Uphill…

This headless mailbox stands in front of an empty house. Like I said before, my neighborhood is a mixed bag of homes that are kept up and homes that have been neglected, the degrees of neglect range from semi to major.

Turn Sign...

Turn Sign…

Here’s where I turn off Columbia. This street runs one way for a single block to accommodate parking for the vision clinic and the insurance agency, hence the reason there’s an inordinate amount of traffic bothering me. I have never liked that this street runs one way,  but if it’s good for the eye clinic, I get that.

Seward Nooks: Twists and Turns.

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Fairgrounds Border…

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Waiting Game…

Hughes Brothers forms the east border of the fairground on the opposite side of the highway. It must be one of Seward’s biggest employers, but I’ve only known one or two people who have worked for them. In fact, I don’t even know exactly what it is they do there, although I do see a lot of their guys milling around the factory entrance whenever I drive by it on Seward Street.

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Levee Road…

This road leads out of the Fairgrounds and turns into Lincoln Street, rolling along the levee-top without a care in the world, steep slope falling on both sides of the levee. I drive this road worrying about my safety if some teenager or know-it-all with an over-sized pickup comes barreling from the opposing direction, all jazzed up with a case of beer in the front seat.

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Old Folks Home…

Lincoln Street leads out to the Senior Citizens Center, home to potato bake lunches, and other shows for the elderly. (Side note-a couple I knew actually met at a lunch here.) It’s the ideal place to preserve retirement savings, complete with off-color yellow walls, small windows right next to each other, a pop-out from ’50-’60’s mass construction. Of course, the dazzling new building in the background is putting a cramp in the retro-, live frugal style, but anything to attract new business to our spend-lite state.

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Exactly…

In keeping with the neighborhood’s shabby-no-sheek theme, this complex of cheap apartment buildings lies catty corner to southeast from the Senior Center Complex. It was the perfect shade of cracked white until a couple of years ago, when someone had the bright idea to paint the buildings tan. Talk about building yourself out of the neighborhood.Now it looks like a 1980’s-built prison in a desert town, or a filming site for a cheap horror movie. Hope you got a tax write off for that.

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Red Brick Road….

This is Eighth, a brick street that is way too narrow to service the amount of traffic it gets. Even worse than that, it has hills. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been driving down this road, bumpty-bump-bump, hoping that another car doesn’t turn onto the street in front of me. They shouldn’t let people park on either side of this street.

How Much Traveled?

How Much Traveled?

There is a small housing development that is an U-shape of three blocks just off of Hillcrest on Tenth street, which is what should have been done with the Augusta Drive project. This foot bridge crosses a drainage ditch, to a path that leads down to the senior center. It’s a great idea, so at least the people who live on these street don’t have to walk on the busy Hillcrest street, even if there’s just an empty field and no walking trails on the other side.

Many tenants...

Many tenants…

When I was growing up, I was in this place many times when it was the Evangelical Free Church, for youth group and various homeschool functions. Since then, E-Free has moved to a big box location that used to be Wal-Mart, and two Lutheran churches have occupied this space. It never made sense to me why E-Free left after all the money they had to put into two additions, but I guess they are happy in their new location, and the old location is still used.

Once in high school, I nearly ended up in the ditch right there in the spot by the fire hydrant. I was seventeen and had not yet learned how to scrape my windshield when it snowed.

Put her up...

Put her up…

Wish they would have put that hope in when I was in high school. (More Seward Stories…)

August Daze and Winds of Change

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Seward Square…

The turning of the calendar to August marked the three month anniversary of my move into my new home. Three months is a season, so a new chapter has been written and something has changed in my head. I can’t wait to find out what that is.

Walking around my new neighborhood is different because of the heat and the trails don’t feel as wide open. Instead, I walk down to the square and sit read or just watch for people. I’m surprised more people aren’t around the square in the evening, but I suppose if there were more people there, I wouldn’t feel like sitting there and reading.

I always enjoy seeing children and young people hanging out and playing around the square, or on the street outside my house. I wonder if the teenagers are dying to get out of this cracker-jack town like I was when I was their age. (Hope their plans for that go better than mine did.) Sitting out there watching the kids from a bench I wonder to myself if I would have been better off leaving this place.

I had grand plans for leaving this place in high school. I didn’t talk about them with most people but simply went on thinking that I would find a new place to call home, because I knew in my heart this wasn’t my home. I still don’t feel like Seward is my home, even if all visual evidence speaks to the contrary.

Even recently, I still feel inside that God is calling me to leave Seward. I’ve seen evidence to that in the last year, but no path has come together, and given my history, I feel I shouldn’t leave this town without certain things in place. But God is still telling me that He has plans for me elsewhere in this world. Maybe I’m just coming up with this stuff as a way to blame my problems on circumstances. Even if I leave this town, I’m still the same person with the same problems, and I can’t expect everything to magically change. But maybe if I don’t expect everything to change, I will make the most of a move…, oh forget it, I’m reasoning this all out.

Road Downtown...

Road Downtown…

Writing has not come as easily this summer. Maybe I have not been putting as many good things into my head, maybe I need more meaningful interactions and clear some things off my schedule. I do spend more time into editing, to see that the hours invested writing projects don’t go to waste. but I can see things in my past that I left unresolved. At the time, it was the easiest thing in the world not to do anything about certain things, but they have caught up to me now. It’s time to take action.

Seward Nooks: Empty Fairgrounds

Sign in

Sign in

My indifference towards this weekend’s Seward County Fair stems from my lack of children, or from having been out of 4-H for thirteen-some years. Don’t get me wrong, I’ll go enjoy the crowd tonight, but I am loosing a favorite walking/quiet time spots for a few days. To show the area as I know it best, I have assembled these photos of the fairgrounds without people, as it is most of the year.

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Mini-Street

If the Seward County Fair was the Wild West, this would be Front Street. Instead, it’s just food and hot tub-vendor alley. There are some good funnel cakes and stuff, but fair food is geared solely geared toward helping feed kids’ sugary desires and helping adults gain back those ten pounds they’ve lost since Christmas. During the year, it looks musty and worn, but the summer heat sells the food.

The Old House...

The Old Spot…

When I was in 4-H, I spent a lot of time in here working the food stand, all proceeds going to our local clubs. I remember getting there at 9 in the morning, straddlers roaming around, probably having no idea that we had cinnamon rolls to go with burgers and hot dogs we always sold. Th short distance between the food stand and the sheep and hogs that were being paraded around must have driven our sales down. At least I hope it did.

Big Kahuna

Big Kahuna…

Oh, the Ag Pavilion, where I brought my 4-H projects and served as host in the 4-H exhibit room. All the big booths for the important businesses and the stage for all of the big, big acts were under the giant aluminium roof. The silver metal walls gleamed in on all the joyful patrons with a bountiful grin, making it the gem of the grounds. Until they built….

The New Kid in Town...

The New Kid in Town.

I don’t remember the exact year that Harvest Hall was built, only that it was after I graduated college in 2005. All the wedding receptions are held over there now, even if it’s just “the new Ag Pavilion”. The original Ag Pavilion itself does feel less crowded during the fair, but I can’t remember a single exhibit from the one time I strolled through the Hall during the fair. I know its outside walls of this corporate barn better than the inside.

Park it Here

Park it Here

This is where I go when I come to the fairgrounds when there’s no fair. I’ve consumed one too many Runza or Amigos meals sitting under this tree, casting the empty brown bags into the green trash can, walking the grounds to unwind afterward.

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Walkspace…

The fairgrounds are my walking trail when I’m bored with my other walking trail. It’s a makeshift footpath that goes in too many circles, but at least I can get 45 solid minutes of walk-time in without passing the same place twice. I go by the cattle sheds, the metal buildings, the stand beneath which the Demolition Derby is held. It’s not a journey like Seward’s actual trail, it’s just a bunch of loops.

Winterscape...

Winterscape…

That is what the ditch by the creek looks like in winter. The tire trends of maintenance cars filed with mud slushee require that I wear my winter boots to walk. The tall grass has turned to yellow straw, the long winter sky stretching on above.

Rapids...

Rapids…

This bend in the Big Blue River is a good thirty yards away from the main fairgrounds, rough waters playing freely without interference. As one can see, the river did freeze partially at this time. I like walking to this spot, even it is right next to the dumping grounds.

Lazy Lake...

Lazy Lake…

But this weekend, there will not be any frozen water, except for ice to make snow cones and keep a lot of drinks cold. I’ll go, hope to see an old acquaintance I haven’t seen in a while, and maybe grab a funnel cake. Oh by the way, I’m probably going to kick it in Omaha on Saturday morning.

Seward Nooks: Loose West Ends

Even though it doesn’t always feel like it, I’ve lived in and around Seward, Nebraska for the vast majority of my life. I drive on the same roads, go to the same stores, and have outlasted several business. The whole town keeps telling me the same story every day, and even though it gets a bit stale sometimes, the story doesn’t totally suck.

So to that end, I put together a diary of some of the nooks around tow. The first little area is one I drove by all the time on Bluff Road/Hillcrest Street back in high school, and still do occasionally when I go to the Pac-‘N’-Save or to visit my uncle.

Bend in the Road....

Bend….

If this road were any good, I probably would have used more than I have, especially when we lived outside of Seward. It is the first country road west of Seward between US 34 and Bluff Road, curving with the river at the road’s north-most point. Every time there are extensive rains, the road turns to mush. I avoid it even on days when it doesn’t rain because the ruts that are left 250-grade pickups have messed the whole road up. When I’m out scouting fields, the ruts on this roads are the benchmarks for terrain I’m willing to go on.

The Bridge...

The Bridge…

This is the bridge on Bluff Road, right next to the curve and the end of the road I mentioned above. Most of the bridges that link country roads across the Blue River in the Seward area are like this: shoddy metal bridges that I would stop in front of if another vehicle was approaching from the opposite direction. And I know it must be a legal issue, but do we really have trucks rumbling down these country roads that get anywhere close to ten tons, much less the fifteen ton, advertised limit?

One that Got Away...

One that Got Away…

I can remember when this little turn off was first cut into East Hillcrest back in the mid-to-late 90’s. It was intended that this would be the second of two streets across from where the E-Free Church was at the time. It’s been fifteen or sixteen years, and not a single piece of ground has broken on this whole lot.

As a matter of fact...

As a matter of fact…

They haven’t even filed in the lots on the other street, Augusta Drive. (In their defense, they’ve come pretty close.) My best estimation, thirty or forty houses have been built in Seward since those curbs cuts were made. But it’s easy to see why nothing has been done. There are plenty of places to build in Seward where you feel more connected to the community.  Meanwhile, this fake sidewalk meanders on. Too bad we can’t get our tax dollars back on this one.

Twist and Shout...

Twist and Shout…

I’ve never heard of an accident at this intersection, but it’s an accident waiting to happen. The road is part of a thru-route and quite busy, there’s a yield sign to the city traffic, and if you turn west, you go straight over the tracks. Seriously, city-planner-who-designed-this, couldn’t you have kept the road on the west side of the tracks until it got to Bluff Road? Okay, I’m sure it’s a flood-plain issues, but I don’t think the issue would be any better or worse going the way you did.

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Bail Up!

East of that road and southwest of that development that wasn’t is this hayfield which gets mowed every so often. It’s not the worst location in the world, except that’s it is probably considered a flood plain. During the Seward County Fair, it be a great place to have a food stand, but until then, someone will probably keep bailing hay there, even it’s just so conspicuous.

Neighborhoods of Seward

Over the past year, I’ve semi-moved twice, once to an apartment a few blocks from my parents’ house, and the second time to my new house. The first move wasn’t really a move and felt more like a designed re-organization. I would sleep at my apartment, but I’d go back to my parent’s house to check in the internet and cook most of my meals. In the eight months I had that apartment, I would be surprised if I cooked more than twelve non-breakfast meals in my apartment. When I came to my house, it was a real move

Each of my residences each has an unique flavor, which conversely is what is one of the oddity’s a town Seward’s size. Even though there’s only 7,000 or so people here, the neighborhoods mirror pre- and post-World War II style, and Hillcrest Street divides the town smoothly along those lines.

My parent’s house is a duplex that sits on a semi-busy suburban street, (East) Pinewood, which comes off Highway 15. Ironically, my aunt in the Bay Area gets less noise on the street she lives on than we got on our street because she lives in a circle off the main street. (In California, a house where you have less noise is more valuable than it is in rural America.) The garage dominates the front of the house, making it looks smaller than it actually is. The windows to the backyard and the upstairs balcony do create a lot of room, but I always felt like I was looking out at the interstate of walkers and school children passing my kitchen window, back and forth, back and forth all day. I heard the school children playing in the morning and the parents coming home and taking their kids to practice in the evening, even as I was stowed away on my private island.

The House by the Elementary School...

The House by the Elementary School…

As I have alluded to, I felt semi-home at my apartment, which was the definition of a studio space. My realtor told me that renting is for people who want to do nothing but work and not do home maintenance, making that your residence nothing more than a glorified Motel 6. The complex, a mess of college students and other twenty-somethings, represented a mass of humanity at life way stations. In my constant desire to be alone, I always seemed to work my hours so that I woke up well after everyone else left for first shift at five in the morning, and arrived back after everyone else was in bed.

After I had lived their for three months, I felt much more safe than I ever felt on Pinewood because there were a lot of people living close to my apartment and could hear the city bustle when I lay awake in bed. Even when a door slammed at three in the morning and someone stormed out, it was mildly disturbing when I slept in proximity to others, very similar to the time I lived in a dorm just off the freeway in St. Paul, Minnesota.

Street by my Apartment...

Street by my Apartment…

I don’t want to make conclusive assertions about my new house, since I’ve only lived here a month. There’s more drive-by traffic than I expected because of an one-way street that forces some people to drive by my north corner, but overall it’s not bad. From the outside, my house looks bigger than it is; I’ve already got stuff strewn everywhere. I have a porch I can sit on in to read and watch people go by.  There aren’t as many walkers as there are on Pinewood, just the hodge-podge of people who live around me. Since I’m in an old part of town, the houses around me are kept up to varying degrees. Some are ghost houses, some have been refurbished and dazzle, others are abandoned, still some are being rebuilt. It is not crowded with families and retirees like Pinewood was. In a way, it’s like cities were back in the 1950’s, when people of all walks of life and political persuasions lived close to one another. While I have left the old walking trails that lead around the ball fields behind, I can now walk into downtown Seward, mega-plus.

My new house is a dilemma in the making. I love the old-school neighborhood and the old-school high windows and ceiling, but my house is small and lacks the closet space of a modern house. I would really miss being close to the coffee shop and the bank if I had to move, but I’m getting ahead of myself. Who knows what opportunities will come by in the next thirty to forty years? I may even get a chance to leave Seward.

But if I stay, it’s great to know that Seward has plenty of options.

Rocking it at the Crib...

Rocking it at the Crib…

Thanks to St. John for letting me stow this here...

Thanks to St. John for letting me stow this here…

Seward, Tear Down Your Unused Buildings!

Could have done it back in the 90's

Revenge of the 80’s?

Seward has been my home base for my nearly thirty-years of life, and one of the constants has been the empty buildings on the Jones Bank lot. One was a Napa Auto Parts store, and the other use to be a roller rink, but I can barely remember a time when either front was used. (Someone I knew reminded that a flea market was in there nearly twenty years ago.) But finally, with the renovations underway at the bank, both buildings have been reduced to rubble.

Good freaking riddance.

As I record here, I traverse a lot of country, and there’s one thing you see everywhere: empty storefronts. I’ve seen them in Bay Area suburbs where my aunt and uncle live, in major Midwest cities , and in small towns everywhere. Rotting wood, cracking paint, rocks with holes in them. It’s sad, and it says a lot about how a town cares about its image. Frankly, if I had had money, I would have bought the old Napa Auto Parts store and turned it into a trendy townhouse/loft. Of course, the reason I don’t have any money is probably related to the fact that I would build a trendy town home in Seward, Nebraska.

But back to my point. The point is, America has way too rotting empty buildings. Some of this is probably inevitable (like the employment rate never hitting zero). But a building sitting vacate in the same town for twenty-some years is unacceptable, in the middle of downtown no less. At least the building across the highway from Wal-Mart south of Seward that has kept various restaurants rotating through it. NOTHING was in this two buildings for nearly twenty years. Couldn’t we at least have pulled it down and made a park?

But now these are gone, an accomplishment this town can celebrate. Here’s to Seward. And while we’re at, let’s try and get something permanent in the old hardware store across the street from Cattle Bank. Not to mention that there’s several old, empty homes around our city, paint cracking and ivy flowing out of them. Let’s do something about those too. Anyone got some loose capital lying around?

Moving In

If I had to, I could clean out my desk in five second, and nobody would ever know I had ever been here. And I’d forget too. -Ryan on The Office

If I were not so lazy, I could have moved out of my apartment in only a day. It’s a small apartment, and I kept a lot of stuff at my parents’ house. When I was telling people that I couldn’t participate in such-and-such activity this past week because I was moving,  I got a lot of “that must be so big and hard” looks. Thanks for the hall pass.

Moving was good for me. Closing on the house took fifteen minutes (alarmingly short-hope the bank didn’t make a mistake approving me), and I drove over to my new home with a loaded truck. Since then, it’s been a blur of boxes and new space, most of which where moved yesterday before it started to rain. Praise the Lord.

DSCN0173

Lots of stuff in boxes, still

There was one item I waited to move out of my apartment until it was raining Wednesday morning: my futon frame, which is now held together with duct tape rather than screws. I taped it together because I was tired of fighting the bent connectors every time I put it back together, which meant I had to carry a frame three feet taller than I am down stairs and drag it across my new lawn to the cellar. Yes, I cling to certain things. It’s a problem.

Of course, that was nothing compared to going to Lincoln the other day to pick up a washer/dryer in a May Day wintery mix. The person who I was buying the set from told me the last time that Nebraska got snow in was sometime in the late 1960’s, so here’s to hoping it’s another forty years until we get May snow.

My new house has a certain charm to it. It was built in 1900, and had to have part of its foundation redone in the last ten years. The lack of a garage and convenient parking space right next to the house is really annoying. There’s no closet space whatsoever. But the yard is huge, and I have a great deck, and all the interiors are modern. I’m going to be very happy here, once I find a couch and some other furniture.

Kitchen

Kitchen

As I enter into this new stage of bigger investments and life on my own, I am going to try to stop waiting for myself to turn into an adult. Yes, I will probably never value my success as much as I should, but I’m just going to commit to reflecting on Jesus and praising God every day, doing what’s best for others, honing my skills, and educating myself.

A lot of possibilities...

A lot of possibilities…

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