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All your favorite weekly columns and letters to the editor- online!

 Editor's Notebook, by Bill Blauvelt Country Roads, by Gloria Garman-Schlaefli

Editor's Notebook, by Bill Blauvelt
It seems there have always been many ways for newspapers to make mistakes.
A half-century ago when this newspaper was printed with lead type, we had a wedding story about a couple taking the vows in the Methodist parsonage and an obituary for a person buried at Evergreen cemetery. The proof reader caught a mistake in both stories and sent them back to the composing room. The correction lines were set and placed into the form. It wasn't until the paper had been distributed that we discovered we had reported the burial took place in the Methodist parsonage and the wedding at Evergreen Cemetery.
Last issue we had considerable trouble with pictures.
When Marty Pohlman returned to Superior from being on the fairgrounds throughout much of the day he literally had hundreds of photos stored on his camera's memory card. If we processed those pictures like we have done in the past, it would have taken hours to complete the task. But at the annual meeting of the Nebraska Press Association held at Kearney in late April, we learned about a new computer process that would speed the work.
We wanted to try the system on county fair photos and Marty enlisted the assistance of co-workers. In the file transfer process, a co-worker made a mistake and about half of his pictures were not recognized.
Two of us worked most of the next day trying to recover the lost files. We sought advice from other photographers and purchased two computer programs they recommended. One of the programs worked much better than the other and salvaged about three-fourths of the lost pictures.
But that problem doesn't explain what happened with photos provided to us by an outside source. As we put the paper together, we realized we were missing some photos that had earlier been sent to us. We asked to have them resent and they were. Only trouble was the second time around we were sent 2015 Nuckolls County Fair photos and not 2016 photos.
This newspaper wasn't the only one to have problems last week.
One paper that relies on sending electronic files of the pages to be printed to a distant central plant, apparently send the front page from 2015. All the rest of the pages were correct. This week's paper will include the correct front page for the prior week.
Another paper planned to send 20 pages off to be printed but got back from the printer only 18 pages. Two of the pages were lost in cyber-space. Advertisers are reluctant to pay for advertisements printed on invisible paper or a week late.
I don't think it good for the country's unity but it appears our nation is becoming bilingual. It is becoming increasingly common to find more than one language printed on a product container or the enclosed literature.
With the problems I've had trying to master the English language, I've steered clear of a second language. As a college student, I chose a course of study that required 136 college hours. Had I been willing to take a foreign language, I could have reduced that requirement to 124 hours.
For awhile this week, I was rethinking that decision and thinking it was not right.
I was surprised when my home computer began displaying part of the internet content in what I think was Spanish. I sent electronic pleas for help and several friends responded. Problem was their responses came in Spanish.
I asked Google for help, and the response was in Spanish.
Finally, I found an English based suggestion that said to go to the upper right and click on the copyright notice. That didn't work but when I found a copyright notice in the lower left, I began to make progress.
At this writing, my home computer is again communicating with me in English. Should it revert to Spanish I'll know to check the lower left corner first.
With the temperature near the century mark this week, I suspect a number of our younger readers are staying near the air conditioners and passing the time playing computer games. I didn't have the privilege of doing that when I was a youngster.
The house was the last place I wanted to be on a hot summer day before air conditioning. Particularly in the kitchen helping my mother can fruits and vegetables.
I suspect most town kids went to the swimming pool every afternoon and evening but a country kid couldn't do that.
The river was probably a mile away and in the early years there were no ponds within walking distance. It was a good day when neighbors began building ponds. If I lived on Blauvelt's Hill today, there would be at least five ponds to play in not more than a mile away.
On occasion, I tried to cool off by playing in the water that filled the stock tank, but that wasn't very desirable. The tank was about four-feet in diameter and filled with slimy moss. I was envious of friends who had a large concrete stock tank. On occasion my father left me to play with them in the big tank while he delivered fuel to nearby farms.
Another farm family, a few miles away, lived along a spring fed creek which the youngsters often played in.
While growing up, I planned to build my dream home along a flowing creek.
I longed for the opportunity to help a farmer irrigate. I imagined it would be lots of fun getting to wade in the mud and water while setting tubes and adjusting dams. Older and wiser, I had opportunities to help with sprinkler systems. Didn't find that work fun at all. The fields were hot and sticky and we working on the system because it wasn't working.
Monday evening I watched a center pivot circling a field. I stopped and watched as the end gun sprayed water onto a field drive and wondered if today's farm kids ever play under the pivots. Seeing the pivot spraying water on a field reminded me of a giant splash pad. If there had been youngsters nearby, I would have asked them to play under the sprinkler while I took their pictures.
When I was a youngster, my family had two tents which could be pitched in the back yard. The smaller one was just my size. The larger one was big enough for a family. On hot summer nights, I often slept in whichever tent was pitched. My dog liked to join me but I wasn't sure if that was blessing or a curse. Afraid a wild creature might get me while sleeping outside, I always invited the dog to join me. But on a hot night a panting dog sharing your bed is not real pleasant.
I was envious of the big multi-story homes with sleeping porches. Though I never slept on a sleeping porch, I was certain they would be cool, bug free and out of the reach of an unwelcomed intruder.
I didn't consider that most of the homes with sleeping porches were located in town and town folks often rode out to the country on hot summer evenings to cool off.
The gasoline station was open to at least 8 p.m. on summer evenings, sometimes later. While I was complaining about having to work in the heat, town residents were stopping for gasoline and perhaps a bottle of soda pop or an ice cream bar and telling me, "It was so hot in town, we decided to take a drive into the country to cool off."


Country Roads, by Gloria Garman-Schlaefli

Birthdays are not an option; they come and go whether we want them to or not. The alternative to having birthdays is not a good choice. I observed another birthday recently and celebrated the day. Though it means confirming getting another year older, I have always enjoyed my special day.
Like most women, I never announce my new age and would like to think the clock stood still, but it hasn't. The ability to do some physical things, such as lifting a five gallon bucket full of water, jumping up from a squatted position or running to catch up with a paper that blew away from me, are becoming faulty. I remember taking my two boys shopping the whole day, and yet I came home, fixed supper and did some house cleaning, all without any extra effort at all. Well, not anymore.
Recently one of my youngest granddaughters was looking at my arms. She pointed out the small brown spots and innocently asked what they were and if they hurt. I explained to her that they are "age spots." I came from a time when everyone sought after a dark tan and didn't realize the consequences. As teens, we'd apply a combination of baby oil and iodine to our skin and sit in the hot sun for hours. Who knew that years later the sought after sun tan would turn into those age spots?
We baby boomers refuse to age and so we keep the cosmetic companies well endowed as we apply the latest anti-aging creams and lotions to our faces and bodies. We choose to wear flip flops or cute tennis shoes instead of the "sensible" lace up, black heeled shoes of our ancestors. We seek the latest fashions, and we work hard to keep the waist line in check. We spread sunscreen on our skin and wear wide brimmed hats to keep us from getting tanned or burned.
We complain about the complicated updates on the newest cell phones and computers, but we try our best to keep in tune with the times by purchasing the latest gadgets.
We try to walk more, sit less, eat healthy and take the vitamins that make us stronger, younger and fit. Most of the time we try not to act our age. We ride motorcycles, enter marathons, join health clubs and try to get more sleep. Seventy is indeed the new 50.
Anyway, like it or not, we age. Calendars are flipped and birthdays come and go. As children, we thought time moved so slowly. Now time seems to fly by. No matter, birthdays should be celebrated. It is not just another day like all the others. It's our special day. Throw a party with friends, make or purchase a birthday cake and celebrate.