A Wake for the Herndon Schools, the Ox Roast, and Family

June 29, 2004 - none, but some expected.
July 2, 2004 - correction to caption on pictures q11177m and 11190m.
July 12, 2004 - Not Yaks in q11079m. Scottish Highland Oxen, according to Tom Franke.
July 24, 2004 - Thanks to Kurt Grafel for an article in the Hays Daily News Nor'wester section on July 18 about the Scottish Highland Oxen Team in the picture 111079m. See below for more info. Also, the Herndon Standard Station in q11223m is still in business, also see below (also thanks to Tom Franke).
August 15, 2004 - Corrected a name on caption for q11004mc.
January 1, 2006 - Corrected spelling of a name

Herndon and the School

The alumni banquet at Herndon was probably the best-attended ever. There were reservations for 250 persons, a few of whom were unable to attend. The reason for the big turnout was probably two-fold. First, the past year was the last year of operation for the school, and second, the event was timed to coincide with the weekend of the latest edition of the justly-famous Herndon Ox Roast (the first was at least as long ago as 1914). Herndon, Kansas was founded in 1879, so this Ox Roast was a celebration of 125 years of existence of Herndon. BTW, Herndon was named for Abraham Lincoln's law partner, William Herndon. For more information than you ever wanted to know, see the following websites: The Wikipedia entry for Herndon has census information. I'm not sure how much longer the school web page will exist, but while it does it is here. The town of Herndon also has a website.

The Herndon School building, shown also here from the back will soon be for sale. Private school in a nice small Kansas town, anyone? The Herndon School has an illustrious academic past, with their Destination Imagination (formerly Olympics of the Mind, and Odyssey of the Mind, I think) having won first place in Kansas State competition a number of years, and the year 2000 team finished second in the global competition at Ames, IA.

Some of the other sights of the town include St. Mary's Church, the Immanuel Church of Christ, and the ball field (note the Immanuel Church in the background). The ballfield bleachers were built by the WPA in the 1930s, and included two or three barbeques past the outfield and near Ash Creek. Near the ballfield is this beautiful old windmill, also visible in the previous picture. Part of the Ox Roast celebration is this decoration on the Last Horse Thief and Das Movie Haus, next door to the Post Office. All decked out in its best Ox Roast garb is the Herndon Pool Hall, doing its best to only "look" expensive. The Standard service station is still in business, run by Robert J. Leitner. The pumps do not display prices over 99.9 cents/gallon, so add $1 (on some, maybe $2 on others). This was described to me as a helicopter that looks like a BBQ, but I thought it was a BBQ that looked like a helicopter. Ranging a bit further afield (no pun intended), this field of baled wheat testifies to how dry much of the area has been this spring.

School Reunion

An open house was held at the Herndon School on Friday afternoon. I was pleased to see my basketball (and every other sport) coach for my senior year, Bill Mahoney, and his wife, shown left and center. Certainly been more than 40 years since I saw them last! Also saw my high school (and college, and continuing) friend Hank Greeb, shown in front of the 1955 class pictures. Been more than a year since I saw him last, on the Highway 50 trip last year. Later on at the alumni banquet, we see Tom Cook, Marlene (Hutfles) Cook, Marvin Leitner, Hank Greeb, and Jeannette Greeb, while across the table from them are (again, front to back) are Myrna (Hartner) Pettera, Lianne Martin, Bob Martin, Richard Franke, Tom McLaren and Margaret (Sattler) McLaren.. After the dinner, we collected ourselves outside (just the classmates, no spouses) and got some shots of our 49th class reunion. When we came out from dinner there were 20 John Deere tractors gathered for the parade the next morning (you'll see many of these again). Skipping to Sunday, another classmate, Dale Allacher was at church and I took the picture of him (left) with Rev. Puff. Rev. Puff was the minister at the Immanuel Church from 1939-1942. I was a wee lad.

Ox Roast Day, June 12, 2004

The morning was partly cloudy, and this kept the temperature down most of the morning. According to the schedule the parade started at 10am, with the Color Guard leading the way. There were over 130 entries in the parade, but I've only picked out about one-third of them to display here. Pick and choose, probably depending on the speed of your connection to your Internet Service Provider (mine's slow). There were some ponies in the parade, some with offspring. A couple of riding toy combines cavorted down the street. Harking back to the picture of baled wheat, these may be sufficient to harvest some of the fields. There was a contingent of motorcyles in the parade. Now I said there would be some John Deeres, however I don't really think this is one of them, even though it's got the right color scheme. A number of old cars came through: Looks like a Ford Model A, then a Ford Model T (oh yeah, I might be guessing on some of these), another T, a T truck, and finally, a vintage Mustang driven by Ben Grafel. This entry commemorated the Herndon six-man football team for 2003-2004. They finished with a 7-2 record, being beat for the Nebraska/Kansas six man football championship by Wheeler Central, a consolidated school too large to play six man ball again. Wheeler Central also beat Herndon during the regular season. In the second game of the season, which Herndon won 40-28, Ben scored all 40 of Herndon's points. Ben was named to the Nebraska/Kansas allstate offense team at end.

But, back to the parade. Now come the John Deere tractors. One is a 1929 model, most are probably 30 years old, or more. The first (which I seem to recall is a 1937 model - my year!) still has steel wheels (lugs off), and this second shot may be wishful thinking. Continuing on, by the numbers, note the many members of the fairer sex (maybe he knows what he's talking about): 2, 3, 4, a look at what's coming, then 6, 7, 8, and 9. Now, in a little respite, we see a red one, a 1932 Farmall F-12, still on steel wheels (including lugs, but with a steel ring over the lugs). Now we have an orange Allis-Chalmers, followed by another John Deere ( 10), and a Minneapolis-Moline UTS on propane. I spent many happy (well, maybe not so happy) hours on an identical tractor in the 1950s.

Now for something completely different, for a while, we see the Shriner entry, with Rev. Puff (see above) in the passenger seat. An impressive line of emergency vehicles makes its way down the street next. These are followed by a Viper, courtesy of Tongish Auto Mart in Newton. Beamgard's brought their vintage Dodge tow truck down from Atwood for the day. This was followed by the Grafel Construction entry, driven by Karolyn, still kicking after three generations (the company, not Karolyn). Not far behind came the large contingent of horses, led by this team and buggy (with offspring), and followed by individual riders. Finally, along came Leah (Grafel) Atchley, then stopping to pick up daughter Miriam, who actually wasn't as put out about it as she looks. After a short while came Saeger and Roma Grafel. I don't know who the next entry was, but he had a cute colt alongside.

Whoops! How did that John Deere 11 get lined up here? It was followed by a Fordson, and an old Atwood Fire Truck. This flag display followed. The Terra-Gator spends much time in the field spraying, but took time out for a little parade.

And now for something REALLY completely different. I don't know if these are yaks, or not, but they look like yaks to me. But what do I know? EMail me if you know what they are and they are not yaks. (OK, I asked for it. Evan says they are Scottish Highland Cattle, and I'm inclined to agree with him. See this link. Thanks to Kurt Grafel for a clipping about these Scottish Highland Oxen. They are Gabriel, pulling on the left side, and Eric on the right, owned by Lon Sowers, of Gem, KS. The article also had the link to Blue Ox Farms, home of Babe, the Blue Ox of Paul Bunyan fame.). They didn't seem to spook the horse and buggy, nor this trick rider. Finally, last but not least is number 12, this one with tread on the steel wheels. (I note that I cut lots of John Deere pictures, but this is likely enough for all but the most avid John Deere aficianado).

Finally, the Roast Ox
I hurried over to the ballpark to watch the "unveiling" of the roast ox. Well, unveiling in this case meant removing from the pit the large pan containing the meat. Early the previous morning a couple of cords of wood were burned in a large pit in the ground. Late in the morning there was a tremendous mound of hot ashes in the pit, and the pan with the meat and seasonings was lowered into the pit, the pit covered over with sheet metal and sealed with earth. That I did not see this year, but I have in previous times. What I saw this year was the tractor with scoop removing the pan. Note the still hot ashes in the pit. It looks like they had plenty of spare firewood. Finally, the pan was opened revealing this giant pot roast. According to my sources, three beeves were slaughtered for this party. Not sure they were fatted calves, but I and many others had returned. There was a long line (actually four lines, not all the same length. The most convenient to those coming from downtown is shown in this sequence of shots that I tried to stitch into one long line. I heard (I think reasonable) estimates that there were 3000-4000 people in attendance at various things during the day. More pictures taken during the day will appear below under Pictures of Family. During the afternoon, the Prairie Statesman Barbershop Chorus entertained the crowd.
Other events
One other outstanding and traditional event is the outhouse race. It was expanded this year to include the "porcelain potty" class, I gather. Trust me, you can tell the difference. The entries are pictured here, in no particular order,just as I shot them. one, two, three (OK, I admit it, I give special attention to the Grafel entry, powered by Ben, Rusty, Egan, and Kyle, with Saeger riding the throne), four, five (well, I guess there was a rickshaw class), six, seven, eight, and, finally, nine. The winner is (as shown). I suppose the rickshaw won its class. The Grafel entry is better unmentioned at this point, but I have to hope that maybe those stabilty problems will get ironed out before the next race. I never said "better unmentioned" meant "unmentioned".

In the evening, a street dance was held. No pictures. Fireworks at midnight, but I was resting up for the next day by then.

Pictures of Family

There was, alas, no giant family picture, but I got pictures of almost all persons I am related to that were in Herndon that weekend. Some many times, some few times, and one person not at all (but I'll put up an older one of him). I'm posting them in the order taken, which is indicative of nothing whatsoever.

Avidly watching the parade are (seated) Sydney Grafel, person unknown, Emily Atchley, Miriam Atchley, and Kiouri (spelling may not be right; she's from Tokyo, was an exchange student some years ago with Kyle and Cindi Grafel, and came for just a few days for the alumni banquet and Ox Roast). In the background are JoAnn Franke (in chair), Joan Grafel, Roger Franke, and Don Grafel (all standing). After the parade I caught Don Grafel at the ballpark. Waiting in line for the roast ox are Kaprice, JoAnn, Roger, and Joan, Frankes all. The hand waver trying to get attention in the background belongs to Tom Franke, official Ox Roast photographer. After the meal, Kurt Grafel and Kaprice Franke enjoyed the sunshine, while the shade was more in vogue with Cindi Grafel, Randy Atchley, and Kiouri. Having more fun are Miriam Atchley, and Rachel and Sarah Grafel, while Cindi seems to be tolerating it all. In another part of the park, Leah Atchley, and Brenda and Aaron VanHorn watch Jonathan Franke. Karen Smith and granddaughter Ashley Laurie (my grandniece) are taking it easy at Don Grafel's house. Awaiting the outhouse races, Sydney and Keith Grafel pose downtown. Later, out on the Franke farm, we see JD, Brenda, Aaron, and Candaesa VanHorn, and Bonnie and David Franke (just couldn't get them to stay still, or something). Worked a bit better with Brian and Tracy Franke.

The next day after church there was a potluck dinner, where I took many pictures. First, a wide view with (L2R) Kristin and Kourtney Grafel, Marilyn Kastens, Teryn, Kayla, Kurt, Saeger, Keith, and Roma Grafel, and Bonnie Franke. Kayla and Kourtney are real track and field stars. On the day of the Ox Roast they were at the Kansas State AAU meet, where Kayla took first in the long jump and the high jump, and fifth in the triple jump and the hundred meter hurdles. Kourtney took second in the shot put, and thirteenth in the long jump. Subsequently, on June 25-26, at the Missouri Vally meet, Kayla took second in the long jump and the high jump, fourth in the hurdles, and fifth in the triple jump. Kourtney took first in the shot put (yeh, can you believe that "little" girl did that!). Anyone in the top four at the Missouri Valley meet qualified for the Regional meet in Joplin, MO this weekend (July 2-3), and anyone that finishes in the top four there goes to the AAU Junior Olympics in Des Moines, IA. Go get 'em, K-girls!

Ready to line up for the potluck are (always, L2R) Teryn Grafel, Roger Franke, Saeger, Roma, Kristin, Kourtney, Egan, Kayla, and Kurt Grafel. Rylee Powell enjoys the spoon, while dad, Tyson, and brother, Dryden look on. Mom Andrea was there beside Tyson and Rylee. Katie and Heath Franke hammed it up a bit for the camera. Not sure whether Roma, Ben, Egan, and Rusty Grafel were hamming it up or not. Serious is the only way to describe this picture of Rylee Powell with grandparents Tom and Kay Franke. I caught Heath and Jonathan Franke in a nice pose. This picture with me and (some of) my grandnephews, Egan, Saeger, Rusty, and Teryn Grafel. Oh, speaking of Egan and Teryn. They took tenth place for Oberlin at the state track meet. Egan got third in the triple jump, while Teryn took first in the 110m hurdles and third in the 300m hurdles. Even though no one else scored for Oberlin, this was enough for tenth place for Oberlin in class 2A. Way to go!

Here's some other grandnephews and grandnieces, with their mothers: Spencer, Nathan, and Michelle Romberg, and Tamela, Emily, and Ashley Laurie. Then some of the kids thought they had missed out "acting crazy", so here they are, acting crazy. Speaking of grandnieces, here are two more, Kristyn (Grafel) Clapp, and Karolyn Grafel. Wrapping things up soon, here are Kyle, Kurt, Cindi, and Karolyn Grafel. Actually wrapping things up, I dug up this year-old picture of Kent Grafel, who somehow managed to elude my picture-taking that day.

The Springs and Sunset

Sunday afternoon David and I stopped by the Springs. I got some nostalgic shots (and some others). Here is a beaver dam, with a nice pool of water behind it. Other evidence of beavers is seen in this girdled tree. The Springs is a place of death and renewal and here a willow tree has succumbed to natural forces. I heard the "kreee" of a red tail hawk, and I'm always a sucker for trying to get a picture (this isn't my best). David took a picture of me in an old grove of trees. Here's another shot of death and renewal. The shot David took of me was toward the creek. This shot of David is in the opposite direction.

After Sunday supper at Tom's, we were back at David's for a colorful sunset. As you know, I'm also a sucker for sunset pictures. Here's a set of three: sunset 1, sunset 2, and sunset 3.

Miscellaneous and Heading for Home

David and Bonnie have a new house. Yep, it's on wheels, pulled by a new Chevy Duramax Diesel with Allison tranny. The livingroom and bedroom have slide-out walls that roomy things up a bit. Incidentally, the red car in the previous picture was my $9.99/day rental from Enterprise, in North Platte, NE.

Monday morning I went to Cambridge, NE with David. While he has his tooth taken care of, I found this wonderful old house just a block off of the main street (US6/34). Finally, on the way back to North Platte, I stopped at the Stone Church north of Herndon. As you can see, the Stone Church was built in 1892. It still has an outhouse. North of McCook, NE, I stopped and took pictures of the vast prairie in opposite directions. North Platte was the home of Buffalo Bill Cody, and this is commemorated in a (just a little!) kitchsy establishment. However, it is also memorialized in a city park, one of the features of which is this locomotive 3977, said to be the only one in existence. In the air toward Denver, I took this picture just north of the North Platte River Valley , at its intersection with another valley coming in from the north (on the right).

I was back home safe and sound and 8 pounds heavier that evening. Well, I'm kidding about the 8 pounds, but it wasn't because I didn't try.

Hope you enjoyed this report, and if you did, don't be bashful about letting me know at dick@richardfranke.com. Also, if you see any errors, or any names I need to add, let me know (I expect some, as you saw at the beginning) at the same eddress.