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Honoring Siouxland’s Veterans, Quimby

7 Jun

This past Memorial Day I visited a cemetery outside the small Siouxland community of Quimby, which has a population or around 300 people.

Members of the Quimby American Legion Post 398 stand at attention during the playing of Taps at a Memorial Day service at Grandview Cemetery south of Quimby Iowa. Members include from left Ken Hasellhoff, Tim Preuss, Terry Sargent, Commander Ron Bush and Richard Ravnsborg Monday May 28, 2018. Bush said as members die, there are fewer remaining members in the Post to participate in various ceremonies. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Having worked for newspapers a number of years, I have attended many Memorial Day services.  It doesn’t matter if it’s a large service attended by hundreds or a small service, the impact is always the same, the reverence for those who serve.

What struck me though this Memorial Day is the number of veterans who form the Color Guard. In talking with the Quimby American Legion Post Commander Ron Bush, the number of local veterans available for such duty is dwindling. This year’s event members were performing “double duty” since there were only five of them.

Retiring the Colors after a Memorial Day service are Quimby American Legion Post 398 members from left, Ken Hasellhoff, Tim Preuss and Terry Sargent, at Grandview Cemetery south of Quimby Iowa, Monday May 28, 2018. Post Commander Ron Bush said as older post members die, it becomes harder to find locals who served to fulfill the need of ceremonies like Memorial Day and burial details. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Members of the Quimby American Legion Post 398 fire a gun salute during the Memorial Day service at Grandview Cemetery south of Quimby Iowa. Members include from left Ken Hasellhoff, Tim Preuss, Terry Sargent, Commander Ron Bush and Richard Ravnsborg Monday May 28, 2018. Bush said as members die, there are fewer remaining members in the Post to participate in various ceremonies. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

As the current members get older and pass away, there seems to be fewer available veterans in small communities to fill their positions to honor their fellow service men and women and attend other activities such as high school football games where most times there is a presentation of the flag before the game starts and during the playing of the National Anthem.

No one I have talked with over the years about this particular situation seems to have an answer. Only concerns. And one wonders who will be present when their time comes and they are laid to rest, to honor them with a Color Guard and pay respect.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Quimby American Legion Post 398 members Terry Sargent left and Post Commander Ron Bush attach another flag dedicated to an area resident who served in the military during the Memorial Day service at Grandview Cemetery south of Quimby Iowa, Monday May 28, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A quiet rural scene commemorates a Memorial Day service conducted by the Quimby American Legion Post 398 at Grandview Cemetery south of Quimby Iowa, Monday May 28, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Warm Weather in Siouxland, Sioux City

1 Jan

Like much of the country, Siouxland is caught in the current arctic vortex with air temperature hovering below zero in the single and double digits for a few days. It was sad recently to see buds forming and beginning to leaf on a neighbor’s tree before the cold spell hit. I  haven’t checked the tree recently but can’t imagine the bud will survive to spring. The weather has definitely been wacky and hopes are that it will become a little more moderate. Winter in the 20’s and 30’s temperature wise is great and fun to be outdoors. But single digits and below zero with frost bit setting in within 10 minutes is not so delightful.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Warm “winter” weather has some trees producing leaves from buds Wednesday, Dec. 20, 2017 in Sioux City, Iowa. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga)

Celebrating a Siouxland Christmas at the Pioneer Village, Le Mars

24 Dec

I make an effort every year to attend the Lighted Parade held in Le Mars but sometimes fate just doesn’t allow it to happen. This year I acquired a stomach bug which dampened my enthusiasm and ability to attend. One of the side benefits of attending the parade is to then head over to the Christmas at Pioneer Village located at the Plymouth County Fairground in Le Mars where it is outfitted with lights, kids can visit Santa and there are wagon rides, decorated trees and a Round Barn filled with everything Christmas one can imagine.

People through a decorated Christmas scene at Pioneer Village at the Plymouth County Fairgrounds Saturday, Dec. 9, 2017 in Le Mars, Iowa. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga)

Families take pictures of their children sitting on Santa’s lap at Christmas at Pioneer Village at the Plymouth County Fairgrounds Saturday, Dec. 9, 2017 in Le Mars, Iowa. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga)

People clambor off and others wait to get on for a wagon ride during the Christmas at Pioneer Village at the Plymouth County Fairgrounds Saturday, Dec. 9, 2017 in Le Mars, Iowa. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga)

While it is true that Christmas is not everyone’s favorite holiday for various reasons, it’s nice to believe people are thinking about happier occasions in getting together with family or friends and stepping away, if possible, from the daily happenings in life, if only for a short while. The festive lights, various decorations and other accoutrements are a nice diversion. And I personally enjoy them even when ill from some bug.

An assortment of Christmas decorations can be found in the Round Barn during the Christmas at Pioneer Village at the Plymouth County Fairgrounds Saturday, Dec. 9, 2017 in Le Mars, Iowa. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga)

A couple checks out an illuminated Christmas tree in the Round Barn at Christmas at Pioneer Village at the Plymouth County Fairgrounds Saturday, Dec. 9, 2017 in Le Mars, Iowa. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga)

And it’s nice to see a community help its residents and area guests celebrate the season and forget some cares for an hour or two and think happier times.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Sprucing up for Christmas in Siouxland, Small Towns

22 Dec

I find it fun driving around Siouxland during a holiday season like Christmas and seeing what a community has done to spruce itself up to celebrate. Like in Anthon where a decorated Christmas tree sits in the thoroughfare going through the downtown area.

A Christmas tree sits at the end of downtown and across from City Hall in Anthon, Iowa, Saturday, Dec. 16, 2017 in Sioux City, Iowa. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga)

Different communities do similar and slightly different things for its residents. Almost all communities hang decorations on light poles as others have lights to brighten the overnight.

Holiday decorations light the early evening in Akron, Iowa Wednesday Nov. 29, 2017. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga)

A Christmas ornament on display in Mapleton, Iowa Tuesday Nov. 28, 2017. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga)

And while not taking an unscientific poll, I would guess most if not all residents approve of the decorations and may even help to celebrate Christmas like a business in the downtown area of Correctionville.

Holiday Christmas decorations in store windows in Correctionville, Iowa, Saturday, Dec. 16, 2017 in Sioux City, Iowa. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga)

And while the area really hasn’t gotten its first dusting or heavy snowfall yet, one can almost bet that it’s on its way and will just add to the Christmas spirit, until the shovel comes out for a little snow removal.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Celebrating Christmas in Siouxland, Akron

16 Dec

No matter the place, large or small, or the person, adult or child, Christmas is just a joyous occasion in Siouxland. And Akron has started its own tradition hosting a third annual Chamber visit by Santa Claus who kicked off the event with a tree lighting and had children anticipating telling him what they wanted this year to find under their own Christmas tree.

Santa and Mrs. Claus light up the Christmas tree during their visit during the third annual Akron Area Chamber of Commerce’s Hometown Christmas in Akron, Iowa Wednesday Nov. 29, 2017. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga)

Parents take snap shots of their children with Santa and Mrs. Claus while others peek as they wait their turn during the third annual Akron Area Chamber of Commerce’s Hometown Christmas in Akron, Iowa Wednesday Nov. 29, 2017. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga)

Smaller communities invest their time in celebrating holidays for its residents. Santa arrived in style in a fire truck. The library hosted a Santa and Mrs. Claus greet and meet with the children and downtown businesses opened their doors and served treats and hot chocolate. The downtown area was dressed to the nines.

Downtown Akron decorated in a festive holiday mood for the third annual Akron Area Chamber of Commerce’s Hometown Christmas in Akron, Iowa Wednesday Nov. 29, 2017. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga)

Lights and decorations make downtown Akron a festive place during the third annual Akron Area Chamber of Commerce’s Hometown Christmas in Akron, Iowa Wednesday Nov. 29, 2017. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga)

Even if only for a couple of hours, cares and worries are replaced with celebration and anticipation. One joyful fulfillment so far for me is that I can attend these events without driving through any snow, yet. But it’s coming. Maybe Christmas Eve, or possibly sooner, but a Siouxland Christmas doesn’t generally go by without some cold and snow.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

 

Celebrating Christmas in Siouxland, Plymouth County Museum

12 Dec

During the Christmas holiday, it is hard to escape the celebration. In the Midwest, Iowa and Siouxland people celebrate Christmas. Lights are up most places and Christmas music fills the air. Every year at the Plymouth County Museum it hosts a Nativity set display and a number of community members lend their displays for others to view. It is pretty amazing how many different examples of nativity sets there are.

A variety of nativity scenes are on display at the Plymouth County Historical Museum in Le Mars, Iowa Saturday Nov. 25, 2017. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga)

A variety of nativity scenes are on display at the Plymouth County Historical Museum in Le Mars, Iowa Saturday Nov. 25, 2017. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga)

These nativity scenes are made out of a variety of material and hail from a plethora of locations all honoring the birth of Jesus. The craftmanship used to create some of these scenes are pretty amazing.

A variety of nativity scenes are on display at the Plymouth County Historical Museum in Le Mars, Iowa Saturday Nov. 25, 2017. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga)

A variety of nativity scenes are on display at the Plymouth County Historical Museum in Le Mars, Iowa Saturday Nov. 25, 2017. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga)

The display takes up the most of the top floor of the museum, formerly a local high school. So it is a large space. I always find museums are fun places to visit. One can learn about the past, the present and people’s state of mind by viewing exhibits. And it’s a nice place to divert one’s attention on a blustery day reveling in the moment of a momentous holiday to some.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Singing Christmas Carols in Siouxland, Nora SD

8 Dec

Around Thanksgiving I attended a Christmas carol sing-a-long in a small community in South Dakota in Siouxland. In Nora, SD music enthusiast and Christmas lover Mike Pederson invites people to come to a former general store and share in the spirit of Christmas.

Mike performs on a pipe organ in the store which he has been doing for 28 years, and is accompanied by a violinist and the voices of people who travel near and far to join in song and celebration of Christmas. The last sing-a-longs will be occurring soon and a real treat, it’s worth a drive.

Mike Pederson plays a pipe organ that sits in the store during the Christmas sing-a-long at Nora, SD Sunday Nov. 26, 2017. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga)

The Nora General Store in Nora, SD, sits along a state highway and is listed on the National Register of Historic, which occurred in 2007. A Christmas sing-a-long has taken place for 28 years at the Nora store, Sunday Nov. 26, 2017. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga)

It is fun to meet people and sing with them, even if your voice sounds better in your head than in real life, like my own. Christmas is a season for rejoicing and sharing and the comradery with happy faces and voices is amazing. Mike would love to have you stop by and join in the fun. However, get there very early, otherwise you might find yourself listening in through the open front doors on a pleasant day, and through the doors on a day with temps in the teens and snow on the ground.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

With the seating and standing room full inside the store, others stand around the front door for the Christmas sing-a-long to sing carols at Nora, SD Sunday Nov. 26, 2017. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga)

 

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