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Wistful Christmas Memories in Siouxland, Durham Museum, Omaha

6 Mar

Celebrating Christmas in a big way at the Durham Museum, formerly a Union Station, in Omaha, NE Monday, Dec. 10, 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Although spring will officially start soon here in Siouxland, winter still has its grip on the region with air temperatures hovering just above zero and for a few days below zero without any windchill. Which makes me a little wistful for the Christmas holiday season because it was relatively “warm”, all things considered at the moment. It’s hard when cabin fever sets in and one wants to get out and photograph, but that darn cold air somewhat takes the fun out of it.

When visiting the Durham Museum this past December there was a magnificent Christmas tree on display. And looking at a photograph doesn’t quite give it justice, unless of course there are people seen in the photo.

Perspective sometimes gives one pause, like seeing a giant Christmas Tree at the Durham Museum, formerly a Union Station, in Omaha, NE Monday, Dec. 10, 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

I enjoy the re-enacted scenes in bronze that grace various areas around the what was the grand hall or waiting room at the former Union Station in Omaha, NE. And enjoy it even more when serendipity allows one to capture life imitating art imitating life. Sometimes it’s just good to be lucky.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Feeling at home with a display at the Durham Museum, formerly a Union Station, in Omaha, NE Monday, Dec. 10, 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A Lighted Parade in Siouxland, Le Mars

26 Dec

Santa and Mrs. Claus wave to those attending the Christmas Lighted Parade in Le Mars, Iowa Saturday, Dec. 8, 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

People bundled up against the cold attending the Christmas Lighted Parade in Le Mars, Iowa Saturday, Dec. 8, 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Despite the cold people lined the streets to watch the Christmas Lighted Parade in Le Mars, Iowa Saturday, Dec. 8, 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

The Lighted Parade that is an annual event in Le Mars was postponed a week because of a snow storm that basically brought the area, and actually most of the country, to a stand still. The storm basically shut down I-29 and many secondary county and state roads. A lot of events were cancelled. However, the parade happened the following week. There was less snow, but the cold and a crisp wind made for a very chilly night as people bundled up to watch those parade floats that participated in the second attempt.

Parade participants grab for more candy to pass out during the Christmas Lighted Parade in Le Mars, Iowa Saturday, Dec. 8, 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Everyone bundled up for the cold to watch and ride in the Christmas Lighted Parade in Le Mars, Iowa Saturday, Dec. 8, 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

And later there is always the visiting of the Pioneer Christmas Village at the Plymouth County Fairground. A brisk walk and ride for those so inclined to sit behind chilled horses giving “sleigh rides”. And a few watch fires to roast marshmallows and warm hands and feet.

Christmas lights lit up the Pioneer Village Christmas at the Plymouth County Fairgrounds in Le Mars, Iowa Saturday, Dec. 8, 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

An attendant feeds a fire at the Plymouth County Fairgrounds Pioneer Village Christmas in Le Mars, Iowa Saturday, Dec. 8, 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

When thoroughly chilled, I ducked inside a couple of places to view Christmas decorations and to see decorated Christmas trees. But inside where the trees and a few dozens other people kept fogging my camera lens which gave a hazy appearance that was not really the case indoors. But still a delight to see many happy people anticipating the day, and especially kids, whose eyes still grow wide seeing Santa decorations in the Round Barn and also in person, granting those last timed wishes for Christmas morning.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

A variety Christmas decorations greeted people inside the Round Barn at the Plymouth County Fairground’s Pioneer Village Christmas in Le Mars, Iowa Saturday, Dec. 8, 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Camera lenses fogged up inside a pavilion where decorated Christmas trees were located for the Pioneer Village Christmas in Le Mars, Iowa Saturday, Dec. 8, 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

 

Enjoying a Community Christmas Celebration in Siouxland, Remsen

20 Dec

Most small communities in Siouxland enjoy a collective Christmas celebration before retreating into homes or churches to celebrate the holiday with family and friends. Visiting the small community of Remsen and seeing the fun people have just gives one a little more faith in humanity and people’s shared bonds.

The community of Remsen, Iowa celebrates Christmas a little early, Monday Dec. 3, 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

The downtown area is decked out with decorations during a Christmas community celebration in Remsen, Iowa Monday Dec. 3, 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Community residents got together in the downtown area to revel in the upcoming holiday celebration with stores open and serving hot drinks and cookies while others stayed outside and snag carols and enjoyed the chill in the air along with a few well positioned watch fires.

Watch fires keep residents warm during a chilly evening as they have a Christmas community celebration in Remsen, Iowa Monday Dec. 3, 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Local fire department members roast marshmallows for the kids during a Christmas community celebration in Remsen, Iowa Monday Dec. 3, 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Local school children sing carols during a Christmas community celebration in Remsen, Iowa Monday Dec. 3, 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Some well-meaning firemen who kept the fires burning were a little too over-enthusiastic in providing roasted marshmallows, trying to mitigate the effect of the fires before handing them off to recipients.

One local fire fighter, center, was having a little too much success roasting marshmallows as he blows out the flaming pair during a Christmas community celebration in Remsen, Iowa Monday Dec. 3, 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

And then the moment arrives when the Big Guy, Santa, arrives, the downtown Christmas tree is lit and admirers rush to see the jolly elf.

After santa’s arrival and with the watch fires lit, the community Christmas tree lights up the night during a Christmas community celebration in Remsen, Iowa Monday Dec. 3, 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Santa greets some admirers after being dropped off downtown by the local fire department during a Christmas community celebration in Remsen, Iowa Monday Dec. 3, 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

After that it’s a trip to the local museum where St. Nick sits and poses for photos with a never ending supply of fans waiting their turn to ask for special gifts and savor a moment that most every child in Siouxland has probably experienced once, if not more, in their lifetime.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Parents juggle jackets and phone cameras as Santa juggles kids for pictures during a Christmas community celebration in Remsen, Iowa Monday Dec. 3, 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Parents and grandparents and children crowd into the local museum to see Santa during a Christmas community celebration in Remsen, Iowa Monday Dec. 3, 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

The local museum was full to capacity as parents and children waited their turn to see the Big Guy in Red during a Christmas community celebration in Remsen, Iowa Monday Dec. 3, 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Celebrating Art in Siouxland, Art Splash in Sioux City

6 Sep

Each fall around Labor Day the Sioux City Art Center puts on an art celebration in Siouxland known as Art Splash. A juried group of various types of artists from around the region set up booths to display their wares for people to buy. And most people, depending on the weather, come out to enjoy what’s there and some go home happier with newly acquired pieces of art.

Visitors browse the artists’ booths during the 25th anniversary of Art Splash at Riverside Park in Sioux City, Iowa Saturday, Sept. 1, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Joseph Murray of Jefferson, Iowa sits among his paintings during the 25th anniversary of Art Splash at Riverside Park in Sioux City, Iowa Saturday, Sept. 1, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

The location of the event has changed over the years. Up until 2011 it was held in a park along the Missouri River, when during that year the hundred year flood forced a relocation. Then it was held in Grandview Park, where the hills may have presented a challenge for people to walk up and down to view the artists.

Now in its 25th year, the event is at Riverside Park, nestled among a flat woodland area that later hosts the community’s Riverssance Festival as well. I enjoy going each year just to see what people are doing. At this point in my life I have fewer needs for more things, and the ability to afford art now is prohibitive for me personally. But it doesn’t mean one can’t draw inspiration and enjoy a day out and see what creative people are doing. And the artists are not limited to just visual arts. One artist, Paul Imholte, bills himself as a stringman and plays a variety of instruments.

Artists’ booth sit among a grove of trees during the 25th anniversary of Art Splash at Riverside Park in Sioux City, Iowa Saturday, Sept. 1, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Stringman Paul Imholte performs on a hammer dulcimer during the 25th anniversary of Art Splash at Riverside Park in Sioux City, Iowa Saturday, Sept. 1, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

And different people take away from the event different experiences that may be portraits or time spent with family. Even during those years of inclement weather, people can still enjoy what is offered.

Chun Wang of Shawnee KS works on a sketch of Ben Honomichl of Jefferson, SD during the 25th anniversary of Art Splash at Riverside Park in Sioux City, Iowa Saturday, Sept. 1, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A mother and son enjoy a bit of lunch along with a number of their closest friends during the 25th anniversary of Art Splash at Riverside Park in Sioux City, Iowa Saturday, Sept. 1, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Art Splash makes for a nice Labor Day weekend activity both for the artists and area residents who are supporting people who also labor, but in a creative manner adding another oft times needed dimension to life.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

The Sioux CIty Growth Organization decorated their booth with balloons to draw attention to themselves during the 25th anniversary of Art Splash at Riverside Park in Sioux City, Iowa Saturday, Sept. 1, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Two young artists due their best to add to an already colorful pickup truck to make an overcast and rainy 25th anniversary of Art Splash more memorable which was held at Riverside Park in Sioux City, Iowa Saturday, Sept. 1, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Vvian Miller of Akron, IA talks with a couple interested attendees during the 25th anniversary of Art Splash at Riverside Park in Sioux City, Iowa Saturday, Sept. 1, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Celebrating the Fourth of July in Siouxland, Storm Lake

7 Jul

This recent July 4 I visited Storm Lake and its July 4 celebration in Siouxland , at least its parade and a few other activities during the holiday. The small community has become a melting pot of diversity and embraced the many heritages that make up its community.

Thousands of visitors watch the parade and celebrate the Fourth of July in Storm Lake, Iowa Wednesday July 4, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Becoming a melting pot as a community, a number of nationalities now live and celebrate the Fourth of July in Storm Lake, Iowa Wednesday July 4, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Everyone was showing his/her patriotic enthusiasm, some a little more than others as one former resident was looking to sell his oil paintings during the holiday gathering along the lake front. Others showed their support through the many flags on floats and dressing in red, white and blue.

Charles Bade, Denver, Co and former Storm Lake resident, dresses the part for celebrating the Fourth of July as he sells oil paintings in Storm Lake, Iowa Wednesday July 4, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Mascots for a band performing in the parade were decorated in red, white and blue balloons while celebrating the Fourth of July in Storm Lake, Iowa Wednesday July 4, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Many floats and vehicles participating in the parade were decked out with flags as they celebrate the Fourth of July in Storm Lake, Iowa Wednesday July 4, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Even gathering storm clouds couldn’t deter people from attending and enjoying the parade and other festivities for the day which also included an artist’s row.

Storms clouds started gathering after a parade celebrating the Fourth of July in Storm Lake, Iowa Wednesday July 4, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

On a very hot and muggy day with a high heat index some people came prepared as they watched the parade and celebrated the Fourth of July in Storm Lake, Iowa Wednesday July 4, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A tuba player entertains the crowd with various patriotic tunes as they celebrate the Fourth of July in Storm Lake, Iowa Wednesday July 4, 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

But with so much white noise going on in this country these days and rhetoric that people use to make us as a nation more divided than united, it was refreshing to see one community come together and share their respective heritage with each other and visitors showing people what actually makes this country a great nation.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

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)

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