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Attending a Community Celebration near Siouxland, Cinco de Mayo, Omaha, NE

5 Jun

Parade participants dance and perform during the Cinco de Mayo parade in south Omaha, NE Saturday May 7, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

I always love a nice parade, even if I need to drive a bit outside of Siouxland to see one. In early May a Cinco de Mayo parade was held in South Omaha celebrating Mexico’s victory of France in a battle that occurred in the 1860’s. According to a history site the celebration, while a minor kind of celebration in Mexico, Cinco de Mayo is a celebration of note for Mexican culture and heritage in the United States.

Parade participants dance and perform during the Cinco de Mayo parade in south Omaha, NE Saturday May 7, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

People line the streets to watch the Cinco de Mayo parade in south Omaha, NE Saturday May 7, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Parade participants dance and perform during the Cinco de Mayo parade in south Omaha, NE Saturday May 7, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

And like most parades these days, this one had its own pace to maintain, and also allow various organizations and parade participants a chance to perform and share their culture with those watching. One interesting side note is that candy and other items that are normally tossed with abandoned and the hopes it falls outside of the parade route at those parades I have attended in the past in Siouxland, was forbidden at this parade. Folk with stuff had to actually walk over to those on the sidewalk and hand the candy or items to the people so there would be no issues with kids running into the streets to retrieve the goods. Of many parades I have attended I have seen a few near misses of tires and small children colliding with no one apparently “minding the store” to ensure safety.

It was a nice way to spend a day and to appreciate another culture and heritage of this melting pot we call the United States.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

A parade participant reaches for more candy to hand out to children during the Cinco de Mayo parade in south Omaha, NE Saturday May 7, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Two Caballeros ride their horses during the Cinco de Mayo parade in south Omaha, NE Saturday May 7, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A person holds a Mexican flag during the Cinco de Mayo parade in south Omaha, NE Saturday May 7, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Dressed in costume evoking a historical person parade participants walks during the Cinco de Mayo parade in south Omaha, NE Saturday May 7, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Dressed in costume evoking a historical person a parade participant walks during the Cinco de Mayo parade in south Omaha, NE Saturday May 7, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Parade participants dance and perform during the Cinco de Mayo parade in south Omaha, NE Saturday May 7, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Parade participants dance and perform during the Cinco de Mayo parade in south Omaha, NE Saturday May 7, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

an attendee snaps a camera phone picture during the Cinco de Mayo parade in south Omaha, NE Saturday May 7, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

An area marching band parades in front of carnival at the Cinco de Mayo parade in south Omaha, NE Saturday May 7, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Springtime Visitors in Siouxland, Migration Guests Passing Through, Sioux City

3 Jun

A black warbler sits in a tree in the backyard of a residence in Sioux City, Iowa Sunday, May 8, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

This spring seemed a little unusual for Siouxland, at least my part of it, in that I found a number of birds passing through of which I had not seen before. A birding friend informed me that some of these birds are found in other areas, within a few miles actually of me, but I had never noticed them in my neighborhood previously. Then again, I might not paid attention.

A black warbler looks for food in a tree in the backyard of a residence in Sioux City, Iowa Sunday, May 8, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A black and white warbler looks for food on a tree in the backyard of a residence in Sioux City, Iowa Sunday, May 8, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

But with the unusual stuff going on the last couple of years and as I have hung out in my backyard more maybe my attention to guests stopping by is more acute. It certainly makes it more interesting and fun photographically. Practice makes for better bird photos and lord knows I need that. Some of these little critters are very challenging to stop action and get clear shots as they flit about trees and bushes just beginning to leaf.

A rose-breasted grosbeak checks out the scene around some feeders in the backyard of a residence in Sioux City, Iowa Sunday, May 8, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A rose-breasted grosbeak checks out the scene around some feeders in the backyard of a residence in Sioux City, Iowa Sunday, May 8, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A female Rose-breasted Grosbeak sits on a suet feeder in the backyard of a residence in Sioux City, Iowa Sunday, May 8, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

And for the most part, I saw the birds traveling in pairs or more groupings. There were 2-3 couples of the Rose-breasted Grosbeak birds that hung out for 2-3 days, then I didn’t see them again. The bird song as well was noticeable with different sounds that I have previously encountered while sitting and watching and listening.

A yellow warbler looks for food among the newly formed leaves on a tree branch in the backyard of a residence in Sioux City, Iowa Tuesday May 10, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A yellow warbler looks for food among the newly formed leaves on a tree in the backyard of a residence in Sioux City, Iowa Tuesday May 10, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A yellow warbler cleans itself on a tree branch in the backyard of a residence in Sioux City, Iowa Tuesday May 10, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

And although I think the birds who might be passing through have done just that, I am looking forward to my local residents hanging out this summer and the chance to photograph them again. Of course I don’t have a pool for them to stop by and enjoy, but I promise treats.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

A male Brown-headed Cowbird eats at a feeder in the backyard of a residence in Sioux City, Iowa Tuesday May 10, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A female Brown-headed Cowbird sits on a branch before checking for food in the backyard of a residence in Sioux City, Iowa Sunday, May 8, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A Grey Catbird sits on a suet feeder in the backyard of a residence in Sioux City, Iowa Tuesday May 10, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Enjoying a Day out in Siouxland, Badger Lake, Whiting

1 Jun

Seeing double as two Canada geese clean themselves after bathing in a pond at Badger lake near Whiting, Iowa Saturday, April 2, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Some days in Siouxland I find myself checking out a location just to see what I might find. These days I don’t expect to make spectacular photographs or even interesting ones. It’s just nice to be outside, without freezing one’s a____ off and enjoying a drive.

Blue-winged Teal ducks sit in the sunshine in a pond at Badger lake near Whiting, Iowa Saturday, April 2, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A Canada goose refreshes itself in a pond at Badger lake near Whiting, Iowa Saturday, April 2, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A Canada goose sends water on its wings after immersing itself underwater in a pond at Badger lake near Whiting, Iowa Saturday, April 2, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A Canada goose heads for shallow water after bathing in a pond at Badger lake near Whiting, Iowa Saturday, April 2, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

I do like swinging by Badger Lake in rural Monona County. The water levels had been very low, then have increased with some recent rain showers and so while no overly populated as during a heavy migration period, there are still some water fowl taking advantage of the almost “exclusive” availability of the watering hole. No crowding, “elbowing” for space. Just a nice relaxing spring day to enjoy.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

American coots enjoy a swim in a pond at Badger lake near Whiting, Iowa Saturday, April 2, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

American coots enjoy a swim in the sunshine in a pond at Badger lake near Whiting, Iowa Saturday, April 2, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Remembering on Memorial Day in Siouxland, Ireton

30 May

Organized by the American Legion Bertram Post #276 community volunteers assist in putting out flags alongside 197 white crosses that represent all of the veterans buried since WWI to present at the Pleasant Hill Cemetery in Ireton, Iowa Saturday, May 28, 2022, prior to Monday’s Memorial Day service. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Memorial Day in Siouxland is remembered by a large majority of folk. It always seems a bittersweet kind of memory. And with the recent spate of mass murder shootings the remembrance is not going to get any easier.

Originally designed to remember those who had fought during the Civil War, Memorial Day today seems to embrace remembering those who served their country and also for the loved ones who are no longer with us.

Organized by the American Legion Bertram Post #276 community volunteers erected 197 white crosses that represent all of the veterans buried since WWI to present at the Pleasant Hill Cemetery in Ireton, Iowa Saturday, May 28, 2022, prior to Monday’s Memorial Day service. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Organized by the American Legion Bertram Post #276 community volunteers erected 197 white crosses that represent all of the veterans buried since WWI to present at the Pleasant Hill Cemetery in Ireton, Iowa Saturday, May 28, 2022, prior to Monday’s Memorial Day service. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

An organizer for the white cross and flag display explained this was something new this year for the community, in most part sponsored by the American Legion Bertram Post #276. The 197 with crosses represent those veterans buried in the Pleasant Hill Cemetery who served between WWI to the present.

Community volunteers came out early on a Saturday morning to add the flags to the crosses as well as putting up larger flags that would line a drive into the cemetery. And weather permitting, a service will be held Monday morning.

Organized by the American Legion Bertram Post #276 community volunteers erected 197 white crosses that represent all of the veterans buried since WWI to present at the Pleasant Hill Cemetery in Ireton, Iowa Saturday, May 28, 2022, prior to Monday’s Memorial Day service. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Organized by the American Legion Bertram Post #276 community volunteers assist in putting out flags alongside 197 white crosses that represent all of the veterans buried since WWI to present at the Pleasant Hill Cemetery in Ireton, Iowa Saturday, May 28. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

JIM HUENINK places a flag near a white cross prior to Memorial Day. Organized by the American Legion Bertram Post #276 community volunteers assist in putting out flags alongside 197 white crosses that represent all of the veterans buried since WWI to present at the Pleasant Hill Cemetery in Ireton, Iowa Saturday, May 28, 2022, prior to Monday’s Memorial Day service. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Ireton is a small northwest Iowa community with a population approaching 600. Memories in small towns are usually taken seriously by community members. Whether it be a remembrance like Memorial Day or when the high school (if there is one these days, and even if there isn’t anymore) won a state championship in whatever sport. All holidays are somehow noted and shared before folk move on to their own sharing with family and friends for that particular day. A time for thought and a silent prayer that maybe life can be better for those who remain.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Members of the Ireton Cadet Club, under the leadership of the Ireton Christian Reformed church, volunteer to place flags alongside 197 white crosses that represent all of the veterans buried since WWI to present, an event organized by the American Legion Bertram Post #276 at the Pleasant Hill Cemetery in Ireton, Iowa Saturday, May 28, 2022, prior to Monday’s Memorial Day service. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Organized by the American Legion Bertram Post #276 community volunteers erected 197 white crosses that represent all of the veterans buried since WWI to present at the Pleasant Hill Cemetery in Ireton, Iowa Saturday, May 28, 2022, prior to Monday’s Memorial Day service. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

History in Siouxland, Building and Expanding, Sioux City Railroad Museum, Sioux City

28 May

Information and display about the work at the rail yard in Sioux City that operated as a repair yard seen at the Sioux City Railroad Museum Saturday, April 16, 2022 in Sioux City, Iowa. Also seen is a new exhibit not completed concerning the Holocaust that took place in Europe during the Second World War. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Some new exhibits are being prepped for opening sometime down the road that expands on the history of the Sioux City Railroad Museum which was a functioning repair yard servicing steam and diesel locomotives and repairing rail cars for 65 years.

As the museum has grown it is expanding its educational framework and in the last year added actors who portray “real characters” who lived and worked in the rail yard between 1918 and 1981. And now new exhibits will explore more in-depth the work done at the yard as well as information regarding the Holocaust that took place in Europe during WWII.

The inside of a boxcar of a new exhibit not completed concerning the Holocaust that took place in Europe during the Second World War seen at the Sioux City Railroad Museum Saturday, April 16, 2022 in Sioux City, Iowa. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Information and display about the work at the rail yard in Sioux City that operated as a repair yard seen at the Sioux City Railroad Museum Saturday, April 16, 2022 in Sioux City, Iowa. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A new engine has been added to the mix and some excavation was also occurring on the museum grounds as more information about the repair yard is discovered and catalogued for inclusion in the future. History is so soon forgotten it seems these days. Transitory and fleeting. But what is most times forgotten seems oft repeated.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

A boxcar for a new exhibit not completed concerning the Holocaust that took place in Europe during the Second World War seen at the Sioux City Railroad Museum Saturday, April 16, 2022 in Sioux City, Iowa. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A new “fixer upper engine” at the Sioux City Railroad Museum Saturday, April 16, 2022 in Sioux City, Iowa. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

The 1355 steam engine seen at the Sioux City Railroad Museum Saturday, April 16, 2022 in Sioux City, Iowa. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Learning to Share in Siouxland, rural Monona County, Whiting

26 May

Turkey vultures spar over who gets to dine first on a country road in rural Monona County near Whiting, Iowa, Saturday, May 21, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

It seems one of life’s lessons for many species, even those here in Siouxland, is that sometimes one needs to share. Driving out in the country recently I came across a demised raccoon on a gravel road with Turkey Vultures posturing and maneuvering to get a chance to eat some of the remains. And the vultures did a little dance until finally they decided that maybe it is best to be patient and share in the spoils.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

One Turkey Vulture gives a little push back than arrival who wanted to join in on the meal on a country road in rural Monona County near Whiting, Iowa, Saturday, May 21, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

The newly arrived Turkey Vulture relents trying to muscle in on a quick bite while on a country road in rural Monona County near Whiting, Iowa, Saturday, May 21, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Turkey vultures wait for their turn to dine first on a country road in rural Monona County near Whiting, Iowa, Saturday, May 21, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Remembering the Fallen in Siouxland, Harry E Nichols, Sioux City

24 May

Member of the Navy Reserve Center of Des Moines, Iowa remove the flag for taps and a rifle salute as the remains of Storekeeper 3rd Class Harry E. Nichols who served on the USS Oklahoma during WWII are laid to rest next to his parents in Memorial Park Cemetery in Sioux City, Friday, May 13, 2022, 81 years after his death. The Nichols were residents of Sioux City. Nichols was killed along with other members of the ship’s crew during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor Dec. 7, 1941. His identity and other remaining crewmen identities became known through the use of modern technology and identified in May of 2019. Burial had been delayed because of the COVID pandemic until now. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Recently a sailor from Siouxland was laid to rest eight decades and a year after his death. Sailor Storekeeper 3rd Class Harry E. Nichols was buried in Sioux City with military honors after perishing aboard the USS Oklahoma during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941.

Members of various American Legion Posts and Veterans of Foreign Wars posts salute as the remains of Storekeeper 3rd Class Harry E. Nichols who served on the USS Oklahoma during WWII. Nichols was buried alongside his parents in Memorial Park Cemetery in Sioux City, Friday, May 13, 2022, 81 years after his death. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Member of the Navy Reserve Center of Des Moines, Iowa carry the remains of Storekeeper 3rd Class Harry E. Nichols who served on the USS Oklahoma during WWII to his final resting place for his funeral and he will be laid to rest next to his parents in Memorial Park Cemetery in Sioux City, Friday, May 13, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Nichols was killed along with his shipmates during the February attack and like many others, until recent technological capabilities became available he and others were not identified. But with new tests and DNA analysis Nichols was brought home to Sioux City where he had grown up and enlisted in WWII and buried next to his parents in a local cemetery.

Member of the Navy Reserve Center of Des Moines, Iowa place the remains of Storekeeper 3rd Class Harry E. Nichols who served on the USS Oklahoma during WWII in place for his funeral and he will be laid to rest next to his parents in Memorial Park Cemetery in Sioux City, Friday, May 13, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Nephew MARK NICHOLS, left seated, his wife Diane Nichols, niece NANCY EISCHEIT, second from right, and her husband, GARY EISCHEIT attend the funeral where the remains of Storekeeper 3rd Class Harry E. Nichols who served on the USS Oklahoma during WWII are laid to rest next to his parents in Memorial Park Cemetery in Sioux City, Friday, May 13, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Taps is played as the remains of Storekeeper 3rd Class Harry E. Nichols who served on the USS Oklahoma during WWII are laid to rest next to his parents in Memorial Park Cemetery in Sioux City, Friday, May 13, 2022, 81 years after his death. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©

Members of various American Legion Posts and Veterans of Foreign Wars posts pay tribute as the remains of Storekeeper 3rd Class Harry E. Nichols who served on the USS Oklahoma during WWII was buried in Sioux City, Friday, May 13, 2022, 81 years after his death. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Remaining relatives and family and members of local American Legion and Veterans of Foreign Wars posts attended the ceremony honoring his life and service on what turned out to be a nice day, as days preceding and later brought some storms rolling through the region. And for a family that never really knew what had happened to to this relative some closure and remembrance a long time in the making.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Rear Adm. TERRY EDDINGER, right, presents the flag to NANCY EISCHEIT, center, while her sister-in-law DIANE NICHOLS, left records the event as the remains of her uncle, Storekeeper 3rd Class Harry E. Nichols who served on the USS Oklahoma during WWII are laid to rest next to his parents in Memorial Park Cemetery in Sioux City, Friday, May 13, 2022, 81 years after his death. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

The remains of Storekeeper 3rd Class Harry E. Nichols who served on the USS Oklahoma during WWII are laid to rest in Memorial Park Cemetery in Sioux City, Friday, May 13, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A flag flies half staff above a military cannon prior to the remains of Storekeeper 3rd Class Harry E. Nichols who served on the USS Oklahoma during WWII being laid to rest in Memorial Park Cemetery in Sioux City, Friday, May 13. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

“Shooting the Moon” in Siouxland, rural Woodbury County

22 May

A full moon rises as the sun sets behind a the horizon over an Iowa countryside near Anthon, Iowa Saturday evening May 15, 2022 before the lunar eclipse takes place later creating the blood moon. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

As the seasons change in Siouxland and the days slowly get longer, I find it easier to “stay up later” and try some photographic adventures. Although a friend of mine was probably disappointed that I didn’t want to shoot later, I find myself fading sooner as night approaches than I did when a younger person.

We ventured out to try our hand at photographing the blood moon, which was created by a partial lunar eclipse. I have driven countless backroads around the Siouxland region, but when it came time to decide where to situate ourselves so the moon create a nice backdrop to something in the foreground, I drew a blank, and settled for a stretch of roadway and hillside.

But after an hour of shooting I found myself fading faster than the setting sun. I told my friend to continue shooting and I didn’t mind staying out late, but I decided to just enjoy the moonrise as it got darker than to try and photograph it in the night sky.

It was amazing to see though. And while there are no European cathedrals in rural Siouxland to utilize in creating an image of note, there is always next month to maybe plan a little better and find a place that would visually create a better scene. Time will tell.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

A full moon rises over an Iowa countryside near Anthon, Iowa Saturday evening May 15, 2022 before the lunar eclipse takes place later creating the blood moon. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Enjoying History in Siouxland, Without Knowing it, rural South Dakota, Beresford

20 May

Older barns in disrepair seen Friday, April 8, 2022 in rural South Dakota, located south of Beresford, SD. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

When I traverse various parts of Siouxland while driving about I find that I see fewer and fewer older wooden barn. The rustic look, even in disrepair, hail to an era that has for the most part passed. Farmers or those farming ( industrial operations) no longer erect the wooden structures that at one time housed animals, harvested crops and machinery. As the bigger is better mantra continues to envelope America and it’s ideal of business the small farmer also has disappeared and the structures now that house equipment is metal or fiberglass. More cost effective, less maintenance and all of those things that attribute to the bottom line.

But I miss seeing the structures. And most times I happen upon them at the wrong time of day while out driving around. Maybe seeing them in passing. Sometimes stopping, sometimes not, depending on if I am time constrained to arrive someplace.

Two older barns seen Friday, April 8, 2022 in rural South Dakota, located south of Beresford, SD. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

The rustic nature appeals to my visual sense, but the use and disuse and decay speaks to another passing of an era where form and factor are no longer valued. That thought could be addressed to a lot of areas and state of affairs these days. When at a small time museum a few years ago a docent was showing school children and older wall phone which had the spin knob to wind it up and get a connection along with the ear piece held to one’s head and the extended speaker you had to lean into to speak with the operator, as well as the desk top model with the rotary dial.

The children had no idea what the two items were, and were quite astonished when they learned that what they carried in their pockets and took for granted was large, non moveable and didn’t have a screen. Advances in technology is marvelous with many wonderful inventions, but sometimes I wonder at what loss does this occur without the accompanying history that brought the state of humanity to this next level of achievement and the effort to get there.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

An older barn in disrepair seen Friday, April 8, 2022 in rural South Dakota, located south of Beresford, SD. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Transitory Visitors in Siouxland, American White Pelicans, Badger Lake, Whiting

18 May

American White Pelicans settle in enjoying the afternoon sunlight during a brisk, windy day at badger Lake in rural Monona County near Whiting, Iowa Monday April 25, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

With the migrating waterfowl like the American White Pelicans passing through Siouxland, I sometimes get confused about what birds find a home in this area and those that are passing on to another destination. Like the majority of Canada geese that use Siouxland as flyover country, but others call it home.

A truck hauling equipment passes in the background as American White Pelicans settle in enjoying the afternoon sunlight during a brisk, windy day at badger Lake in rural Monona County near Whiting, Iowa Monday April 25, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

American White Pelicans settle in enjoying the afternoon sunlight during a brisk, windy day at badger Lake in rural Monona County near Whiting, Iowa Monday April 25, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

As I occasionally check various locations around the area to see who’s hanging out, sometimes I am delighted, other times disappointed when I find nothing. But then there is another day, and these critters like we humans are dealing with roller coaster weather than runs cold, then hot, dry, then wet, which probably interrupts their travels as much as it does our daily lives. And some of us are not traveling as far.

Wishing these critters a safe journey and fair winds as they journey to their summer destination.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

American White Pelicans settle in enjoying the afternoon sunlight during a brisk, windy day at badger Lake in rural Monona County near Whiting, Iowa Monday April 25, 2022. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)
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