Tag Archives: christmas

The Holiday Season Begins in Siouxland at the O’Connor House, Homer, NE

27 Nov

Decorated for the Christmas season, the O’Connor House, built in the 1870’s by Cornelus O’Connor and situated near Homer, NE Sunday Nov. 10, 2019. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Decorated for the Christmas season, the O’Connor House, built in the 1870’s by Cornelus O’Connor and situated near Homer, NE Sunday Nov. 10, 2019. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

The holiday season in Siouxland has begun as a number of small town museums and places have put up their Christmas decorations for visitors to once again stop by and enjoy a bygone era at the O’Connor House in Homer, NE. And nothing says holiday to me than seeing a plate of Gingerbread cookies, even though adults were not allowed, as they were made the children only, not including those young at heart either. An annual event, different people or organizations help sponsor the various decorated rooms of the O’Connor House, home to an early settler of the area.

Decorated for the Christmas season, the O’Connor House, built in the 1870’s by Cornelus O’Connor and situated near Homer, NE Sunday Nov. 10, 2019. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Decorated for the Christmas season, the O’Connor House, built in the 1870’s by Cornelus O’Connor and situated near Homer, NE Sunday Nov. 10, 2019. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A volunteer gives a history of this room decorated for the Christmas season at the O’Connor House, built in the 1870’s by Cornelus O’Connor and situated near Homer, NE Sunday Nov. 10, 2019. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Volunteers staff the various rooms to give visitors a bit of history of the house and the family that lived there, a sort of controlled chaos as dozens of folk pass through to enjoy the holiday spirit and decorations and revisit or visit for the first time a bit of local history.

Visitors read about the deaths of a number of the O’Connor children at the O’Connor House, built in the 1870’s by Cornelus O’Connor and situated near Homer, NE Sunday Nov. 10, 2019. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Decorated for the Christmas season, the O’Connor House, built in the 1870’s by Cornelus O’Connor and situated near Homer, NE Sunday Nov. 10, 2019. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

The family enjoyed many Christmases before the deaths of a number of the O’Connor children as they reached young adulthood. The house still retains a wood stove in the kitchen where the Gingerbread cookies and other goodies are baked. Sometimes damp wood can fill the home with a bit of smoke when the stove is first fired up at the beginning of the day. Not overwhelming, but definitely a reminder of what life might entail in the 19th century.

Still, the home is solidly built by Cornelius O’Connor himself and has a cozy feel even in the 21st century when too many of us take for granted how truly blessed we are with out modern conveniences and the chance to peek into history without actually having to live it.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

A volunteer reads the history of this particular bedroom decorated for the Christmas season at the O’Connor House, built in the 1870’s by Cornelus O’Connor and situated near Homer, NE Sunday Nov. 10, 2019. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Decorated for the Christmas season, the O’Connor House, built in the 1870’s by Cornelus O’Connor and situated near Homer, NE Sunday Nov. 10, 2019. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Decorated for the Christmas season, the O’Connor House, built in the 1870’s by Cornelus O’Connor and situated near Homer, NE Sunday Nov. 10, 2019. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Ho Ho Ho Siouxland, It’s almost Christmas, and Winter in Already Here, Clay County Fair

9 Nov

at the Clay County Fair in Spencer Iowa, Tuesday, September 10, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Well, Christmas is more than a month away, with Halloween barely behind us and Thanksgiving meals not yet begun cooking in the oven. But winter is definitely here. Unseasonable temperatures in the 20 and 30’s. Weather folk saying the Siouxland area is 20 degrees below a “normal” fall day for this time of year.

A model train display at the Clay County Fair in Spencer, Iowa, Friday, Sept. 18, 2015. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

At the Clay County Fair in Spencer there is a large model train exhibit with working tracks. Various scenes and seasons are depicted within the display and they are set within different types of communities.

at the Clay County Fair in Spencer Iowa, Tuesday, September 10, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

One exhibit I enjoy the most is the Christmas season display at the fair. Lights twinkling, a Santa whose sleigh glides over a small town bringing gifts, all seen at a county fair where some days the temperatures are in the 80’s along with the humidity and the pleasant thought of changing seasons yet to come. But somehow those season didn’t materialize this year as winter stretched into a very short spring, then summer and soaring temps appeared and now it seems that fall was a brief one-week period with temperatures overnight next week to dip into the teens. Snow has already dusted the area around Siouxland. Nothing like the heavy storms out west in the mountain regions, but still, a fleeting fall passed in the blink of an eye this year.

at the Clay County Fair in Spencer Iowa, Tuesday, September 10, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

I like the Christmas season and the music that always seems to get short shrift being played on the radio. Most times people are a bit kinder but no less harried as they prepare for the holidays, gift shopping, plans to visit relatives and putting up decorations. As well as taking some time to think about what Christmas should mean and taking a break to just enjoy the moment and holiday cheer and friends. But with winter already here, it may seem like a very long season this year.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

at the Clay County Fair in Spencer Iowa, Tuesday, September 10, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

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©)

Enjoying a Lingering Siouxland Christmas, Sioux City

17 Feb

While out for a walk recently during a snow fall I saw a neighbor still had some Christmas lights up. People in Siouxland like their holidays. Many decorate their homes around a holiday theme with some already putting up red stringed lights for Valentines Day. But I was glad to see these Christmas lights as I neared home. Reminding me of the season and the phrase of “leaving a light on in the window” so as to guide a traveler to a destination. And to add a little light to a somewhat dreary day.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Even though it’s after Christmas, some neighbors have left a few outdoor lights up and it adds a nice ambience while walking around the neighborhood in Sioux City, Iowa Sunday, Jan. 22, 2018. (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, 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

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