Saturday, June 28, 2008

Duesterhaus Family Reunion, 2008 Jun 28

Trevor gets a week off of summer work out schedule the week of July 4th and so he arrived home on Friday June 27th.

This allowed him to attend the Duesterhaus family reunion which was held at my brother's house this year. Bobby and Judy hosted approximately 80 people in their backyard on a gorgeous summer Saturday.

This reunion gathers the descendents of Henry and Elizabeth Jansen Duesterhaus, my grandparents. They had 10 children with only my uncle Paul still around. Although my maternal grandparents actually have more descendants, if all the my cousins, and their families showed up we would be in the hundreds so I have trouble recognizing my own relatives.

It's more difficult for me than most others since I am the youngest of my generation so many of my cousins were married and moved out of town before I was old enought to recall family gatherings.

Trevor was also glad that we all wore name tags since he happens to be the youngest child or the youngest grandchild.

To help break the ice and get people mingling, Michelle handed out a special style bingo card where you had to find someone among the guest who had done on of the things noted on the bingo card. For example, I was signing the squares for having "Sold girl scout cookies". Ken could sign having "Graduated from Quincy University", Trevor has "Played in a Gus Macker basketball tournament". Some were a bit harder to track down like "Took a pig to school" or "Threw up on a carnival ride" ! The game really did the trick though and got people talking and enjoying the day as a group.

My cousin, Richard, the oldest of my generation, led the family in a blessing before meal time. Bobby and Judy provided the main course, barbequed pork sandwiches....should have known the pork producer wouldn't be serving burgers!! Judy must have spent days preparing the mass quantities and the sandwiches were great. Of course, there was a great assortment of covered dishes that were set out on tables on the back porch.

Cousins Clareny Deters, and Ronnie Duesterhaus with my brother, Bobby...tough to keep the farm boys away from the corn field!

Several of my nephews lent picnic tables to the event that were set up in the machine shed. After lunch this was a perfect place to play bingo using the cards we'd been filling out earlier. Trevor was drafted to pull names out of a bucket to match against the names signed in the bingo squares.

One of the highlights of the day was an uninvited guest, the neighbors' tom turkey. Great-nephew, Ethan was able to get ol' Tom to strut his stuff in an impromptu version of the 'Turkey Trot'.

Apparently Tom felt at home among the Duesterhaus clan since he spent quite a bit of time mingling between the groups in the back yard.
Kyle arrive about 2pm and Aunt Judy made sure he got his share of leftover pulled pork sandwiches.
It was a great reunion. Thanks Bobby and Judy and family for putting together a great Duesterhaus day!
Hugs, C

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Illinois St. Coachmen Rally June 20-22

The Illinois State Rally this year was at Kentuckiana Kampground in Hopedale, IL. It was moved from the New Berlin IL. fairgrounds to a more central location with full hookups.
This is a large campground that has a country or opry type show every Saturday night. The campground has a lot of permanent campers, but they do a good job of grouping the campers vs. the permanent units.
I was able to park next to my brother Mike and his wife Jean.
That was especially nice since Cindy had to stay home and work flood duty at her place of employment. The river has crested and after several scares due to locally heavy rains, it has finally begun to receed. The best quess is that the river will be below any critical flood stages by this coming Friday.

There were three other camping groups at the camp the same week. Each group was asigned a shelter like the one above.

Of course we played our games!

Here is Mike and Jean competing at Bocci Ball. I had never played this game before and got a second place ribbon! Beginners luck!

It was a nice weekend, but would have been better if Cindy were along. She insisted that I go and I glad I did because I did get in some naps and rest. One thing we did learn was that the dogs should not be separated. While Ditka and I were at the rally Sox was giving Cindy a hard time. She would not eat or drink, and she was constantly under Cindy's feet. Then on Sunday morning she was sick on the upstairs landing. From now on it's two dogs or no dogs.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Indian Graves Levee Breaks

Cindy spent her early years living in the Indian Graves Drainage District. Their house was not far from the river, maybe a mile or so. She lived there until she was eight when her father died of lung cancer. That year was also a flood year with a levee break (1965). That flood was not nearly as bad as the flood of 93 of this one of 08. In 65 they were able to save/rebuild many of the buildings including the house. That house became the home of her brother Bobby and his wife Judy. They raised a large wonderful family there. Many of Cindy's relatives still have land in that area, including her brother, one of her sisters, an uncle and I believe a cousin or two.
The flood of 93 wiped away the house and most of the farm. The water that year was to the eves of the roof. Bobby and some others had taken a boat down into the flood waters to see the damage. While they were there a storm blew up. They tied their boats to trees and then clung to the trees themselves to wait out the storm. During the storm they watched as the house began to disintegrate due to the wave action and the wind. Now that would be tough to watch. The house you lived and raised a family in, gone before your eyes.
After 93 there was no rebuilding of the house. Just several buildings for the farm equipment. The government had stepped in and set limits on any rebuilding in the flood plain.
Now 2008. When Cindy heard the news she cried. Even though she has not lived there for all these years she still considers that home. She also knows what kind of damage that will do to the farm and how much it will hurt all the people that have farm ground down. It effects a lot of people in her family.
This is especially frustrating for me because this year I am not able to help. In the previous floods I helped where I could. In 93 we sanbagged at Gardner Denver during the day then went to Indian Graves to sand bag at night. One night while we were sandbagging at Indian Graves we worked right on the levee. It is an erie feeling to be standing on a sand levee when it moves to the weight of the water. This year I can't help because of my health. That is frustrating enough by itself, but I don't look sick. People see me and I look healthy to them. I look relatively fit and tanned like I've been playing a lot of golf. I reality I very little energy and what energy I have seems to dissapate rather quickly. Because of this I have been trying to avoid the flood areas as much as possible, but when it happens to people you know it can't be avoided any longer.
Our hearts go out to all of those who have lost to the flood. A lot of work goes into trying to save the land and homes along the river and it hurts when you see all that work washed away. The river is a beautiful place to live and work. The hot summer breezes blow through the cotton woods. Ice water in mason jars cause them to drip with condesation. Watermelon tastes better in the backyard at sunset.
In a month or so when things dry out the people will start again!

Ken F.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Missouri State Rally: June 6-8

The Missouri Coachmen State Rally is at Higginsville Mo. in June every year.
Bob and Cindy Byrne do a most excellent job of organizing and running the rally.

This trailer is loaded with door prizes that Bob was able to garner for the rally.

Cindy calls him a great beggar! I for one am glad he is a good beggar!

This is Bob introducing the Higginsville volunteer fire chief.

Two years ago two 5th wheels caught fire and we are told that these guys did a suburb job not only with the fire but with helping the victims after the fire.

Since that fire the rally group and the fire department have grown to rile on each other. We support them with donations when they have a fund raiser and they watch out for us. An example of that attitude happened on Thursday evening before most rally goers arrived. A few coaches always arrive early just to relax before the rally or to help setup as well as those there to setup and get things organized. On that Thursday night there was a sever thunderstorm rolling through the area that looked like it might turn into a tornado. The firemen dropped of an emergency radio for the rally goers and showed them the way into a school that is located across the street. Luckily the storm was just that a storm and not a tornado! The firefighters were scheduled to cook on Friday evening for us and they did a real nice job and of course we all donated to their fire department. It is a good arrangement with some really fine people.

I had to show you this! It is a 40 foot Sportscoach Crosscounrty. I forgot which year, but I believe it was a 86 or 88. The couple that own it bought it on the Internet and have been working to restore it. He told me that they had the interior just about done and were getting ready to start on the outside.

Of course on Saturday we played our games. This is bean bag baseball. My team got second. The other team had two outs two strikes in the last inning down by three with bases loaded and the batter got a home run! A walk off Grand Slam! A great game! Oh but I got first in the cookie licking contest!

We always eat good at this Rally!

For our Saturday night entertainment we had The Dirt Road Rascals, a good band playing older country music. The man third from the left is not a band member but a rally goer. We had met John and his wife Friday evening and ate dinner with them. We had no idea what a star he is! At the end of the show John joined the band and sang and played as well as if not better than the band members. He is good!

Sunday morning BS session! BS and coffee on a Sunday morning, life can not get any better than that!

Higginsville Mo. is near Kansas City. Rather than drive I70 and try to either get out of every ones way or try to drive fast enough to keep up, we drive over on old US 24. Driving US24 we can drive slower and enjoy the ride. You also get to see sights like the worlds largest pecan! US 24 goes right through Missouri pecan growing area. This pecan is just outside Brunswick Mo. which is the pecan capital and home of Sherry's Diner.

Other things also happen when you drive back roads. We had stopped at a nice small roadside park for a snack and to stretch. While we were stop a man on a bicycle road into the park. He looked over at me so I nodded and he decided that I was friendly and came over to chat. He looked exhausted, and dirty. He told me that he had just left Hannibal Mo. that morning and was on his way to cut a friends grass. We were at least 45 miles west of Hannibal near a little town called Madison! No wander he looked tired and dirty! After we talked a while it became obvious that "Bob" was a few bricks short of a load upstairs. We gave him a drink and a sandwich. All this time he kept talking about the possibility of rain and if he should go on or not. He borrowed my cell phone to call his friend and told them it looked like rain and he would ride back over on Tuesday to cut the grass. That is of course if we would give him a ride back to Hannibal! What can you do? We put his bike in the jeep and him in the front passenger seat (so Cindy could keep on eye on him). We had not traveled very far when we found out that he lived in Quincy and that is really where he needed to go (we never did figure out how Hannibal played a roll in his story). Shortly after that conversion "Bob" fell asleep and slept the entire trip! After we dropped "Bob" off on front street I got to wandering who the smarter person was! We feed him, we drove him, and he slept! Eh?

Ken F.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Two 500 year floods in fifteen years?

Ok, we move immediately from Ken's hospital stay to an unprecedented second battle with the Mississippi River at my company, Gardner Denver.

No time for pictures or much writing but the company newspaper happened to catch me 'at work' so I'm including that here along with the latest brief update from that paper, GDToday on what's going on at the company.

Employees Praised For Their Efforts Battling Rising River

Mark Chiado, the Environmental and Safety Director can't say enough about the efforts of employees at the Quincy facility. " They have done an outstanding job. A representative from the Corps of Engineers was here and he couldn't believe that we accomplished what we did in three days".
While sandbagging efforts continue, the attention continues to focus on Quincy where rising waters could match 1993 flood stages. While that flood was called a hundred year flood, the flood of 2008 has already been dubbed with the label of a 500 year flood.
Up north in Cedar Rapids, Iowa over 400 city blocks have been flooded and the city's water supply threatened. Fortunately the majority of Quincy sits high on a bluff and is not affected by the river's rise, but some businesses at river level are severely threatened. Gardner Denver is one such company. Flood walls erected after the 1993 level protect much of the plant but there are still some areas where flood protection only goes to 30 feet, two feet shy of the river stage expected this coming Wednesday or Thursday. This means sandbags have to fill the gap.
The Governor of Illinois visited Quincy on Friday and Quincy's mayor has turned the parking lot of Quincy's convention center into a city wide sandbagging operation. Over 600 residents worked 14 hours the first day and produced 60,000 sandbags for use at the area's trouble spots.
Gardner Denver has asked area resident's to come down on Saturday to continue fill bags at the plant. This will bring some welcome help for employees.

Thursday, June 12, 2008


I got out yesterday morning after proofing that I could eat breakfast without reprecussions. I am on higher doses of steroids than I like to take. These higher doses cause me to be short tempered and give me an ugly personality (roid rage). So I plan to hide out staying home and avoiding people until I get to a lower dose where I can better control the roid rage.
Cindy is jumping the gun when she talks about surgery. Sure I will probably have more but I will put it off as long as possible. After all a person only has so much gut to give! Also I would like to give some of the newer drugs more time to see if they would help me.
Thank you everyone for your thoughts and prayers! Now if you would pray for those that have to put up with me for the next few weeks I would appreciate it! While your at it send prayers and good wishes to Wes (a friend we meet at Life on Wheels) who is having most of his colon removed due to cancer.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

A Quick Note - Ken in Hospital

Just to let our regular and beloved readers know, the Higginsville weekend adventure is not posted because we had to take Ken in to the hospital Monday night.

This is now his second 'obstruction' in 12 days as a result of his Crohn's disease.

Ken has had Crohn's for over 30 years now with 4 major ressection surgeries during that time. It had been running a surgery every 7 years. This time he has made it 10 years. Contrary to most Crohn's sufferers, Ken's Crohn's never goes in to remission. The surgeries come when the place most attacked by the disease, where the large and small bowel meet, gets so inflamed with disease that is totally closes down his intestine. The result is, like last night, a rush to the emergency room where they stick in an NG tube to pump out of him what can't make its way through, and they load him up with morphine-like painkillers and steroids. The steroids will usually reduce the inflammation enough to get things to open up at least a little. That is what happened 12 days ago and the reason Ken carries those nasty drugs with him at all times. But, this time, Ken's self-administration of steroids wasn't enough.

You only have so much intestine so the doctors try to put off surgery as long as possible. There is no cure and the surgery is only a temporary solution since the disease immediately reactivates at the points of the ressection. Of course, when these obstructions become recurrent it comes down to a quality of life issue. Ken also prefers to be able to schedule surgery in St. Louis rather than face emergency surgery in Quincy if the steroids don't provide relief.

So needless to say there is the possibility that we could be heading to St. Louis in the near future to visit the GI surgeons at Wash U.

We were originally suppose to be on vacation this week so I guess its good we had our last minute changes.

So until the obstruction clears, Ken is on the dreaded 'nothing by mouth' routine--now there is a no-fail diet for you! So long as he doesn't eat or drink anything, they keep him on IV's and they keep the NG tube pumping things out, he feels fine! There's no signs yet that the blockage has let up, but history has been that it could take 2-3 days.

So keep him in your thoughts and prayers and I'll try to keep you posted!

Hugs, C

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Cover Picture We Missed at Spring Game

This is the cover of the 2008 Spring Prospectus.
We missed it at the spring game. Since Trevor was rehabing, we were a little lax on watching the publicity. I believe Kyle was the first one to bring it to our attention.
Trevor is number 65 and leading the pack onto the field.
This fall he will have number 99 which is a more typical d-line number.
Kick off is August 28!
Ken F

Kyles Graduates from Law School

This is why we returned to the Dekalb area! After three years of law school Kyle graduated on May 24, 2008!

During the commencement, the best speech was given by Adam Watson, one of the graduates. He touched on the shooting but did not dwell on it rather he focused on using law to help people rather than as a means to riches. He was a good person to make this point. Having lost his father to medical malpractice and a lost lawsuit, he chose to go back to law school. The Commencement Address was given by US Congressman, Bill Foster. Besides having the title of congressman, he also has numerous degrees including a Phd from Harvard in Physics. He owns his own lighting company and was instrumental in working on the super collider at Fermi Labs.

After the speeches, it was time to line up to recieve their degrees.

Kyle recieving his degree!

Cogratulatory hug from a very proud mom who is quick to mention that he graduated cum laude and 25th of 118 in his class which is impressive considering what it takes to get in to law school!

After we all gave him hugs, Kyle posed with his best bud, Luke (and our honorary number 3 son)and his little brother, Trevor.

Obiligatory family picture.

And if I must be the one to say it, I think it is a very fine family indeed:)

Kyle and Aaron, his room mate and best friend at school.

After the ceremonies we had a dinner celebration, where Kyle read some of his congratulatory cards and letters.

Notice the hat. On the way out of the hall each graduate was given a NIU Law School hat.

Later that evening we celebrated with the other grads. Cindy and I left early to get back before they closed the campground gate at 10pm (they are serious-they put up a tire schredder!), while the boys stayed up well past the wee hours able to walk back to Kyle's apartment from the festivities.

Breakfast for the boys at 1:00 pm

Then a lazy afternoon! It was real nice that Luke was able to spend the weekend with us.
We don't see enough of him or Lindsey.

More laziness, after dinner!

Then a good nights sleep before returning to Quincy. We plan to leave at a decent time on Memorial monday so that Trevor can get packed for EIU. He will leave as soon as he can after we get back. He will have a three and half hour drive after our five hours. He is in a hurry so that he can resume his rehab. Kyle will also be returning with us for the balance of the week for a little more R&R before beginning studies for the bar exam.

One last picture! Cindy got this shot while we were at the dump station. We'd seen pheasant throughout South Dakota but she couldn't get one on camera until we were back in Illinois.

Great shot, but why would anyone be carrying around a camera at a dump station. What kind of picture was she really hoping to get? The movie "RV" come to mind?

Ken F

Return of the Flamingo

Spending four nights in the same space was a welcome change after the trip west. With the extra time we were able to set up like we like to with the table clothes, chairs, lights, etc.
You can always tell when we plan to stay a while because, I like to put out the pink flamingos, and since it was Memorial weekend I put out the flags with them.

If you look on the right edge of this picture you can see the growth on the edge of our site. I don't know what it is but it looked like miniture walnut trees. It was all the same height leading me to think that it was a type of shurb and not a tree. I bring this up because shortly after setting up Cindy took the dogs for a walk while I was laying down. But there was no rest because as soon as I laid down there was a knocking on the RV. The noise was coming from the front drivers side. At first I thought someone was throwing pebbles at the RV but I could not see anyone. The culprit turnout to be a cardnial that was seeing his reflection in the glass.

He would attack the "intruder" by tappin his beak into the glass. I must say that he was persistant because I tried closing the blinds and then I tried scaring him away by moving around in side the RV. Then I hit on it, I grabbed the camera, every bird or animal that I have tried to take a picture of will move away when you pick up a camera. I firmly believe that it is part of every bird and every animals' genenic make up. Every time I tried to get the rascal flying into the glass he would move off to the safety of the brush by the RV.

This is his prize! Beuatiful isn't she!
She must be for him to knock his brains out all day long!
Later in the weekend the pair disappeared only to start attacking a 5th wheel a few sites down the way.

As you can see we were parked close to the lake. Shabbona State Park is known for its fishing holding several state fishing records.

At the back of the adjoining camp site was a trail leading to the lake. When ever I walk down to take a look at the lake it was busy with boats and fishermen. At one time there was a boat with several small boys fishing from it. They were keeping dad busy because as soon as he took a fish of the hook one of the other boys would yell out that he had one. They were having a blast!

Not being a fisherman, I opted to visit with the group across the road from us. This group camps at Shabbona every Holiday. They originally had six couples put are now down to four. I very much enjoyed visiting with this group of really nice people. They were really smart too. Because we were able to solve all the problems afflicting the world today. However, we neglected to write anything down. But don't worry, they invited us to come back next year and solve all the problems again.

Ken F