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Catching Up With An Old Friend

Hank – We left Al and Sharon this morning and headed into Oshkosh. We first checked out the Paine Art Center and Gardens. The Paine Mansion began construction just before the crash of 1929 and wasn’t completed until many years later. The Paine family made their money from lumber and never moved into the mansion, which they later decided to turn into a museum.

Currently the art center is displaying many works of Louis Comfort Tiffany. It’s a fascinating building with a lot of intricate woodworking. And there are something like 20 gardens on the grounds. The garden kaleidoscope was really cool.

After that went to the nearby Public Museum, which used to be the Sawyer Mansion. The Sawyers did live in their mansion. The museum holds many different historical displays, including early Native American, World War I, the Civil War, the Oshkosh lumber industry, and others. A main attraction is the Apostles Clock created by Matthew Kintz. He also built the monumental St Peter Clock. When the Apostles Clock chimes a center door opens and Jesus appears. Doors on either side open and the 12 apostles file past Jesus and each turn and bow their heads except for Judas who is holding a bag of silver pieces. The clock also displays the month and day. It’s an intricate work.

We got back on the road for a short ride to Neenah to see Ken Koszewa who was in the Air Force with me at Gunter AFS, Alabama back in 1992-94. Strong headwinds held us back but we finally got there.

Nicole and the girls were at a play. Kathy and I cleaned up and Ken gave us a quick tour of Neenah and Menasha in his 1970 Ford XL. That was a fun ride. We got to meet Nicole and the girls, Grace and Audrey, who are real sweethearts. Ken cooked up some bratwurst and I learned the proper way to do so. I’ve been doing it wrong all these years. Boil them in water or beer for 20-25 minutes until they’re thoroughly cooked. That gets most if the grease out. Then you brown them on the grill. They were awesome.

After dinner Ken broke out his guitars. I had my ukulele. We played a few songs together and he was gracious towards my lackluster technical skills. He interested in one of my cigar box guitars so he’ll be one of the first I make one for when I get back home. We stayed up too late but had a great time catching up and playing music. We reminded each other of fun things the other forgot. I don’t remember that we got a lot of work done but I do remember we had fun. We played a lot of practical jokes on each other. Also, I had a rule that if you’re late for work you had to stop by Krispy Kreme and bring in a dozen donuts. One day I was late. I got in line at Krispy Kreme and noticed Mike Brawley, who also worked for me up in front of me. He saw me and asked, “Does this mean I don’t have to bring donuts?” I Said, “Nope. It means we get two dozen today.”

Funny story about the shed in Ken’s back yard. It’s not a shed. The ditch behind his house is designated a navigable waterway and he must abide by the shoreline regulations. (The ditch holds water about twice a year.) Shed’s are not authorized. So he went into get a permit for a boat house. The clerk said, “”A boat house? There’s no water there.” So Ken tells him he’s getting a permit for a shed or a boat house and he just needs to know which one. The clerk goes back to talk to a superior and returns. “What size boat house would you like a permit for?” You’ll notice in the photo there’s a pilot wheel on his boat house. Several of his neighbors now have boat houses, too.

Kathy – Our 21-mile ride today was pretty easy except for the strong headwinds our entire ride.  Our day started out a misty rain but cleared up nicely to a sunny mid 70’s day.  It was a beautiful day in Wisconsin.  We enjoyed both of the museums today.  The architecture was incredible. The interior designs and art works were amazing and the outside gardens were fabulous.  I’m thinking about our place when we return home and mentally making my honey-do list.  😉

We really enjoyed our time with Ken, Nicole, Grace and Audrey.  Our traditional Wisconsin dinner made by Ken was delicious.  Ken and Nicole make you feel so at home, and the talks, laughter and music continued all evening.  The girls are an absolute joy!  They are such fun to listen to and play with.  Audrey drew me a picture of their dog Maui in a bicycle basket with handle bars sticking out the sides.  She told me she did not know how to draw a bicycle so she did this instead.  I just love it!  Those girls are simply adorable.  I loved watching them jump around, dance, do flips, swing, and just have a great time.  A wonderful evening finish off our day!

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