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Saturday, March 4, 2000

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Sandhill Cranes

I went out to see the sandhill cranes, on their annual migration north. They fill the Platte River at night for the next couple of months and eat in the cornfields during the day. A couple of Betty's uncles and aunts had invited me to go with them and, while I had read about the cranes coming through Nebraska , I hadn't realized that I was lucky enough to be at the right place and time. I took quite a few pictures but we couldn't get too close to the birds so I hope my pictures come out. They are beautiful birds.

We stopped at the Rowe Sanctuary and they were quite busy with people coming to ask questions about the cranes. They don't let people down to the river when the birds are on the river but they were all feeding in the cornfields when we got there.

We noticed that the farms had street numbers on them and later someone told me that it was to help emergency services find them. Even the rural routes are going. That's rather sad but it's better to not have your house or barn burn down. This is similar to them making my apartment complex change all our apartment numbers so the emergency services could find us.

At noon we had barbecue at Betty's aunt's house and I met her parents who had driven in that day. The aunt lives out on the north edge of town off NE-10 and the street signs had been taken down due to construction so we drove by a couple of times before I noticed that one of Betty's aunts was standing out by the road to wave us in.

More delicious food and good conversation. I've always wanted a big, close, extended family like this but while I have a large family, we've always been too far apart to be this close. Kids ran underfoot and I had more than a couple brownies. Lime jello with cottage cheese and pink jello with whipped cream. Yeah!

After lunch we all went to decorate the reception hall and had everyone talking at once and making mass decisions about how best to do it, ending up with a lovely place. All the decorations and food were done by the family, except the wedding cake.

Next it was on to the rehearsal where the rest of my family showed up. Tim and Rob arrived late after a three hour delay in flights. Dan and Diane were there with their two boys and Rick's two boys, who had flown into Denver the day before. One nephew showed up with only the clothes on his back. This is what happens when you let a fourteen year old boy pack for himself. Rick's other son had a broken arm. Dan had hurt his foot in a snowboard accident the weekend before so we were quite a sight.

Rick's kids were holding up fairly well though the boys were very quiet. I'm sure it's been hard on them watching their mother, who they all adored, be sick for five years and finally die, and now, three years later, seeing their father remarry. Even though Heidi Marie, their mother, told them that she wanted Rick to marry they must still feel rather left behind as Rick gets on with his life.

Rick's daughter, Heidi, was the maid-of-honor and his son, James, the ringbearer. Dan, our brother, was the best man and Tim, my brother, and Larry, Betty's brother were the ushers. Everyone showed the requisite confusion, and then it all fell into place. I just kept taking pictures and talking with everyone.

After the reheasal we all spent time at the breakfast room at the motel, talking some more. I really like Betty's family. Both families can talk so we were quite noisy and people kept having to thread themselves through us to go to the pool. Rob brought some family pictures and Tim told us their plans for the land he and Sue bought in Michigan.


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(c) Rachel Aschmann 2000.
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