Over several months, RM planned our five hundred mile road trip to northeast Kansas to view the recent solar eclipse in the so-called totality zone. He plotted and printed maps, researched websites, purchased the necessary protective eye glasses and not-so-necessary commemorative t-shirts, and timed our journey to coincide with the solar eclipse on Monday, August 21st. We stayed with some dear friends on their picturesque farm near Holton, Kansas.


We were one of many visitors to the zone last Monday — stretching across a width of 70 miles from Oregon to South Carolina  — who made it a point to travel to a place where the moon’s shadow will touch the earth.  We were not disappointed in the experience even after dodging traffic, rain clouds and showers to get to our destination.  For us, we ended up on an isolated, dirt road that straddled the Nebraska/Kansas border not too far from Du Bois, NE., surrounded by miles of ripening corn and soybean fields.

While RM was the champion of this excursion, the rest of us in our small party were willing but uninformed, highly supportive accompaniments.  We agreed to stock up the SUV with a picnic lunch and celebratory spirits, keep the phones and iPad charged for tracking and other necessary communication updates from NASA, and drive Ruby (yes, the SUV has a name), over and across this nation’s bread basket back roads to get us in line for the perfect viewing of the total eclipse, weather conditions be damned. While we didn’t fully understand RM’s fixation with getting the perfect spot, we knew it was important to him so we followed our leader’s direction to head up Highway 75 from Holton, over to Sabetha and then north and west to his predetermined, viewing point.

eclipse tracy

Through our safety glasses, we saw early glimpses of the partial eclipse but the clouds were thickening and the viewing was sporadic so under RM’s worried brow, we packed up and moved about 10 miles to an area on the radar that looked clear.  We were not disappointed with the audible as we pulled off the road into a pasture, the sky cleared and we could see the eclipse as it moved from partial to total at 1:04 p.m. central Kansas time. At full eclipse, the sky darkened and a 360 degree sunset magically appeared all around us as we admired Bailey’s beads — pearls of sunlight shining through the valleys and mountains of the moon. We saw the beads around the edges of the moon as it passed over the sun.  We took many pictures but mostly we stood and stared up at the eclipse in awe.


I  first noticed the immense quiet and the surrealism of the space with light reflecting oddly over the fields around us, no sounds of animals or man except for us hooting and comparing comments of what each of us saw and felt.  It was truly an  ‘awe’ moment — one that reached, for me, the upper levels of pleasure but also on the boundary of fear or perhaps better described as the feeling of the unknown.  After the experience, I felt rich in time, somehow better connected to nature with a renewed boost of hope for our future.  We are already plotting for the next eclipse in 2024.  Come join us in Texas, in the the totality zone, and experience the awe.





Why I Played

Why I Played

I fell in love with basketball when I was a very little girl of six or seven, maybe even younger.  I still love it and plan to play a game of HORSE with RM this week-end if the weather cooperates.  If you don’t know what HORSE is, I am sorry because you have missed out.   I have probably played a thousand rounds of HORSE in my lifetime.  Such fond memories of time spent with my dad out on the concrete basketball court shooting hoops. He always had a court poured immediately,  at each house we lived in, before he thought to remodel the bathrooms or applying a fresh coat of paint.

dad's team Newton
Dad – third tallest.
Basketball was a big deal for my dad and for our small Kansas town. The grownups started us early learning to dribble, pass and do layups from either side (left or right).  I played with my brother and their friends which improved my game considerably.  I practiced all the time on our court and started playing on teams as soon as that was an option.  Coach Groves focused on the fundamentals and we practiced those skills over and over again until we mastered them.   We didn’t have select teams back then but Dad would get the keys for the Jr. High gym so we could get in and shoot around during the summer and on school breaks.  He challenged me to make 25 free throws without missing and I eventually developed such an accurate shot that I was asked by coach to shoot most technical foul shots for my hometown team. Older girls from the high school team mentored us early on and we scrimmaged against them when we were in middle school.

My dad paid for me to go to basketball camps during the summer where I developed my skills even further and also made new friends and learned from other girls. These camps were held on university campuses.  It was a blast but I don’t know if I have ever been as tired as I was after a week of basketball practice all day long for a week. And the blisters on my feet proved it.


But what I now appreciate from the years I spent playing point guard is what it taught me for life.    I played and learned to:

  • be physically active and fit
  • develop life skills like leadership and resiliency
  • have fun and provide for emotional well-being
  • be with my friends (boys and girls)
  • be on a team

Playing basketball helps young girls learn basic coordination and team-building skills with an added bonus of making new friends along the way. My father and I have passed the love of the game onto my family as we are in the middle of March Madness with our beloved University of Kansas Jayhawks on the road to the Elite 8.

So if you have a young girl in your life, pump up a basketball, find a basketball court, and play a game of HORSE with her.  It may change her life, like it did mine. Thanks, Dad.

Combining love of basketball with love of travel

H-O-R-S-E is a game played by two people on a basketball court. The idea of the game involves matching baskets. The player who makes shots that the opponent does not duplicate, wins the game. Example: The second person shooting must duplicate the first person’s shot, if it is made. If the second shooter misses, he/she receives the letter “H”. If the first person’s shot is missed, the second shooter may attempt any shot. If his/her shot is made, the opponent is obligated to duplicate it. Each time a shooter misses a shot that he/she attempted to duplicate, a letter is “awarded”. The game continues until one person accumulates 5 letters or H-O-R-S-E. The Rules 1. The person who will shoot first will be determined by coin flip or basket shot. 2. Shots can be attempted from anywhere on the court. No dunking or stuffs. 3. Shots may be “slop” shots or “called” shots. “Called” shots must be made as the call indicates or counts as a miss. “Called” shots must be called before the shot. “Called” shots are as follows: a. Bank – off backboard and into basket, may touch rim. b. Bank Swish – off backboard and into basket without touching rim. c. Straight In – must go into basket without touching backboard or rim. d. Swish – directly into basket without touching backboard or rim. e. Opposite Hand – if shooter is right handed the shot is attempted with left hand and vice versa. f. Jump Shot – both feet off court when ball is released. g. Set Shot – both feet in contact with court when ball is released. h. Hook Shot – ball is released in arch over the body. 4. Trick shots involving spins and ball movement prior to release are not allowed. 5. No shot may be attempted twice in a row from the same spot to give the opponent 2 consecutive letters. 6. All games will be self-officiated on the honor system. 7. Match – best 2 out of 3 games.

Santa Fe All the Way

Santa Fe All the Way

Today, I am featuring a guest blogger, my long departed paternal grandfather, Lawrence E. Hauck,  who passed away in 1979.  He wrote this article, most likely in the 1960’s, for the Santa Fe Magazine, published date unknown.   I would like to think that Grandpa would have taken naturally to blogging and social media as is evident of his interest, through hamming, to connect his thoughts, reflections and experiences with his “new friends” hundreds of miles from his rather isolated home in Newton, Kansas.

Glimpses Into Amateur Radio Stations, Owned and Operated by Our Employees, Who Nightly Explore the Lower Wave Lengths in Search of New Friends and New Adventures

by Lawrence E. Hauck who owned Station W9CYV

Granpa’s Station squeezed into a second floor bedroom. The transmitter and power supply are built in the large rack at the right.  At the left can be seen the four-tube screen grid receiver and loud speaker.  This is a ten-watt station, power supplied by a step-up transformer from the city current.

Many of our employees, tired from the day’s work, go home, drop into an easy chair and snap on the radio, little dreaming that far below the range of scheduled programs there is a new world, inhabited by thousands of amateur operators, a vast army of friendly “hams” (as they prefer to be called) who nightly split the ether with the vibrant scream of their code signals, chatting with friends miles away, whom they have never seen, handling messages of a noncommercial nature, or swapping information about the weather, the girl friend, or the intensity of the ever-prevailing static.

The radio amateurs of the United States, sixteen thousand of them, enjoy perhaps the most fascinating and yet the least known of hobbies.  The public is privileged to gaze upon the efforts of the golfer or the stamp collector, but the radio amateur enjoys his hobby in an isolated upstairs room or basement nook, surrounded by a maze of wires and a barricade of equipment, where he can “pound brass” (operate) to his heart’s content.

The neighbors may view his squirrel cage aerial swinging from the mast, high above his house, and comment wonderingly on the necessity for such a contraption to bring the radio programs, and the postman may stare bewildered at the flood of postcards with strange call-letters on them which are delivered daily to the “ham’s” residence but generally speaking the public is scarcely aware of his hobby.

To tell about the growth and development of amateur radio would require more space than is available; sufficient to say, however, that no sooner had Marconi announced the first successful transmission of wireless signals, than a group of interested experimenters became bent on duplicating the feat, improving on his apparatus and extending its possibilities, not for monetary gain, but purely for the sake of the experiment.  Their number has grown to thousands.

The United States government, immediately after the World War, began granting licenses to all who could pass the required examination, free of charge, and this practice is continued today.  In order to operate an amateur radio station it is only necessary to have a working knowledge of the apparatus you wish to use, ability to send and receive Continental Morse code at ten words a minute, and a thorough knowledge of the international laws governing radio communication, such as preference to SOS calls and other rules too numerous to mention here.  Once the applicant passed the examination and secured his operator’s license and his station license and call letters, he can design and build his own transmitter an “get on the air.”

The government has allocated six different wave bands for amateur use:  160, 80, 40, 20, 10 and 5 meters, respectively and of this group the 40-meter band (7,000 kilocycles) is the most popular.  On this wave length static moderate even in the hot summer months, and radio signals carry like wildfire with a minimum amount of power.  On this band only code signals are allowed.  In other words, the operator is allowed to connect up a microphone and transmit speech, although the voice may be used on some of the other allotted wave lengths.

It might be well to clear up a point here:  in this connection many people think of code signals as “wireless” and programs or speech as “radio”.  This is a false interpretation, your radio set, placed in the parlor and used for receiving programs, is just as much a wireless set as is radio set used to receive code signals.  Radio and wireless are one and the same thing, but there are different kinds of signals, code and phonetic,  The majority of amateurs prefer to use code because of the greater distance that can be covered with a small amount of power.

During the past eight or ten years I have talked to hundreds of other amateurs throughout the United States, and it was a natural curiosity that led me to inquire as to the vocations of these “hams” when they were not tinkering with their radio equipment during their leisure hours.  Being a Santa Fe employee, naturally I was interested in communicating with other Santa Fe men who were located in other cities along the line, and to my surprise I discovered that many of these stations are operated by our employees, who enjoy amateur radio as a hobby.

Ham operator, Lawrence Hauck, transmitting code to fellow Santa Fe employees and friends

Finding Family

Finding Family

C1 and I have been doodling with for a couple of years now. The Hauck Family Tree has full branches but The Marshall Tree is missing major limbs so we need to get on that soon. Whenever we find a new leaf waiting with a clue, we get excited. This week was a bonanza for us. We had a message waiting for us full of historical information from one of my relatives who will reach 90 years young in just a few weeks. Her name is Ginger Cable and she lives just outside of San Diego. How did she find us? Because we posted a picture of C1 and I in front of her father’s grave in Madison, Kansas on our family tree and she saw it. Ginger wanted to know who those strange people were at her dad’s gravesite and we wanted to know her secret to keeping up with technology and social media at her age. Ginger’s dad — Harry Horn– is my great-grandfather’s, Charles Horn, younger brother. Several months ago on a return trip from Kansas, we took a side journey out into Flint Hills to find Harry’s grave. I had a picture of what the plot was suppose to look like well adorned with an impressive spiral monument. I couldn’t figure out how a man of little means, who died at only 32 years of age, leaving behind a wife and three young children, would have such an impressive grave marker. I knew the family was poor as were most farmers and small town folk in those years. Think Great Depression, think dust bowl, think middle America. I knew Harry had died in Texas working and had been buried back in Madison, his hometown. From research, I found cause of death was TB after serving his country during WW I and starting his family.

The detour last summer took us about 60 miles out of our way, added two hours to our trip time and I wondered if it was worth it at the time. What we found out in the middle of nowhere, at a very pretty and well maintained country cemetery, was that the marker on Harry’s grave was modest as expected and the monument we pictured was situated on a grave of someone not related to my clan. It was a disappointment at the time but C1 and I learned that primary and secondary sources are always best in genealogy research. We have often discovered that the data on is inaccurate and down right wrong so you have to proceed with caution and use multiple data points along the way or you can quickly go astray.

But then the sweet, informative note from Ginger arrived and we are adding information to the tree about what happened to her Mom, her sisters, and now her four sons. The tree just grew some new, strong branches to explore. I found a first cousin, twice-removed, living a wonderful, full life in sunny California who wants to know about her dad’s crazy family that she left behind many years ago. I hope to meet her one day and swap stories and share memories.

Sometimes when you think you have wasted time, you find that it pays big dividends later. So take time to explore when you have the chance. Her 90th birthday bash is in July. Should I go?