Sacrifice, Freedom, and Opportunity

I love basketball, so I took my 95 year old father to a University of Nebraska basketball game last week.  He really enjoys getting out and even though he has macular degeneration and thus can’t see very well.  He really enjoys the noise and cheering and fun of a university game.  He has been a longtime supporter of UNL as he has owned 4 seats for Nebraska football ever since the 40’s when he returned home from the war and settled down to farm and raise his family.  These seats are on the 45 yard line and are 32 rows up.  I can tell you that these are “near” perfect seats and are very coveted in Nebraska.  My sisters and I now enjoy those seats and are benefitting from his commitment and vision that he had those many, many years ago.  He knew it was important to believe, support, work, commit, and sacrifice for these many things that he believed in.  How BLESSED we ALL are for those who have gone before us and sacrificed so much for our freedom and opportunity.  If we all stay committed to what is true, good, pure, and helpful to mankind, we can expect the next generations to prosper as we have. 

On the Slopes and Elsewhere

I just returned from skiing at Copper Mountain with my brothers-in-law and some friends.  We had a great time with “good” snow and “great” weather.  The only thing better with the weather would have been if it was snowing all the time we were there so that we would have had “great” snow.   Having said that, my knees survived one more year of skiing, as did everyone’s, so we had a lot of fun.  My daughter and son-in-law also accompanied us to the slopes, where she met up with 2 of her college friends with husbands in tow, and the 3 ladies all celebrated their 40th birthdays.  I can remember how bad it hurt back when I turned 40, so just think how I feel now when my oldest child has just turned 40.  Where does the time go!   Thus…….this week’s reminder to all who read this……..”live life to the fullest, because it is gone in an instant”. 
Life at Oxbow continues to be a “buzz” with activity.  Our growth continues to be very strong as more and more people are caring more deeply about their small animals, and they know that Oxbow is the leader in helping with that.  We continue to do health related research that I think could have significant affects upon these animals that we all care so deeply about.  More on all of that as it becomes pertinent. 
Have a great week.

Oxbow Scholars

A few days ago, we received a letter from one of last year’s recipients of one of our annual scholarships.  The recipient was writing to express gratitude for the financial support she had received, as well as to provide us an update with her course of study and future plans in the veterinary field.  Hearing from this student was a real pleasure and an affirmation that investing in tomorrow’s leaders is always a worthwhile endeavor.

Our annual scholarships are designed to support students pursuing various careers in the animal health field.  We offer four scholarships annually – a Nebraska High School scholarship, an Undergraduate scholarship, Veterinary Technology scholarships, and a Veterinary Medicine scholarship.  The deadline for the 2015 Oxbow Scholarship Program is March 1st, and we’re looking forward to supporting students once again.  If you know of any scholars in need of financial support, please share the details with them.

My Nebraska, My Home

Many parts of life are centered around family, but I think none is quite as focused on family as is the Christmas season.  A year ago, I posted pictures of our kids and grandkids being pulled on sleds on one of our many grass fields that surround our home.  This year there was no snow (part of me thinks that is great……but the stronger part of me wishes there was a little) so there was no sledding at Grandma and Grandpa's.  But Christmas was still great with all kinds of games entertaining the family.   Both of our grand-families love to play games of all kinds, and especially board games.  (I have found it to be an interesting “life dynamic” at what a very short period of time it is between “taking it easy on the younger grandchildren and letting them win” to “now I cannot beat them no matter how hard I try, and they know all of the rules and strategies far better than I do.”)  We also had great “new life” news as our daughter, Stacia, announced that they are expecting again, plus great “continuing life” news when the car with both daughters and 3 granddaughters slid off of the road and totaled the car, but no one was injured.  Thanks be to God. 

Another memorable moment was when I stopped by my Mother’s (Mary) grave for bit of reflection.  Mom was a very talented artist, quilter and writer, with many of her pictures adorning the homes of several of the neighbors who had always admired her work.  She wrote many poems, of which the family favorite was titled “My Nebraska, My Home”.  Since it was our favorite, we had a copy of it written on her tombstone.   I regret to admit that I had kind of forgotten about it, until I saw it again on the tombstone.  And, I think it bears to be shared.   I think that you will notice the themes of beauty and quilting and how that is all tied together in her life.  I hope that you enjoy “My Nebraska, My Home”…….

Deep in the heart of our Prairie Lands

The ageless windmill reigns-

Whirling, turning, creaking, pumping,

Monarch of the plains!

‘Tis a lovely symbol of this land we love,

Transformed to “Patchwork Land”-

Each piece telling of beauty around us-

A quilt to dream of and plan!

So I took a cloud from the rosy dawn,

The gold from the noonday sun;

The violet and the blue from the evening sky,

And a prayer when each day is done.

I found the tender green of spring’s first buds-

The azure blue of the sky;

A glint of white and a clear, wild call

As snow geese wing on high!

And there’s the blue-green shimmer of fields of corn-

“Knee-high by the Fourth of July”,

And the glorious thrill of the red, white and blue,

As Old Glory passes by!

I caught a sweet breath of hay in windrow deep,

Touched by the night’s first dew;

And the clear, sweet song of the meadowlark,

A vesper when day is through.

And when the air turns crisp,

And we clap to the tune of “Dear Old Nebraska U”.

None can rival our Cornhusker Red

On a Saturday afternoon!

I gathered the bronze and the ruby red

From October’s burnished hills;

And the feathery white of the first snowfall

On my drifted windowsill!

‘Tis bordered by forests and rivers wild-

From the sandhills to Arbor Lodge;

Dotted with homes and schools and churches,

Founded on courage and faith in God.

Of these I fashioned my patchwork quilt,

Each piece chosen with special care;

‘Tis quilted with history, lest we forget-

And with faith for tomorrow, to Dream and Dare.


It goes without saying that the holidays are a busy time for all of us.  For Pat and I, we are blessed this year to share the company of our children and eight wonderful grandchildren.  We count our blessings each day – blessing of family, friends and freedom.  I wanted to take a moment this busy time of year to say thank you to all of you and count the blessings of you and your animal companions as well.  Your support makes it possible for Oxbow to be a successful company and produce the products your pets enjoy, but there’s more to it than that.  From the beginning, we have been blessed to give back in various ways.  Thanks to you, we are able to support those who advocate in the name of animals – veterinarians, rescue organizations, students, and others.  On behalf of everyone in the Oxbow family, thank you, and have a warm and wonderful holiday season.