Byron News: We need to designate beautiful yards around town again


Last summer I mentioned Leah and Levi Shetler, who had moved to Byron and purchased a place that had been empty and neglected for some years.

The former owner had collected old cars, and after following the town ordinance, he had put up a tall fence so they weren’t an eyesore. The cars were not classic or considered collectables, but to him they were.

A few weeks ago, I had to stop by and talk to Leah about the transformation that had taken place. When we spoke before, they were concentrating on the inside renovation and had done a wonderful job of making a beautiful home. Now to the outside. They had arranged to have all of the old vehicles hauled off, built a greenhouse, taken part of the fence down to expose a garden that is thriving and put it in a front yard area.

It is an amazing transformation and worth driving by. One can’t help but admire the industriousness that it has taken for them to get so far in realizing their vision in a short time. Such a nice addition to our town. Leah and Levi found a diamond in the rough and are polishing it up nicely.

There used to be a small group in town that named themselves “The Beautification Committee.” I remember two couples that were members, Wally and Mary Jensen and Dennis and Laurabelle Cozzens. They did a great job of setting a high standard for yards by working hard to keep theirs looking weed free and groomed. I don’t know the routine they had, but every so often a sign would appear in someone’s yard announcing them as the “Beautiful Yard.” A trophy of sorts.

We need a committee like that again. There are other efforts being made throughout town besides the one I spotlighted above. Seeing our neighbors work hard to make a better place is inspiring and encouraging. The recent rains have certainly greened up things around my house; unfortunately, the greenest and fastest growing are the weeds. I’m hoping to get ahead of them somehow, but I am losing the race currently. 

There is a page on Facebook called Old Byron Folks. Things get posted there, like the loss of schoolmates, memories of growing up here and reminders of the freedom of heading out to the river bottom or the sand hills and not returning until the end of the day during the summer. As it gets closer to the alumni reunion, July 13, people start posting old school pictures of class or club groups, basketball teams and ping-pong photos.  It is always fun to take a look back at “the olden days.”

This year we honor those classes ending in 4, so it’s the 50th for those who graduated in 1964. Many of them are returning to their hometown. Most started school in first grade together and became lifelong friends. Hope we have a good turnout. Our numbers are dwindling.

We gather at the town hall, which used to be the old school lunchroom, and last year we did the lunch line around to the buffet. We missed those wonderful cooks who were always there to sling the hash and greet us with a smile (most of the time). My memory is sitting at the big wooden picnic type tables. My first-grade teacher, Mrs. Nicholls, sat with us to make sure we cleaned our tray. All that wasted food would somehow impact the starving children in China.

One day we had soup. My little 6-year-old self picked up the bowl and drank the last spoonfuls. I remember Mrs. Nicholls was aghast and asked me where I learned those manners. My answer: “We do this at home.” When I reported to my mom, she was embarrassed. Moms understand that reaction. I think that may be why Show and Tell became unpopular -- too much showing and telling.