Why Giants won the World Series (again!)

The Giants won the World Series last night because the White Sox beat them in Chicago this summer.  Elementary, baseball fans!

The Giants won the World Series last night because the White Sox beat them in Chicago this summer. Elementary, baseball fans!

 

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Deere Niece

Travels with Andrea

by Charles McKelvy

Andrea Fitzpatrick is at home in the Quad Cities.

Andrea Fitzpatrick is at home in the Quad Cities.

(Silvis, Illinois) Our niece Andrea Fitzpatrick has been keen on having us visit her in her new digs in this sylvan section of the Quad Cities, and so we just happened to pick the best possible weekend of the present fall for our drive west on I-80.

What we always called Indian Summer was in full glory as we motored across the width of the Prairie State. We sailed south of Chicago’s suburban sprawl, crossing the Illinois River at Joliet and then heading out into the corn-and-soybelt of Mid-America. Farmers using equipment made by Andrea’s new employer, John Deere, were combining corn and cutting soybeans for a hungry planet as we beckoned to the siren call of America’s great river, the Mighty Mississippi.

Natalie, of course, had it all planned out, so all I had to do was drive, and then drive a little more to the exit at Colona and then right to Andrea’s doorstep in Silvis.

Natalie was ready to buy this John Deere combine and bring it home with us.

Natalie was ready to buy this John Deere construction equipment and bring it home with us.

Our charming young niece was eagerly awaiting our arrival, and she soon was guiding us on a tour of Deere and Company where she works in the manufacturing and design part of the information technology department. Andrea works on the computer systems that help the engineers design and manufacture products that literally feed the world. John Deere, by its own admission, “is the world’s leading producer of agricultural equipment, offering full lines of tractors; combine, cotton, and sugarcane harvesters; tillage, seeding, nutrient management and soil preparation machinery; sprayers; hay and forage equipment; and integrated agricultural management systems.”

And that’s just one division of what John Deere began in 1837 when he invented his famous steel plow.

Suffice it to say, we told Andrea how very proud of her we were and how grateful we are that she was helping to feed the planet.

Andrea smiled and then drove us to work.

Well, it looked more like a nature preserve with a steel building nestled artfully into the landscape.

Andrea proudly showed us Deere equipment for agriculture, construction and forestry both on Saturday and Sunday, and she was quite happy to walk us around the Deere campus on a delightful October afternoon.

Andrea took us on a walking tour of the John Deere campus.

Andrea took us on a walking tour of the John Deere campus.

We exercised our minds and our bodies, and I confessed to Andrea that I had aspired to work for John Deere back in 1974 when I visited a fraternity brother who lived in East Moline. I appeared unannounced at John Deere and sought a position in corporate communications and was politely rebuffed.

Andrea asked if I was disappointed, and I said: “Sure, I was. This is a great company, doing great things for the world. But if I had gotten the job, I would never have met Natalie on a blind date in 1976, and we would not be here together in 2014 watching your begin your brilliant career at John Deere.”

IMG_9213Andrea said that made sense, and on Sunday, when we visited the John Deere Store, she bought me a die-cast John Deere tractor to drive around my desk. I am looking at it now as I put the final pulses on this piece, and I am thinking: Thank you, Andrea. You are a Deere Niece for sure!

An aunt/niece bonding experience in the kitchen in Silvis, Illinois.

An aunt/niece bonding experience in the kitchen in Silvis, Illinois.

Andrea shows off her fancy Belgian waffle maker.  Our little army definitely traveled on its stomach.

Andrea shows off her fancy Belgian waffle maker. Our little army definitely traveled on its stomach.

Andrea explains the workings of a John Deere Sugarcane Harvester.

Andrea explains the workings of a John Deere Sugarcane Harvester.

Andrea saw that we got our walk along the Mississippi in Davenport, Iowa.

Andrea ensured that we got our walk along the Mississippi in Davenport, Iowa.

 

 

 

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Cat-a-genic

Jaqui says:  "Just picture this pretty puss next time you get the urge to drive off for the weekend."

Jaqui says: “Just picture this pretty puss next time you get the urge to drive off for the weekend.”

 

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River Cities with Andrea

Natalie with her niece Andrea Fitzpatrick at the source of all things John Deere.

Natalie with her niece Andrea Fitzpatrick at the source of all things John Deere.

(Quad Cities, Illinois/Iowa) Bob Burton got it right:  We spent a delightful weekend in the so-called Quad Cities along the Mississippi River with our lovely niece, Andrea Fitzpatrick.  A recent graduate of the University of Illinois, Andrea finds herself in the employ of Deere & Company at their world headquarters in Moline, Illinois.  Andrea not only showed off John Deere, but she took us across the river to discover the delights of Davenport, especially as displayed at the Figge Art Musuem. All that and more in the next several posts.

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Runs Like a Deere

An alert reader pegged the river in the previous post as the mighty Mississippi, and we indeed did cross the Big Muddy on Sunday, but where?  Here’s another hint or two before I break down and tell the whole story:

A Deere forest.

A Deere forest.

This bridge look familiar?

This bridge look familiar?

 

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A River Runs Through It

One more clue:  a river runs through our mystery destination.  To wit:

As a boy, I aspired to "mark the twain" on this river.

As a boy, I aspired to “mark the twain” on this river.

 

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Duck City

Before I reveal the true destination of our mystery trip this past weekend, I want to give you some hints, and the reader who first identifies where we were Saturday and Sunday gets the satisfaction of being really, really well-traveled.  Here are your clues:

Look familiar?

Look familiar?

How about this?

How about this?

Ducks, geese, and swans on the pond.  Appropriate for World Series time.

Ducks, geese, and swans on the pond. Appropriate for World Series time.

 

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