Top 10 Christmas Necessities


Christmas traditions for every family vary. Some people open presents on Christmas Eve, others on Christmas Day. Some families observe the Christmas Pickle tradition, others Secret Santa. Here at the Barker household we have a few traditions that we’ve picked up over the years that make Christmas very special to our family

  1. Sleep in: we don’t need to wake up at the butt-crack of dawn to spend time together. It’s a long enough day as it is.
  2. Eat breakfast first. We always have a very special breakfast made by Karla that gets everyone warm in the heart and belly.
  3. Pajamas: we all sit around the Christmas tree in our pjs. Slippers, hats and robes are a-plenty
  4. Seth the Christmas elf: Seth always hands out the gifts. Maybe it just gives him something to do
  5. Youngest goes first: we open our gifts youngest to oldest (again, giving Seth something to do)
  6. Slow opens: with just four of us, we try to take our time opening gifts. We talk, share stories and laugh about Christmas debacles past.
  7. Clean as you go: I had to learn this from Karla, but we put the wrappings in the garbage bags (prepped and ready) as we unwrap each gift.
  8. Santa gift: we have one gift each year that comes from Santa for the kids. It’s usually the “wow” gift of the lot. This is when the picture is taken.
  9. No pictures, but one: we aren’t a photo-capturing family. Karla and I never got into photography, selfies or family Christmas photos. So, we usually take 2-3 pics tops of the event. Mostly it is of the Santa gift so we remember not to buy the same thing next year!
  10. Hugs: we end every Christmas with huge loving hugs, thanking everyone who got us a gift.

These are probably not like your traditions, but I’m glad. Your traditions are yours because of the time and energy you have spent making them. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have some stockings to stuff!

Obituary for Terry Norman Taylor


Terry N. Taylor, 71, of Clinton, Iowa passed away at home on Monday, December 24, 2018. Honoring his wishes, cremation rites will be accorded with a Memorial service occurring at 1 pm on Saturday, December 29, 2018 at Lemke Funeral Homes – South Chapel (2610 Manufacturing Drive). A visitation will occur 2 hours prior from 11 am until the service hour on Saturday. Private burial will take place at a later date. Lemke Funeral Homes assisted the family with arrangements.

Terry was born July 21, 1947 in Clinton, Iowa the son of Hudson and Maxine (Jordan) Taylor. He was a graduate of Fulton High School. Terry was united in marriage to Barbara Hilligoss on September 18, 1981.

Terry worked as a line operator at Case IH, retiring after 30 years. Following retirement, he worked in maintenance services at the First Baptist Church, East Moline, Illinois. He was a member of the Fraternal Order of Freemasons.

Terry loved fishing, whether it was fishing locally or on fishing trips to various states. Terry was a collector, whether he was collecting coins using his metal detector, adding to his coin collection, or collecting sports cards. He loved going to coin and card conventions. Above all, he loved his family very much and will be greatly missed.

Terry is survived by his daughter – Dianne (Dan) Percy of Thomson, IL; sons – Terry (Sonya Dawson) Taylor and Joe (Becci Peterson) Taylor both of Clinton; sister – Nadine Klotz of Zephyr Hills FL; Uncle Phillip Jordan of Clinton; many grandchildren and great-grandchildren; with several nieces, nephews, cousins and friends.

Preceding Terry in death were his parents, his wife Barbara and sister Joyce.

The Duke


Not many young people know who John Wayne is anymore, but I remember watching television with my grandpa (Pop) and seeing The Duke in action. I think back now and realize that he wasn’t really a good actor. He played the same person is most, if not all of his roles. The reason I believe he was popular is his believable nature. I could see a person like him being a cowboy are a war hero.

This weekend Karla and I were in Winterset, IA. We drove pass the John Wayne Museum, which was easy to do since it isn’t that big. The statue was (seen above) was outside standing just as tall and ominous at Wayne was himself. It made me think back to different times. Times when heroes were easy to spot and people long to fight against evil. John Wayne had a little bit to do with that.

Audubon, IA


I came across this guy in Audubon (pronounced “Ah-duh-bin”) this last weekend. I had to pull over and take his picture. I didn’t know that Albert was such a celebrity. I later found out that he has been featured in a Super Bowl commercial from Cenex. I didn’t know he was so famous. Just one more reason to stop in a small town and enjoy the sites.

First Day of School


We like to celebrate the first day of a school at the Barker house. There’s breakfast, pictures, rides provided, prepped clothing–you get it. It has become even more exciting with educators in the house.  Now kids AND parents anticipate what the first day of school will be like. Questions swirl through the mind:

  • Will they like me?
  • Will I have all the materials I need?
  • Is there a swirly in my future? (Wait! That’s what I used to wonder in Jr. High)
  • Can I accomplish what I set out to accomplish?

There is nothing quite like the first day of school, whether you are sending your student off, or going to your first class. It is a feeling that should be bottled and sold to people who go to work in the same cubicle day after day, year after year. The excitement/anxiety ratio (EAR) is almost audible. You can hear, taste, smell and feel the energy as new lockers are discovered, old friends are reconnected, new friends are made, and new rhythms of life are learned.

As schools across the state welcome new students there will be an understanding of a quote from Ernest Hemingway;

“We are all apprentices in a craft where no one ever becomes a master.”

…but the fun is in the attempt.

Betty Horn Obituary


BETTY J. HORN, 93, Morrison, IL, died peacefully in her home, Thursday, June 14, 2018.

Betty was born June 19, 1924, in Cordova, IL, to Phillip and Kathryn (Schmitt) Hetz. She was educated in the Lynn Grove Grade School of rural Rock Island County, and was a graduate of Cordova High School. She attended the American Institute of Commerce in Davenport, IA. Betty married Charles H. Horn on May 13, 1944 in Cordova. He died April 29, 2017. She was employed as a secretary for Nichols Wire and Steel Company in Davenport. Later she farmed with her husband in Newton Township and worked as a baker for the former Florence Café in Erie. She was a current member of First Baptist Church in Morrison, and a former member of Garden Plain Presbyterian Church and the First Baptist Church in Fulton, IL.

Survivors include twin daughters, Linda (Dick) Adams of Morrison and Rita (Donnie) Barker of Davenport; one son, Robert Horn of Conroe, TX; nine grandchildren, Randy (Deb) Adams, Rick Adams, Kathi (Mike) Krall, Tim (Teri) Adams, Terri (Oliver) Stanford, Brandon (Karla) Barker, Tom (Michele) Barker, Nathan (Courtney) Barker Lori Olea; twenty-six great grandchildren; seven great-great grandchildren; one brother, Robert Hetz and Ardyth Nolan of Port Byron, IL.

She was preceded in death by her parents; husband, Chuck; one sister, Grace Hetz; one brother, George Hetz.