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Monday, September 8, 2014

The Zig of the Zag in Iowa


September 8, 2014 Comfort Inn Rm 320 Kearney, Nebraska

Hello Everyone! This is the recap of our day yesterday with today’s adventures to follow in another blog.

Yes, indeed, GNG, the respite from the computer last night was quite nice though the TV offerings were a bit sparse. Although we had Iowa PBS, Barb was most disappointed to miss the last of the three parts to Breathless ( I was not sorry—poor quality soap opera, most unusual for Masterpiece. I didn’t even watch the second part. ). I, on the other hand, thoroughly enjoyed the story of Roman Empire engineering feats.

Jane, that rocking chair surely was a hoot. Bets, do you remember Alice’s chair in Storytown that Aunt Barb made you climb the fence so that you could pose in it?

Yesterday was simply beautiful—70’s and breezy with no humidity. We headed south through Iowa countryside in which more barns than I wanted to photograph had quilt squares on the peaks. I was particularly amused by the Hog Haven ads that took that motif for its campaign. Of course, Purina’s red and white squares is nothing more than a simple quilt pattern.

The town of Fairfield was quite interesting—it and the land preceding the town limits appears to be owned by The Maharishi somebody or other. There are all kinds of large buildings including several that are the buildings of a Indian community college. Rather surprising, but I haven’t researched the community at all. As we left town, Barb exclaimed: I hate driving in all this terrible traffic. I tell you, that girl complains about everything—just no pleasing her!  LOL

Soon we arrived at the town of Eldon—quiet and deserted on a Sunday morning. It is here that Grant Wood found the house in front of which he chose to paint his sister and his dentist, neither of whom ever were at the house or even met each other. Some interesting boards giving all kinds of information about the artist and the painting. I’ll let those of you interested to read them for yourselves.

Barb and I  arrived to a totally empty place—even the visitors’ center was closed. Within seconds we were joined by another couple, followed closely by a very noisy group of motorcycles, ridden by a very noisy group of motorcyclists. Yet, despite first impressions, they were all local Iowans out for a Sunday ride and were funny and friendly. The couple had fancy cell phones and I agreed to take their picture. She had a pink one and it would not snap but his gray  matching one fired like a pro. She wanted me to take several to make sure they were good. Then, when she got the pink one going, it was take a few more. She took Barb and me, too. Then she did the group photo and several couple shots of the riders. After all this photography, we read the boards—oh, my, then she wanted me to take another couple of shots of them, not smiling and using the directions. He was a bit embarassed that she asked but I love taking pictures and assured him it was not a problem. I didn’t ask her to do the same however, so Barb and I are not aligned like the painting with the roof line, we are smiling, too. LOL  If we wanted to wait an hour when the center opened we could have borrowed a pitchfork and clothing but I like our version of the Masterpiece just fine. Meg and Sally, remember the postcard on the shelf in Montpelier? I think Fred sent it to Mom and Dad. What a hoot.

After waves and smiles and have a great day all around we were off once more to continue West on rte 34. Somewhere along the line we saw a picture for the Swedish Immigration Monument—what the heck?  That’s why we take back roads so off we went—a lovely sculpture grouping on a gravel road in the middle of nowhere—to the side of the Munterville Lutheran Church.

Back to 34 and an old car—no markings—looked like primer—the hood was louvered but couldn’t tell if it was hinged in the middle or the windshield end. Reminded Barb and me of the first Buick we can remember as kids. Bench seats in grey soft fabric. Lap robe ropes on the back of the front seat, straps on the side walls and a white bakelite  knob in the middle front roof to turn a short antenna – I even think the windshield may have been in two sections but not sure. Running boards. At about this time one of our hitch-hiking flies started pestering me. I said I need one of those electrified tennis racquets like I gave Bill. She laughed and said she was thinking EXACTLY the same thing.

As we continued in silence, which is how we usually travel, we watched the turkey vultures riding the thermals and having a blast. One rose gracefully among them and I said he almost looks like an airplane—a few seconds later, we saw that it WAS an airplane! On we went, stopping in Osceola for gas and then through Lorimor on our way north again to Winterset, the birthplace of John Wayne.to our amazement, the movie The Bridges of Madison County was also filmed here. I enjoyed the movie but aside from the fact that a few of these bridges have flat roofs, totally impractical in Vt, I doubt they’d be anything too exceptional.

So we spent about 20 minutes in the four room home in which Marion Robert Morrison was born on May 26, 1907.  The town has a big celebration every year—John’s daughter comes and his granddaughter has come and sung at the three day festival. The family has donated all kinds of family pictures and there are lots of props ect from movies he was in. Maureen O’Hara, at 94 came in her wheelchair last year to break ground for the new museum being built and plans on returning for the grand opening this coming May. God Bless her! The docent said she’s in a wheelchair and old but she still has red hair—that’s my girl! The funny thing is that Wayne and his family left Winterset when he was 3 and he never returned. Love it.

Two quotes from him that I love are:

'Each of us is a mixture of some good and some not so good qualities. In considering one's fellow man it's important to remember the good things ... We should refrain from making judgments just because a fella happens to be a dirty, rotten SOB.'"

"Tomorrow is the most important thing in life. Comes into us at midnight very clean. It's perfect when it arrives and it puts itself in our hands. It hopes we've learned something from yesterday."[

He had some strange attitudes toward the ability of Blacks and also the taking of the land from Native Americans but no one is perfect. He was a good entertainer and we liked him.

Before leaving town we drove around looking at the buildings, most of which predated his birth. The Bootery is the building which was his father’s drugstore/shoe store—fitting, I’d say. Then we continued north to De Soto and got on I80 since we weren’t sure where we were going to find a motel for the night—they are few and far between in this neck of the woods.

At the Stuart Exit several chain motels were  listed, but though there were several lovely buildings in town we could not find the motels—perhaps the exit number was another one and we were so happy to see the motel names we forgot to read the exit. Although the Hotel Stuart listed itself as strictly modern, we though it looked a bit tired ( and empty!). So back we went to the Interstate and at Adair, we found a Budget Inn. Of a different age, but clean and comfortable. An Indian lady came to check us in and when she opened her living quarter door, the smells of the Indian spices made my stomach growl in appreciation. I think she was pleased when I told her it smelled delicious. And so, another Iowa day came to an end, and we were tired and grateful for the place to rest.

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