Sunday, June 07, 2009

HAPPENINGS IN THE HEARTLAND

Well, we have had an interesting week, so what else is new? We have burned up the road visiting family, doing genealogy research and seeing the sights of Missouri and Iowa and I have to tell you I love these two states. The freeways and secondary roads in Missouri are smooth and well marked but unfortunately, I can’t say the same for Iowa where signage is sparse, the back roads are rough and even the interstates need work. We have also decided that Iowans have learned to drive on long straight roads, as they are all speed demons. Our slow pace has drawn a few honks and dirty looks.

We do so love the green rolling hills; acres upon acres of dark rich soil planted with corn and soybeans complete with personal ponds (or watering holes I guess you would say); sleek horses and fat cattle grazing in grass up to their bellies. Did I mention the peaceful, well-groomed old farmhouses surrounded with gorgeous flowerbeds and the barns in a variety of conditions that are a feast for the eyes. I couldn’t help but feel what I tagged “Silo Envy” from one farm to the next. The small farmer with only one silo must surely envy his neighbor who has three or four tall shiny new silos, right? Maybe it is just me! How can we ever tire of visiting small towns, most with a glorious town square, many with a magnificent and picture-perfect courthouse smack in the middle? I will never understand why the easterners gave up that concept of the town square when they moved west. It just makes the town so welcoming, not to mention practical for the local merchants.

However, that said, for the most part, the weather sucks. Cold, wet and snowy in the winter, hot and humid in the summer and tornados, hail, thunder and lightning in the spring. I don’t know about fall … maybe that is the time to visit. But, if you can overlook that part of the equation—this is truly a beautiful part of our big wide wonderful country to live in and explore. I am so pleased to have finally traveled my way to these states and if I am struck by lightning or sucked up into a tornado before we get out of here … well, just remember I was doing what made me enormously happy at the time! We have been lucky; only enduring a few rainy, thunder and lightning storms with a bit of tiny hail. But like they say, “It ain’t over ‘til the fat lady sings.”

After I finished the blog last Sunday, we drove south to LaPlata, MO to visit with my cousin, Bill, his wife Jackie and their daughter, Delma. It was a very pleasant afternoon and after several hours of catching up, they drove us to a very nice, local eatery in their town. We finished our visit with a meal and more great conversation. It was so good to see them and learn all is well in their branch of the family as it has been 12 years since our family got together at the reunion in Lake Tahoe, NV.

I told you I would report on our refrigerator repair … so far, so good. Mark Bontrager (he is Amish) of Fox River Fridges, four miles west of Drakesville, IA did a great job rebuilding a cooling unit for our model and when we arrived this past Wednesday he was ready for us and two hours later we were put back together and working like a new unit. The repair cost us $661.00 total as compared to our first quote of $900 plus labor OR $1,700 for a new refrigerator. Needless to say, we were very pleased and continue to be as our unit keeps on cooling as promised.

Never let it be said that we can go a week or so without a hitch in our git-a-long. Since the trip to Fox River Fridges was only 40 miles I drove the truck rather than hooking up as we usually do before we pull out. Consequently, I failed to do a last minute walk-around and add a second set of eyes to pulling out so when Phil started to drive our Penny the Pace out of her spot, a scraping noise stopped him in his tracks. Of course, because I didn’t check on them, for whatever reason, our electric steps had failed to retract and gotten snagged by the cement sidewalk around our site. Phil stopped immediately and with sheer muscle and a little help from Penny he straightened them enough to get them to fold up but they need a bit more TLC in order to be useable again. Poor Phil … this is the second set of stairs to be damaged but like I always say: “If money can fix it, it is not a problem!” Terminal cancer, life-threatening illness or a death in the family is a problem. Anything that can be fixed is only an inconvenience!

Lots of pictures again this week! If Blogger was faster there would be more but it takes me so long to load them, I’d be here until Monday if I showed them all!

Until next time …

6 comments:

  1. Sadly most of our "squares" are no longer retail businesses, they have all moved down the highways to ___Mart. a thorn in my side. I really miss our busy squares, I loved them.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Joy, We live about 10 miles from a town here in WA called "Alger". I wonder if any of your relatives started it???
    We are getting closer to being motorhome owners! Yesterday we drove down to Olympia to look at possibly "the one"! :)
    All the best to you --
    Susan

    ReplyDelete
  3. Don't think my last try at commenting came through for some reason. So if this is a duplicate, I am sorry. I love townsquares too. I have pictures of them mostly in TN when we have visited there. We did not like the roads in IA either too much. We visited Bob's relatives in Danville. Have a wonderful week.

    ReplyDelete
  4. I love your tales Joy (your pictures too). Keep on writing and I'll keep on reading. I'm so jealous because I'd love to grab the Farmer and head out to explore this big country of our. I'm glad you've found the midwest to be so wonderful. Northern Illinois is pretty much the same as Iowa I believe. Have you been to Hannibal, Missouri to do the whole "Mark Twain" experience? It's fun.

    - Suzanne, the Farmer's Wife

    ReplyDelete
  5. Joy and Phil, you always have a good story to tell! We also love the midwest and its back roads and small towns. Have you been to Decorah, IA? That's a lovely place.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Hi, you guys. Sounds like you are having a good time with few mishaps. Gotta take the bad with the good, though. I am trying to rest a minute and catch up on my blog reading. Having a 5 year old around is a little hectic. He will be staying another week when his mom leaves, then my daughter-in-law will be here with her three girls for a long week-end! She will be taking all the kids home with her. She is a brave soul! I will be trying to catch rest where ever I can. Drive safe!

    ReplyDelete