Thursday, July 23, 2009

The lazy way out ...

I'm accustomed to sending out reports to one and all via e-mail now and then. Since I'm too lazy today to do anything specifically here, here's the latest --- like it or not --- entltled "Down South on the 23rd of July."

Occasional rain continues, the grass is growing, the flowers look great and I’m hovering hopefully over the tomatoes, wating for the first to ripen. Neighbors on both sides already are enjoying their produce. My excuse is, I got a late start. Lee’s garden, especially, is a wonder. His corn is 12 feet tall, I kid you not, and a towering contraption the corrals cucumbers is just as tall, if not taller. So it’s great day to be alive in southern Iowa. But July is moving too fast --- I’m not ready to give it up yet!

RAGBRAI overnighted last night in Chariton and that provided lots of fun for everyone and seemed to go off without a hitch --- other than a brief early-morning thunderstorm today that seemed to have no purpose other than getting everyone camped outside good and wet. It’s seemed a little empty today after our population dropped abruptly from 25,000 to 5,000, but today’s route is one of the longest and prettiest --- through Millerton, Bethlehem and Confidence, past the new Honey Creek Resort on Lake Rathbun, then into Moravia and down the old Mormon Trail to Unionville, up to Blakesburg and then into Ottumwa. So everyone was eager to hit the road.

At St. Andrew’s, it was great to host Team Timmy and the Greasy Chains, including several Mason Cityans from St. John’s (including the rector, Wendy, just back from General Convention in Anaheim and headed for the altar with that judge many of us know in two weeks) and First United Methodist as well as a variety of other bikers Episcopalian and otherwise. What a crew! They got up Thursday morning, scrubbed and vacuumed, and left the joint so spotless there was nothing for the St. Andrew’s clean-up crew to do. Fred and Sherrie Steinbach had the whole Team Timmy crew down for supper Wednesday evening, a truly impressive feat since they already had a house and lawn full of RAGBRAI participants.

Speaking of St. Andrew’s, I’ve been entertaining myself for the last couple of weeks starting a new blog for the parish --- nothing elaborate all, but designed to give us a Web presence. Entering the Internet era is a challenge for congregations of all denominations and sizes, but especially the smaller ones like us without resources to hire a developer. A blog (darn it, John, I should have mentioned this during that seminar session I had a lot of fun presenting for you a couple of weeks ago) is a quick, easy and cheap way to start. Before all is said and done I’m going to figure out how to design and launch Web pages myself, but that’s still a ways in the future. Anyhow, you can find it here if you care to take a look.

I was planning a quiet day, since it’s unwise to travel east of here today with RAGBRAI on the road, when Nick called say he’d just located more of the fabric of the Ilion (Mallory’s Castle --- several of you already have shared our Mallory’s Castle fireplace adventure in that old chicken house down toward Millerton), but the items had to be removed TODAY! So that will be my afternoon. This is window trim and other scraps of stonework that have been at rest as part of the landscaping at the mayor’s house for several years. John now has sold this house, however, and if we want the stuff it’s got to be evacuated. My aching back!

I’ve found an ally in my Iowaville adventures in the person of Mike Miller, who chairs the Bonaparte Historical Society. He did a bit of scouting for me among records in Ottumwa and found the 1846 probate file of John Tolman, an early Indian trader along the Des Moines River and one of founders of my favorite ghost town, so I’ll be off to Ottumwa tomorrow to examine that file. Now this may not seem especially exciting to you, but remember --- all excitement is relative.

That’s it for this time. Hope all of you have a great weekend!

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