Dianne sent along some photos yesterday of Dry Flat, my country school alma mater, that took a hit during the storms that roamed around here Saturday evening at the end of another "excessive heat" day. Well-mannered (and well-built) even when in extremis, it didn't collapse on the baler, but seems to have been badly twisted and left wihout one of its visible means of support --- to the future is not necessarily optimistic.
It's not that the old school building was exactly pretty or that anyone had plans to restore it --- it was just the fact that it was still there and still serving a purpose.
Dry Flat has worked for a living as a hay shed/machine shed on the Vincent farm down south of Russell (or northwest of Confidence, or northeast of Bethlehem) since it ceased being a school during the late 1950s. We had a lot of fun last summer riding down on hayracks to take a look at it during the Dry Flat reunion at Harold's and Dianne's place.
The excessive heat warnings have receded this morning below the Missouri border, which is a good thing for RAGBRAI riders, who began their week-long trek on wheels from the Missouri to the Mississippi rivers at Glenwood on Sunday.
Surely everyone by now knows about the Register's Annual Great Bike Ride Across Iowa, but just in case --- it is, I think, the nation's biggest mass bike ride involving many thousands of folks from around the nation who (in theory at least) dip a bicycle wheel in the Missouri River on Sunday, ride across the state together, then dip a wheel in the Mississippi the following Saturday.
In between, there's a lot of sweat, much grazing, a lot of socializing and considerable partying in host towns along the way. Chariton played host two summers ago; this year's route meanders up from southwest Iowa to Boone, north of Des Moines, then heads south and then east to Davenport.
A RAGBRAI visit is a monumental organizational task for host cities, but a lucrative one, and the bikers (plus a few skaeboarders, an inline skater or two and a vast non-cycling entourage) are as a rule well-behaved and tidy. Or at least they were in Chariton, where overnight population was multipled by at least four.
Anyhow, those of us who watch rather than ride hope they have a good time, don't overheat and that all those "excessive" warnings stay in Missouri.
I've added a couple of "stuff I read" links to the sidebar --- something I usually forget to do (and I do spend a little time each day reading other blogs).
The first, The Ragged Society of Antiquarin Wanderers, is British --- and a little quirky, involving a group of folks who just wander, visting a variety of sites --- churches and the like --- of antiquarian interest. I've done a certain amount of that, too, although "antiquarian" is not as antique here as it is there.
The other belongs to Rachel Held Evans, a Tennessean who writes mostly about religious issues from what I would call an "enlightened" evangelical perspective. And by "enlightened" I do not mean theologically liberal --- because she isn't. But thoughtful, willing to ask questions and explore answers involving issues that some at that end of the Christian spectrum are inclined to ignore or dismiss or are just downright scared of.
It's an interesting perspective in a time of what seems to be increasing Christian polarization, conservatives who consign liberals to hell and liberals who dismiss conservatives as wingnuts. Neither approach is especially useful, or accurate, or helpful --- unless the goal is to marginalize Chrstianity.