Friday, October 14, 2011

Children of the corn

Roberta amid the corn --- who knew a cornfield ripe for harvest would be a tourist attraction.

Still touring today as Pat and Bob Deitlein head on to Wisconsin for a week with their daughter and son-in-law before driving back down toward Birmingham and Roberta and I make a quick trip over to Red Oak and back before her return flight this evening to Los Angeles.

It's always fun to see southern Iowa through others' eyes, and she's done good this week. Except for some fairly strong gusts of winds, Thursday was a gorgeous day; today promises more of the same.

The visitors have been charmed by Dual Gables (except for the fact the bathroom door won't stay shut, inconvenient when all those staying there aren't intimately related; a cooler, however, compensated by acting as a prop). It's a beautifully restored little building, looking much as it did when built during the 1880s and comfortably furnished, and probably could generate a substantial stream of revenue if marketed a little more aggressively.

We've had five great meals at area restaurants: the Panda Buffet ("Only $8 for the buffet? That would cost $25 in Los Angeles"); Pennington's and Get Mugged in Chariton; Ludlow's at Corydon; and Honey Creek Resort. Honey Creek wins the ambience award, Ludlow's coming in second. Since we've not yet had a frost, the plantings at both Honey Creek and Ludlow's were spectacular.

Piper's and Ben Franklin were the big hits on the Chariton square, as they usually are. Piper's candy is headed for Wisconsin and a set of hand-embroidered dish towels and a Queen Anne's Lace Christmas tree ornament, plus t-shirts, headed for California. If it didn't cost so darned much to check bags on airline flights these days, I could have sold a hand-woven rug, too.

The landscape sells itself, although we're so accustomed to it I'm not sure we take it seriously. We drove through Red Haw, then out to Salem near sunset Thursday, where the only sound was wind rustling through the corn field to the north. That was magic.

And, yes, we helped ourselves to an ear or two of corn --- mildly larcenous, I suppose, but had there been a "donations" can hooked to a fence posts, we'd have paid. These will find their way, I was told, to Thanksgiving tables in other parts of the country.

Even soybeans were of interest. We stopped near a field driveway and got out to walk around --- just to see what those fields were all about.

The museum drew rave reviews (when was the last time you stopped in to poke around and see what might interest or inspire you?). Even our acorns, "classics" not available elsewhere in the country, were popular --- and several are now headed elsewhere for use in craft projects.

It's been a great way to end a week, spending time with folks whose ancestors are woven into the fabric of Lucas County and who still consider it, in a sense, home.


Speaking of the museum, our fall open house will be held from 10 a.m. until noon on Saturday. The new blacksmith shop will be open and there will be a smithing demonstration as well as a team of horses on the lawn. Spinners will be spinning in the cabin and there will be a little live music plus free cider and coffee cake. Come on out. It's all free.

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