I enjoyed last evening's annual celebration, marking the end of one program year and the start of another for Chariton Area Chamber/Main Street. The company and the food were great --- and the awards program fast-paced and mercifully brief. Who could ask for more?
Other than an award or two, and I was called forward twice.
The first award, one of several "Good Brick" honors presented, went to the Lucas County Historical Society. These awards recognize businesses, non-profits and others who maintain buildings and go to considerable lengths to improve and keep them in a high state of repair.
So this brick goes to our 16-member board, staff and volunteers who put a lot of effort into keeping the society's seven buildings upright and looking good. Among the recent improvements cited were a new roof and rewiring for the Stephens House, an improved, paved handicap-accessible parking area and new sidewalks linking several of our buildings, restoration projects at both Puckerbrush School and Otterbein Church and extensive work in the Vredenburg Gallery and Irene Garton Library. Several of these projects were financed in part by partners we're extraordinarily grateful for, including the South Central Iowa Community Foundation, Coons Foundation and Vredenburg Foundation.
My tablemates included David Hobbs, pastor of Chariton's First United Methodist Church, who received the 2018 individual "Friendly Face" award; and the family of the late Irene Strait, honored posthumously for her volunteer work with a "Main Street Hero" award.
Many other awards were presented, but I didn't take notes. Bill, however, was there as always (this guy deserves an award one of these days) for the Chariton Newspapers so I'm sure there will be photos and a complete listing in either The Leader or The Herald-Patriot a little farther along.
I should mention, however, that the John L. Lewis Museum of Mining & Labor at Lucas received this year's "Excellence in Tourism" award.
It's my practice to spill something at all social occasions. This time it was just lemonade that flowed across the white tablecloth and was easily contained (I'm no longer allowed to drink red wine in the presence of white tablecloths).
Thelma's Carpenters Hall food was, as always, wonderful. Until some years ago, these meetings featured a full-scale meal but recently that's been broken down into multiple serving tables and an hors d'oeuvre format during the social hour that works much better. The shrimp, mini-tacos, stuffed mushrooms, onion rings, ham, etc., etc., were outstanding. And the cake? Wow.