Monday, January 30, 2012

Trip Back to Iowa - part 2

Well, as you recall I was leaving Rembrandt and heading the 4 miles to my parents farm.  As I drive along, I remember the countless trips I have made on this blacktop road.  Bike riding, walking, jogging, and of course by car, all with some purpose in mind, even if it was just to enjoy the great country air.  I used to love riding my bike into Rembrandt and beyond, exploring the wide open space.  As I come to the four way stop I notice the old "Ness" place on the corner.  (Ness is the name of the family that lived there).  Mrs. Ness has since passed away and Harold has moved into town.  The place has set empty for quite a few years as one can see if you take more than a glance at the two story house.  It is beginning to cave in as the old wooden frame begins to rot.  The grove is now over grown with trees and grass and the only building on the place which seems to be standing up to time is the brick barn that anchors it. Even this grand building with a little closer look is showing signs of aging with the roof and doors in need of some tender loving care.  There are lots of abandoned farms in the Midwest as farms continue to get larger and there are less and less family farms.  I turn the corner to the right and am able to see my parents home at the top of the small incline.  The pealing white barn with only a little paint left is front and center as it looks out over the slight valley filled with brown drying corn stalks.  As I drive closer the other buildings begin to emerge from behind the trees and the barn.  An old corn crib that has not seen use in many years  followed by a hog barn where dad helped us kids raise calves.  The yard is finished off by a machine shed filled with old wagons and stuff,  a chicken coop that dad has converted to a shop with a small green house and a garage that is in no means attached to the house as it sits a good 30 feet from the front door. ( which can be brutal in the winter months)   I pull onto the driveway and can finally see the house peeking through the row of evergreens that haven't really changed much in the past thirty-five years.

  It is great to be home and I am anxious to get into the house to see mom and dad.  As I walk towards the white two story structure with olive green trim, I see the large garden just beyond the clothes line, which my father continues to enjoy on a good summer day.   Traditionally he has had bountiful harvests of green beans, beats, potatoes, sweet corn, tomatoes, pumpkins, squash, carrots, lettuce, peas, onions, cauliflower, dill, strawberries, zucchini, acorn squash, radishes, cucumbers, watermelon, asparagus, and on occasion as kids we would even plant things such as peanuts and sunflowers.  During the summer months we often had great dinners with fresh vegetables from the garden and mom would spend countless hours freezing and canning this produce in order for us to enjoy it into the colder fall and winter months.   Today I can appreciate just what that was and how unique it was for my family growing up.  My dad continues to enjoy gardenning and has a small self service stand along the road for anyone passing by who would like to enjoy the fruits of his labor.

I open the door and am greeted by my parents.  We spend the next few minutes catching up and talking about things going on in the community.  I always love being at home and spending good quality time with my parents.  We hang out and do the usual - eat dinner - watch TV -and talk.  Soon it is time for bed and upon arising the next day,  I am off again as my plans are to head to Sioux City, Iowa to visit my cousins who have recently lost their mom to cancer.  Living such a distance away
from Iowa,  I was not able to find an affordable ticket to come back then so the next best thing is to find time to visit on my own now.  After I eat breakfast,  have the usual chit chat with my parents, I am off again down the blacktop roads of Iowa.  Weaving in and out of the slow moving tractors and other vehicles tending to the fields.  It is a beautiful drive as the puffy white clouds in sunny blue skies are prominent again today.
The road I travel is pretty familiar to me as trips to Sioux City for visiting my mom's family who lived there when we were growing up  and my dad's sister's family which I am visiting today.  Not to mention the occasional excursion for a little shopping as the largest metropolitan area within a two hour drive.   As I drive through the small towns along the way,
 I realize I know little about them.  Like in Brazil,  each little community has their signs welcoming you with recognition of a speciality they have to offer.  Whether it is their annual celebration or a claim to fame,  each of these small towns are rich with their own history and story.  I have not paid much attention to them in the past but my recent travels in Brazil have made a positive change in my observation to details and desire to know more.  I will have to spend some time looking at the history of  these little towns in Iowa.

The single lane highway soon splits and doubles the number of lanes going in each direction as I near the city.   The landscape becomes hilly in this part of Iowa so you can no longer see for miles.  When the timing is right and you are close enough to the city,  a large water tower poised on a hilltop can be seen to your right.  It was this water tower that my family would search for on our journeys as it is located in the Morningside neighborhood,  just blocks from my aunt and uncles home.   It always meant that this long 1 1/2 hour journey was about to end.  Today, I think about how things have changed as that 1 1/2 hours does not seem so long anymore.  I  begin to think of some great memories of my aunt Grace's life and the Bits-n-Pieces   (link to blog with poem Bit-n-Pieces)  she has left with me.  Her life was like her name and I am soon pulling into the short driveway in front of the ranch style home.  I am greeting by my uncle and
cousins and we sit down around the table like old times to catch up a little before heading to lunch.  The afternoon is spent remembering and talking about life and soon it is time for them to head back to their work or families and for me to head on to my next destination.   I am heading the short hour drive to Sioux Falls, SD - where I lived for ten years or so.  I am looking forward to visting more friends, reflecting and just spending time with me... to be continued...

Inside my parent's barn! I love this photo!

The old Corn Crib
Another photo Inside my parent's barn.

Even old windmills with no blades remind me of Iowa!

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