Monday, September 13, 2004

September 13, 2004
Back in my office in Cave Creek (5:17 p.m.). Sam picked Melrose and I up at Sky Harbor at 3:40. It was about 72 when we took off from Des Moines this afternoon about two. The stewardess said it was 106 degrees as we landed. Everyone on the plane sighed.

Last night it was downright chilly just outside Orient, Iowa. We got a two story, red brick colonial house/B&B, built by a pig farmer in 1918. Carol was our host. We got in at seven after driving all day from Lake Okoboji and I knew if we wanted to get supper anywhere we were going to have to drive somewhere. Unfortunately, I had told Carol on the phone from Lake Okoboji that I wanted to see the “history” of the area She had already called into town and made special arrangements for Mike and I to go see “The Bank of Memories,” which was basically a local history of Orient in an old bank (get it?). As we went out the door, Carol gave us several suggested cafes and DQs, all of them 12 to 16 miles away in other outlying towns, scattered over the rolling hills southwest of Des Moines. We rushed in to town and swept through the Memory Bank (“This is really interesting. Is there any place to eat around here?”). Driving down the main drag past the high school, I saw the town ending and we didn’t see any sign of a Dairy Queen. I turned around and went back to a two story Victorian with two guys in rocking chairs on the front porch. Rolling down the window I yelled out, “Where’s the Dairy Queen?” They looked at each other with a slo-motion startled look (or was it disgust?), then the guy on the left, went back to rocking and yells back, “We don’t have a Dairy Queen.” Melrose thought Carole said they had one, but she must have meant in another town. We went back to the Kum & Go (if that isn’t the grossest name for a convenient store, I don’t know what is) and went into the back where they had pre-made sandwiches that were made about the time Reagan said, “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down that wall!” So I passed on that. I got a yogurt, a chocolate milk, a jar of peanuts and brought it up to the counter. The guy behind the counter had on the mandatory feed cap and overalls. I said, “Does that bar on the other side of the tracks serve food?” He grunted. “Sometimes. But they don’t cook too good after dark.” That was enough of a warning, even for me.” When I told him we were staying at the B&B outside of town on the hill, he looked at us like we were nuts and said, “Ain’t she feedin’ ya?” (in the morning at breakfast I asked her if she would have fed us and she said, “Yes, of course, but you didn’t ask me.”). Oh, those Iowans! They are so damn shy!

More stories tomorrow. I’m beat. Had fun though. Saw John Wayne’s birthplace this morning. The sucker weighed 13 pounds when he dropped out. No wonder his mother never liked him (she stole his middle name).

“If a man is often the subject of conversation he soon becomes the subject of criticism.”
—Immanuel Kant

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