Friday, May 25, 2007

May 25, 2007 Bonus Blog
Just got back from Winterset. Place totally jammed. It looks like the Christmas scenes from "It's A Wonderful Life" without the snow. Luckily found a parking space about a block from the John Wayne birth home. Big tent, chuck wagon cook-off, guys with big shopping bags everywhere. I didn't make it ten feet before someone stopped me and wanted a photo. Gregg from Ohio said, "Excuse me, are you that guy on the Westerns Channel?" He gave his camera and his bag to his wife and asked her to take a picture. When I asked her if they had been inside yet, she rolled her eyes and said, "Oh, yes, and he spent $700 in there."

Wow! I could see he had a pencil drawing of the Duke (looked to be a print), but Man, are they rolling in the dough. Waded into the gift shop (place wall to wall with old guys buying anything and everything), went down the hall and found Carolyn Walker, besieged in her office. "I've never seen so many people" she said sighing. I reminded her "this is a good problem," but I think she was fried. She said she had been up since 3 A.M.

Found out the schedule: I'm speaking at the dedication for the new John Wayne museum up on the corner where a partly demolished gas station now stands. I believe Wayne Davis told me they are going to implode one of the walls during the dedication. The entire Wayne family will be on hand, so that adds some pressure to my remarks. I probably should start writing them pretty soon.

Went from there out to the fair grounds. The poor gal in charge out there was going crazy because she thought they had reserved one of the cow barns, but the county said no, so she was scrambling to find places for all the vendors. A gunfighter group from Omaha came sauntering by and wanted their picture taken with me, so we all posed in the middle of the street.

Left our mags with Mike's Icre Cream wagon (he put them inside in case it rains) and I took off, going the back roads to Des Moines. Really a beautiful day, and the rolling hills and wetlands are just striking. Beautiful farms all the way. Having been in Mexico last Christmas, it really is striking how rich and fertile Iowa is.

More later. Going to the big dinner tonight at the Stoney Creek Lodge.

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