Monday, August 08, 2011

weekend in iowa: storytellers and music

Regis, Vickie, and I mounted up the Honda and headed to Iowa for the weekend on Friday. We were going to see old friends from my early days of teaching at the Children's Home, their families, accumulated friends along the way, and some old stompin' ground. It was sweet, bittersweet, and memorable. Here are some pictures. I'll have to ponder it some more to get at the emotion of it all.

Saturday morning, we stopped at Gwen's in Lisbon for breakfast. It's a tippy old building where you feel like you just might be walking crooked. Good food, though.

Vickie and I studying the decor of Gwen's. Interesting place and interesting clientele. It was the weekend of the Lincoln Highway garage sales (all across Iowa, Illinois, and Ohio) so the place was full of characters.

We took the town tour on Saturday morning and Regis thought this was a hoot. On the campus of Cornell College, the Stoner House. You need to have spent some time in the 60s to follow that one.

Vickie and I at a garage sale. We found some good stuff.

After several hours of garage sales, we had to make the obligatory trip to the Sutliff Store. It's really an historic site but we go there for the cold beer and the cheeseburgers.

Three hot broads at the Sutliff Store.

Half of the bridge washed away in the last flood. It's going to be repaired now. There is a new bridge further down the road but this is the one we love. You never could drive across it. The sign said: Loads over 4 tons are prohibited. Loads under 4 tons, cross at your own risk. Ok, then.

People in the Sutliff Store write on bills and pin them to the ceiling. I'm sure, over the years, we put a few of these up there.

Brogan Boots enjoys a chicken wing.

Nicholas Boots, who was not even born when I left Iowa, now has babies of his own. Brogan and Tiernen enjoy chicken wings and orange pop at the Sutliff Store.

Devin Kelso and his baby, Grace, back from Japan for a few weeks this summer. Devin was about ten when Jane and I became friends.

Gracie was a long-awaited baby.

Devin's lovely wife, Hiroe.

Hiroe, Dick, and Baby Grace.

Paul Kelso, Jane's first husband, is back from the Philippines this summer. It's been almost 40 years since I've seen Paul. He was quite a character back in the days of our youth, and pretty much still is. Good storyteller and musician. His old folk songs were one of the highlights of the weekend.

Paul got his start at The Mill in Iowa City. From the website: Keith Dempster opened The Mill Restaurant in 1962 as a coffee house/restaurant/folk music venue. It became the center of an Americana music community in Iowa City that achieved national and international fame. Dempster was also at the party so there were lots of stories told.

Jane, her nephew Glen David, and Dick. I don't remember spending a lot of time with Glen David when I lived in Iowa but what a hoot he was. He had a great line that Regis has since adopted but it's not for a family blog. Remind us...

Devin joined his dad in a lot of the music, bringing tears to a lot of eyes.

American Gothic on the side of a garage. Perfect.

Vickie and I in the world's largest frying pan.

Regis and I in front of the frying pan. It was one of our goals of the weekend to see this goofy landmark. We also stopped at a little roadside stand in Brandon and bought tomatoes and hot peppers.

One the way home, I asked Regis and Vickie to name their favorite part of the weekend and this was what they both identified. Friday night, we had dinner and some drinks at Jane's house, then wandered up the street to the Lincoln Wine Bar, mostly because Devin said their could be a brawl between Paul, Dempster, and Joe Grant, another 60s radical hipster guy. We didn't want to miss it. What Devin forgets is that these guys are all pushing 80 and it would take some extreme circumstances for them to brawl anymore. But here we all were. The band came close to packing up and going home when we showed up. Paul and Devin joined them for a few songs, we drank some expensive wine, sang along, and danced a little. In this picture, Jane and I are watching Paul and Devin sing and more than likely getting weepy and sentimental. It was such a sweet time.

We got home yesterday about 5 o'clock, hauled all our crap into the house, looked at the piles and got back in the car to go to Patrick's for dinner. When we got home, we sat on the patio and planned how we would get unpacked in the morning which we were disinclined to do, as well. Keith Kreft and Corrine came by on their bikes and joined us for a glass of wine and some more storytelling.

It was a grand weekend.

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