I came to Iowa, hoping to find a new place to live. I did. In the second week, I found affordable housing. I also found a new "sister" in my sister-in-law. I've always had a strong bond with my 'baby' brother, so there was that.
What I didn't find was the ability to be away from my sister and baby DJ. My brother, sis-in-law and I really want the rest of my family to move here...
I learned something too. I learned that the right storm of circumstances can knock all the firmness from the ground under your feet.
When Perry died, I felt so thrown and heartbroken and lost that I couldn't get my bearings. I still can't. I've been sick (physically) and off kilter. I need the familiar and the routine of my life in Alaska right now. (And I can't believe I am saying this when I know a long winter is coming.)
I have gained a love for this beautiful place and its people. From (literally), the moment I landed at Des Moines, I have not met one unfriendly person. The first Iowan I shook hands with was the gentleman (and I do mean he's a true gentle-kind-sweet man) who picked me up to bring me into town - giving me a tour along the way and refusing to take a cold nickel for his time or trouble. Thank you, Marty Anecita Rowe! You should be one of the ambassadors for this great state.
When I attended church, the pastor, his wife and the congregation greeted me very sincerely by saying things like "Welcome home." When's the last time that's happened to many of us? Let me tell you once again, the people here don't just mumble "Have a nice day," they mean it and try to make it so. It's unbelievable.
Most of all, I was able to spend time with my brother. We were able to have our long and winding talks. We were able to reconnect for a while. He, my sis(in-law) had long drives through the countryside, sat around the fire-pit, and I even had "foil burgers" with a friend of theirs. I had the meaning of "family" re-enforced on my heart and in my head.
I'll be back. Often as I can. I will be back to see the "baby bro" who is the other part of my heart, and my sister-in-law (who warned me: "You're in trouble. I never had a sister before"). I would probably not have that goal if I hadn't been here for this little while and at this particular time in my life. (And, by the way, +Bonnie Conway - you're in trouble too. You can ask my other sisters about that!)
|My baby bro & sis.|
Love these guys!
|Just an everyday drive from Forest City to Klemme|
Here's some of my photographed memories. You can see the beauty of the state, but you can't see the laughter and conversation and joy that the three of us Conways were blessed with. If you have family that you love, you'll know what I mean.
|A "small" ice cream cone from|
Viking Ice Cream in Clear Lake
|I wanted to visit the beautiful cemeteries that are|
everywhere here. Look at the date on the tombstone. History.
|Uncommonly beautiful is so common here|
|In the yard. Peace and nature.|
|"My" dog. (Hootch is everybody's dog!)|
|Seen on my very first day in the state. An old mill and dam.|
|Hibiscus bloom given to me by my family's neighbor (Randy)|
Because people are just thoughtful like that
|I'll always come back to see the farms and houses and... beauty|
|If I can talk the rest of my family into moving here....|
|A real cowboy in the Kawana Labor Day parade|
|View from the family's backyard fire pit & swing|
Our own private Eden
|the Black-eyed Susans I saw in Clear Lake|
|trees everywhere, of every kind and color!|
|charming, simple neighborhoods|
About these windmills (turbines?): I was so fascinated with the size of these things. Even driving close by them, I can't wrap my brain around how enormous they are. To give you an idea, I found this info online:
Isn't that insane?! When we were driving one night, I got to see the red flashing lights they emit in unison. It's such an ordinary thing for the people here, but I never got tired of looking at them.
Because I just can't get over it, here are some photos from online:
Just. Incredible. And I got so see whole "farms" of them.
Speaking of farms...
|This is such a common sight that I always felt like we were driving through a painted landscape|
|Seen on one of our drives|
|Why am I so fascinated with soybean fields? LOL|
|This made me want a farm. Sort of. |
Until I thought of walking in all the dirt & grass.
|Every shade of green there is|
|This is a historic house in Clear Lake, but there's so much pretty home architecture here|
Here's what I wonder? Do the people (other than my family) who live here realize how lucky they are?
P.S.: Because my brother, Darrell, is awesome... He took us to breakfast right after I composed this post yesterday. Guess what we saw coming up the highway across from where we were parked?
The driver has a truck following him so that when they make turns, the "follow" driver can use a control to turn the back wheels of the transport truck. Otherwise, no way would the transport vehicle be able to make turns. It was pretty cool to watch. I hope this video that my bro took via his phone will work for you viewers.
Hats off to the guys who drive (and assist) these vehicles!