Sunday, October 4, 2009

What I Did On My Fall Vacation.

I've been gone for a couple of weeks with limited internet access. Also, I didn't feel like blogging while I was on vacation.

Here's the short rundown of vacation:
First week was in Iowa where I was promised leaves. There were a few individual leaves that had turned, but not much to look at. Oh well.

Sher, Pam and I went to Galena, Illinois for a night and two days of shopping. VERY amusing. It's a nice little historic and cheesy town. We bought some crap and stayed at the DeSoto hotel downtown which is good because only a crazy person would drive around there on a weekend. We made Sher sleep on the roll-away bed because she's so little she wouldn't make a dent in it.

I also saw Gramma...she called me fat but only once, so that's good. (if you know Gram...don't mention to her the "calling me fat" was indirect and she may not admit it).
I saw my brother and his cabin. Nice cabin he built himself, on a pond...which he also built himself, stocked with fish that he put there. No wonder he's the favorite. He was there when Gram called me fat and thought it was pretty funny. Another amusing point of that evening was watching Gram, who is pushing 90, barely be able to walk around her apartment, then take off like a shot when we got her out to the cabin at Stan's place! She walked to both ponds and up and down the rickety uneven steps to the cabin's deck.
Pam tells me that Stan has declared himself the president of his own nation: Stanistan.
He's also thinking of building a smaller cabin on the smaller pond (which he also built himself) and calling it the outpost. Funny.

What else?
Did a few cemetary tours with Aunt Billie. I knew she would take me on the one in Elkader. That is standard. We saw the usual relatives and Billlie and Keith (her husband) 's plot with headstone ready for them when they need it. Then she mentioned that she would like to see the graves in and around Charles City where she grew up and also see the houses there. We did that. Me, Sher, Billie and Cindy (who is a hoot and a half with her naughty lipstick). First stop was lunch at a cafe on the river. nice. Then we all got in the minivan (me in front with Billie driving...yikes) and started the tour. Stopped by the Hawbaker's old place and the resident gentleman is the same one who bought it a year after the Hawbs moved out. It looks good! New garage and deck but nothing to change the character. He offered to take us inside but we declined. His wife writes romance novels. I forget her penname. He leaned in the windowed and chatted away.

Then we saw a very cool house that Gram and Gramp Wagner had lived in with the kids. The roof has the most extreme pitch I've ever seen and reminded me of illustrations from Hansel and Gretl (I will make no comment about Beulah here...). It's near the Hawb's. Then on to the little house and a few more big houses that they lived in. One was practically a mansion!

Next it was off to the cemetaries. Saw many dead relatives. A few husbands of Gramma Fisher (Beulah's mother), various other relatives.
The highlight this time was a grave spotted on the way out of the Charles City cemetary. This one is not a relative of least not that we know of. It was a recent burial, 2008, and the stone was decorated for halloween. Nice. Cindy and I got out of the tour bus/minivan to take a look and noted that there were a couple of cards in ziplock bags hanging on small shepard hooks near the grave. One was an "I love you honey" sort of thing and the other...well, it was from a child and was a "get well" card. We should not have laughed.
We did laugh. Hard. We're going to hell. But at least we'll get to see Gramma!

Then we tried to get a piece of pie but all the cafe's were out of business so we just went to Subway for a pee and a pop.

Fred served his nationally famous fried walleye a couple of times which was delicious.
Sherry's pear butter was featured at all home cooked meals and snacks (it is VERY good this year).

Sherry and I made some canned bruschetta topping. Hope it's good.

Um...there were two trips to Elkader...OH right. Saw Candyce's future home (she's buying a place). And visited various cousins there abouts. Had snacks at Billies.

After a week in Iowa, Pam and I flew out to Idaho. More on that in another post.


Anonymous said...

Jill, your trip sounds heavenly. As in "Is this Heaven?" "No, It's Iowa." But I'm frosted about something. WHY didn't you tell me you were going to be in Iowa. I SO would have come home to see you. My heart is breaking here in Illinois; Lord knows the next time you'll return home :-( I'm glad you had a good time despite the passive-aggressive nature of my note. I just really would have loved to see you. You could have smuggled me in as a long-lost cousin or something. I know enough Wagner stories that I could have fit right in, as I chirped from the backseat of the minivan, "And what about the time Stan stored a bunch of cow testicles in some rubber gloves?? Oh, how we laughed and screamed and shuddered at that one, I'll tell you what." I'm apparently ALSO a long-lost cousin of Hank Hill. Sigh. Angela (can't post using my usual name today for some reason)

Jill said...

Hey Ange, I didn't tell anyone I was going to be there because it was a whirlwind tour of family baggage...I mean family members. I had to squeeze in a visit before jury duty (on call...not in the court room every day) took hold on October 1. Sorry!
We did stop at the aquarium in your home town and I thought of you and Carol and Tom and the gang.

And we don't talk outloud about the arm of testicles...not in Iowa.

Anonymous said...

No problem, Jill. You are in high demand here in the heartland. I do hope you and your family had fun in your whirlwind trip. And I won't tell the Stan/rubber gloves story anymore even though IT IS A CLASSIC. Or, I could add a bit of anonymity to the story by 1) saying it was Playtex dish washing gloves, 2) saying it happened in Idaho (because people always confuse Iowa for Idaho), 3) leaving the word "cow" out of the the "cow testicles" description, and 4) saying that it happened to a guy named Nats (Stan spelled backwards). After all that subterfuge, NO ONE will ever be able to connect the two. Angela

Fly Right said...

I will not chastize you for not letting the Illinoisans (Illini?) know about your visit. Although, I, too, would love to have seen you!