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Thursday, May 5, 2016

Gray Matters: Combining Homesickness and Delight

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Do you know, I think I am getting a bit homesick. Bear with me, for, as some of you may remember I used to get quite a bit of static from my Cherokee County friends when I would proclaim to be homesick for the Texas Hill Country. Well, I'm right here in Iowa and I am feeling that sort of emotion for another part of my very own state. On a recent beautiful day my daughter took me for a ride. She, and everyone else I've visited with who has been out and about, are so enthusiastic about the late spring beauty of the rolling green countryside following our abundant early rains. The corn, they say, is so tall and coming along so nicely. But with all of the hills and contours I'm sorry to say that I couldn't even get a broad enough view of a field to make a judgment. Then I realized that I was missing the squared-off, broadly laid out, landscape of Cherokee County. I understand the need for contour farming and, of course, would always see plenty of that when the lay of the land demanded it, but it was all meticulously contained in regular squared-off fields. In Northwest Iowa we travel that meticulous grid of square miles meeting at square corners and we grow to believe that is the way it should be. Suddenly, in its absence, I'm missing it sorely. So here I am, practically crying on your shoulders!

Now to a cheerier side of that recent road trip--Our destination was Mt.Vernon , Iowa's fabled eatery, the Lincoln Café. We entered town driving past the beautiful and historic campus of Cornell College. It was founded only forty years earlier than its fellow Methodist institution, Morningside, but it somehow looked much older to me than the Sioux City school. I'm not quite sure why.

Anyway, a few blocks past the college, we arrived at the café, snuggled between a couple of store fronts. It proved to be a bit of a struggle for me to get inside. After all, the favorite hang-out of students and faculty members has no need for a hand-rail, a senior citizen's "must." Between my daughter and the helpful manager I finally made it. It is a small place, actually a bit nondescript, but it was a delight. The walls regularly feature works of area artists. The present collection was of charming portraits, mostly of children, some done in chalk, others drawn with pen or pencil. Several, which I particularly appreciated, featured youngsters with their grandmothers. When we learned that this talented artist lives in Cedar Rapids and is available to do similar works, by appointment, I saw my daughter's eyes light up. Her wee grand-daughter would be a perfect subject!

The menu featured a shrimp, fresh spinach and goat cheese omelet which was superb. We shared the ample entrée and then finished our meal with delicious chocolate brownie bites served with hazelnuts and topped with chocolate sauce, a dessert to die for. I suppose one might if it was partaken of too often. Hmm!

So much for my recent outing which proved to be an interesting combination of homesickness and delight. I hope you have enjoyed coming along for the ride.