Monday, March 16, 2009
The Final Iowa Post
This will be the final post in my Iowa trip series. I apologize for having taken so long to have gotten to this post. I arrived home one week ago today, but was very ill and just didn't have it in me to write a long post. I am much better now, Praise the Lord!
During the last week of my trip, Katie's children were sick for most of the week. Finally on Friday afternoon after school, we made a brief trip out to Clear Lake, which is a small resort community about a 10-15 minute drive from Mason City. Of course, the first place the kids wanted to visit was the playground!
Alix and Jaden were having a great time on the playground, so Katie and I were going to take a walk down to the beach, which is within sight and a very brief walk. It was windy, but a nice day, as Iowa days go! The kids decided they wanted to go too. Alix had, by this point, moved to the swings and Jaden to the Jungle Gym. As Alix was dismounting from her swing, she accidentally slipped and fell backwards into a large puddle of ice cold water which had melted below the swing!
Poor Alix was devastated! She began to cry uncontrollably immediately saying "We have to go home!" "We have to go home!" "I spoiled every body's time!" "We have to go home!" Of course, it scared Katie to death because she had her back to Alix and didn't know what had happened, only that she suddenly heard Alix screaming and crying. Katie came running to Alix, maybe not sounding as understanding as she might have because she was simply scared to death!
I told Alix to stop crying, it was only an accident and everything would be okay! Katie put her coat around her and helped her back to the car. She got into the car just shivering! I felt so bad for her, I would have given her MY dry clothes! She was just broken hearted! I told her not to worry, that I'm sure there was a place for us to get her a dry pair of pants. Katie drove to a small shop in town and we inquired about pants for Alix. The shop keeper told up to try to Dollar General store. Well, of course, every small town has a Dollar General! It may not be haute couture, but I'll bet they'll have some dry sweat pants for a little girl!
So, with directions given, we were off to the Dollar General Store! Within in minutes, we were driving into their lot and heading inside. After a brief look around, there they were, a navy pair of sweat pants, size small! Just what we needed to dry out little girls' eyes and behind! So, with haste I purchased the sweat pants and we headed for the car. When there, Alix was no longer crying, but now quite concerned. How would she change? And, what about underwear? Katie took her coat and held it up in front of the window and I told Jaden to turn his head. Alix was then concerned about her underwear because "...they're wet too Aunt Di...", so I told her the sweat pants were thick enough that she wouldn't need underwear.
She quickly changed her pants and put her socks and shoes back on. With the biggest smile on her little face you have ever seen, she lunged between the seats of Katie's car and threw her arms around my neck, hugging me so tightly and saying "thank you, Aunt Di, thank you!", you would have thought I had given her a pair of designer jeans, not Dollar Store sweats! She was so excited. Katie started to pull out of the parking lot and we headed back to the beach. I am so glad we did!
The kids went right to the water's edge, looking for whatever treasure it is kids think they can only find right at the water's edge! Katie and I were constantly calling "Come away from the water!", "Don't' get so close to the water!", "Get back here, you're going to fall in and drown!" or some such admonition! Alix found herself a piece of driftwood, which immediately became her 'exploring stick'!
They walked up and down the beach, digging in the sand and begging up to let them go climb on the rocks. Before Katie could even answer, I said "NO!"; both kids looked at me as though I had completely lost my mind and then at their Mom as though she had best do something for me! I don't think they were accustomed to hearing 'no' from my mouth! Good aunts can't let that be a habit, you know?!
Although we could see no evidence of ice in the lake, we could still see snow along the shoreline of the lakefront homes. Some were just small cottages, but some were multi-million dollar homes that were just gorgeous! I told Katie that's where I wanted to live! She said her too, unfortunately Martin-Brower (Brian's employer) didn't agree with her!
There were also some town houses just off the shore that had just been renovated. I'll bet they were gorgeous inside and just right there on the lake! It was an old building which had been converted into town homes. The building was beautiful, but I didn't get pictures cause I was too busy trying to watch the kids and make sure they didn't turn into road kill!
By this time, the kids are begging to climb into the lifeguard's chair. Katie is saying no and the kids are begging and I'm thinking "cute pics"...............so, I say (very quietly so kids don't hear) "Oh come on Katie, it won't hurt anything. I'll get some cute pics!" So, she says yes and the race is on! Not for the kids............ME! I've gotta get down there and take pictures before they're both up and down and don't want to go back up again!
So, I rushed, well as much as I CAN rush anyway, and got the pictures! I know I'm prejudiced, but I think they're great shots! How could I miss with such great models?! The kids were thrilled to get to climb, I was thrilled to get their pictures and Katie was thrilled to be the 'good' Mommy for an afternoon! It was a good day!
Yes, it had been a good afternoon, but the sun was not setting over the water, the breeze was getting cooler and we were hungry. So, we decided it was time to say goodbye to the lake and head home. On the way back into Mason City, we decided to go to the Northwestern Steakhouse for dinner. I had not been and Katie had been telling me how I just HAD to have a steak there before I left! So, that's where we had dinner.
Katie was SO right! If you are ever in Mason City, IA and love a good Greek steak, you HAVE to go to Northwestern Steakhouse! The steak is so tender, it almost melts in your mouth. It is a quaint little restaurant, very casual, excellent service by very down-home people and just an absolutely sensory experience in every way! Let me warn you though, if you're going, go early. They open at 4 p.m and there's usually a line around the building by 5 p.m. We were so blessed to walk in a bit after 5 and get the last available table. It is, hands down, the best steak I have ever put into my mouth.
So, goodbye Iowa. You and your people have been kind to me. I will never forget you or this trip or the healing it has allowed in my wounded spirit. You hold within your borders four of the most precious souls in all the world to me. Take care of them, they are my family.