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God on the Move: Iowa

July 28, 2010 1 Comment Share

Kay and Paula’s Road Trip 2010! We planned to attend Mom’s (Annie “Kay” Zeller’s) family reunion which covers her brothers and sisters and their families this summer. The reunion occurs every two years because many families live away from Kansas and making the journey can be financially difficult for the younger cousins and those travelling with older/younger family members.

We flew into Kansas City, MO, on Tuesday, June 22, rented a car and drove to Des Moines, IA. On the way, we stopped at a rest area just past the Missouri/Iowa border. Here is a photo of Kay at the rest area; behind her is a sign about the Mormon Trail.

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The nice thing about the rest stop is the chance for Mom to reminisce about one of her sisters who passed away. Aunt Jean came along to many of the family reunions; once when we drove her from Iowa to Kansas, she pointed out the automatic flushing toilets at one rest stop and stated “My Iowa Tax Dollars at work.” This is a regular remark and a family inside joke.

When we arrived in Des Moines, we stayed at a Comfort Suites near the Living Farms and ate dinner at the Machine Shop with a friend Kay has known since before I was born. Lois worked with Kay at a school on an Air Force Base near Chartres in France and they often did road rallies together in an old Volkswagen. Lois was the navigator and even when they got lost, they had lots of fun together. While we were eating dinner, Kay remarked about when they tried to find a pan to fit into the oven for a meal they were trying to make. Lois gave us a “care package” for our road trip down to Kansas. It had apples, soda, peanut-chocolate bars, trail mix, cookies and carrots.

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Outside the Machine Shop Restaurant, I took a picture of Kay by one of the tractors. She learned how to drive on a tractor from her father growing up in Iowa. She will comment when I pull up too close to a ditch just like her father would during her training. I won’t tell you what he said when she inadvertently buried him with bales of hay they were collecting.

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After we left Des Moines, we drove through part of the Iowan countryside heading toward Winterset, the birthplace of John Wayne. On the way, we saw groves of Christmas trees. When we arrived in Winterset, we followed the signs to the house, a small 3-room corner lot. We checked in at the gift shop next door and got the $6 tour (inflationary prices). One guy remarked that it may be his most expensive tour, since he left his wife down at the quilt store. Another couple was from Placentia, CA and we had a few laughs about the boat John Wayne had (life jacket from one of his movies on display prompted that discussion.)

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Driving on from Winterset, we cut through part of Nebraska and drove straight into Topeka, KS. There we stayed at a Sleep Inn not too far from her older sister’s residence, and after checking in, we found out that some relatives were meeting at my cousin’s oldest daughter’s home just out of town. When we got there, we sat and visited with different relatives as they came into the driveway. Mom had me take a picture of the group at the picnic table with the Highlights. Mom was proud of the layout about me in the Connections so she brought extra copies of that to share as well. Some family members were inside and some kids got to play with the pug (dog) puppies.

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Saturday, June 26, we all gathered together at the Hoyt Community Center, just located north of Topeka. The photo is everyone who attended and not all family members could be there, due to some passing away and others who were unable to get away from other commitments. Everyone laughed when I said we needed to get the picture with the Highlights.

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The reunion festivities included a Potluck meal, kids playing with each others’ toys, some folks playing cards, others telling stories and then we had a little “presentation.” One of my cousins had a run-in with a raccoon stealing his koi fish, so some other family members put together a little storybook about the episode and they shared the story with the rest of the family. Also, since my Aunt Joan passed and she was present with my Mom when I was born as well as beloved by many other family members, we had a little memorial service in her honor. It helps to have a retired pastor, a young pastor and a pastor’s wife who also became a pastor, in order to get the whole family involved in a service to comfort my Uncle Dick, his daughter and her children, as well as my Mom and me.

After the reunion, the rest of the time we spent visiting certain groups of relatives before some had to leave to return home (Texas, Alabama, Iowa, Oregon and California.) Mom’s sister was going to move to a new residence, so we were able with the help of some cousins to go check out the place. It was agreed that she would be in good care and the conditions were acceptable to the relatives present.

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I also took Mom out to Keene cemetery where her folks and her mother’s parents are buried. The grounds continue to be taken care of even though the church next door is no longer used. The photo with the names of Anne and George Zeller are my grandparents and the photo with the name of Gleason is my mother’s grandparents. All in all, it was a wonderful trip involving young and older family members, past friends and reminiscing about past events.

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One response to “God on the Move: Iowa”

  1. Shawn says:

    I love all these summer road trip Picts and vids. Best app yet of hl.

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