Monday, September 22, 2008

One Last Trip Post

Last night I was talking with Paul's nephew Randy's girlfriend Shelley about the quirks of Kalona. It is a fascinating little place, a small town in the middle of the Iowa cornfields, completely devoid of any franchise fast food places* or espresso stands, that is nevertheless famous for its quilt culture and the Amish, with hitching posts at the grocery store and lots of other businesses around town.*oops, Randy tells me there's a Subway. Didn't see it I guess.
The Amish/Mennonites were among the first to settle in the town, as I recall, and today, the lineup of high school cheerleaders in the picture in the Kalona News reads like a list of students at Calvary Bible School--Yoders, Schrocks, Swartzentrubers, the whole lot.

Rebecca and I had fun walking and driving around Kalona and seeing the house where we used to live, Aunt Edna's house just down the road, the sale barn, and the store that used to be Reif's Family Center. We stopped for coffee and an exquisite fluff-filled bar at a bakery that I believe is called simply The Bakery, and where the regular coffee costs 50 cents.

One morning I walked past the Kalona News office and decided to stop in and thank them for the nice little piece they printed about my book signing. I pushed the screen door open and stepped into what looked like something straight out of the 1950's, except for the computers. No one was around that I could see. I cleared my throat and peeked around the divider but the place was empty. So I found a green pad of paper on the wooden counter and instead of writing some advertising copy on it, I started writing a thank you note. Just then the door opened and a gentleman meandered in with a cup of coffee. The editor, it turned out, who looked and talked just like the editor of the Kalona News ought to, and who had all the time in the world to visit with me, and who offered to reprint my column now and then.

I think we could all use a Kalona in our lives.

Quote of the Day:
"Mom, I have an American cultural question: what do I do with a wet umbrella?"
--my nephew Jason, who is all at once adapting to America, college, and rain after spending most of his life in Yemen


  1. You must have missed the subway that came into town a couple of years ago. I ate there often:)

  2. I'm glad I do! (Have a Kalona in my life!)

  3. We've been there twice since the move here. I hope to go again soon, but it might have to wait until November when Papa gets time off.

    Subway?!?!?! Ugh! They are like a dreaded disease that has creeped into the small towns of America.

    Can you tell I do not like Subway?


  4. Ah, how wonderful to read a positive description of my home state and its small towns. The Kalona area has those gently rolling hills and beautiful farmsteads and the town is unique too with hitching posts and interesting and interested people.

  5. It's always so nice to read your blog and see family names. My great-grandmother was a Schrock from Garrett County, MD. and her brother lived in Kalona and all his family still lives there.

    I do still have a Kalona in my life and it's only 1 1/2 hours away. Thank you for making me realize how lucky I am.