Not to push this bad church joke business too far or anything, but it's been so hot and dry around here lately that the Churches of Christ, Disciples and Baptists have started to baptize by sprinkling, Methodists are using wet-wipes, Presbyterians are issuing rain checks and Episcopalians, Catholics and Lutherans, praying the wine will turn to water.
I took two naps after church on Sunday. It seemed like the only practical thing to do.
But it was cool in the shade by evening down at Dianne and Harold Mitchell's place south of Russell (or north of Bethlehem, alternately northwest of Confidence), invited to share a big meal with old friends and neighbors and listen to the sweet music of their friend, Lisa, who drives up from Texas every year or so to sing and talk about her latest projects.
Note Harold's vintage John Deere in the background here. The corn is higher than an elephant's eye by now and it had turned into a lovely evening.
I thought I had Lisa's last name written down somewhere --- but I don't. And I'm not even going to try to spell the name of her family's friend from Japan, who was traveling with them --- they were introduced as pen pals years ago by Mitchell daughter Sarah, teaching English in Japan at the time.
The Tyrees and the Christensens were down from Chariton, too, and since Doris's old home place off to the northeast --- long owned by others --- had sold recently for well in excess of $3,000 an acre, we got to talking about land prices. My folks paid $80 an acre for their farm next-door to the Cottrells during the 1950s.
And Dale Spinler, now among senior residents of the neighborhood, recalled that when he moved in during 1969, he had paid $170 --- and everyone thought that was way too much, that he'd surely go bankrupt. (Dianne was the only one able to remember that Dale had bought what we knew as the Ed McKinley place.)
The food was wonderful --- I ate way too much; and Lisa's music, sung in a clear and pure voice, a lovely fusion of contemporary Christian, pop standards and old hymns. Her current project involves working with single moms in Honduras, providing food, shelter and self-help opportunities.
We talked about deer, too, as night settled in. Nearly of us all by now had hit one, two or more while driving around Iowa after sunset.
Before the population explosion, I used to drive 60 mph. or more up the old Transformer Road toward Chariton at night and not think a thing about it.
Sunday evening, I crept back toward town at 35 mph. for the first three miles --- and managed to avoid three: One just standing in the road south of Dean Chapman's, another admiring the view from atop what we used to call Bader Mountain and the third, dashing across the road right in front of me just south of the Chariton River bridge. After that, it was smooth sailing.