Funerals are such a bizarre thing. Sad, but a chance to see people you haven't seen for a long time, and to reconnect with people who share history of some sort. I hadn't seen Linda for YEARS, but going back to my old church, and my old church family, and being in that space, and being with those people brought back a FLOOD of memories...good and bad.
The trip down has become increasingly more and more tedious as time has passed. It's a 5 1/2 drive to Fairfield, and, to make matters worse, I'd just gone HALFWAY to Fairfield, on the same route, the day before to pick up my nieces who had been staying with my parents the previous week (because of the funeral, I volunteered to get them, so mom and dad wouldn't have to drive to the cities to bring them back, then turn around and drive to Fairfield from here, then head back over to the other side of the state after the service). Driving down the INCREDIBLY BORING interstate 35 two days in a row was INCREDIBLY BORING!!!!
Anyway...there were some GOOD moments...the journey down involved a stop at the Maid Rite in Ankeny. If you've never experienced Maid Rite, I feel sorry for you! It's not for everyone, and it's not even particularly noteworthy, but, once you've had a Maid Rite...you're hooked!
After almost backing into a car in the parking lot (my car has REALLY bad sight lines), which would have made the trip TOTALLY suck, I continued on to Fairfield. I arrived around 7:30.
Andrew picked Tena (with whom I stayed) and me up, and we went for dinner/drinks at a new place, just off the square, called "The Burning Oak".
After dinner, we headed back to Tena's, chatted for awhile, then went to bed.
Monday morning, I got up, got ready, and headed to the funeral. I left a little early to get coffee (Fairfield now has a Caribou!!!), and was, apparently, still in "city mode". I left with JUST ENOUGH time to get coffee and get to the church...I THOUGHT! Got coffee, and was at the church approximately THREE MINUTES LATER. Killed the remaining 40 minutes checking Facebook and e-mail in my car!
The "celebration of life" for Linda was really nice. People had some really lovely things to say, and it was a very nice service. OF COURSE they ended it with the obligatory "make you cry" slide show and song. Luckily, it was an AWFUL country song, and all I could focus on was how twangy the guitar was. Good thing...otherwise I would have been a weepy mess.
I actually did really well until Russ, Linda's husband, got up and said that he wanted to hug/shake hands/talk to each and every one of us before we left. Russ is an AWESOME guy, and he and I have done RAGBRAI (Register's Annual Great Bike Ride Across Iowa) TWICE, so have been very close in the past. He's SUCH a great guy, and my heart aches for him right now. Needless to say, I BURST into tears...sigh...
I stayed for the "Baptist luncheon" (an amazing thing...if you ever have the chance to partake in one, I HIGHLY recommend it!), and had the chance to chat with some dear old friends (and mom and family friend Diane, who came for the service). I didn't stay very long because I needed to RUSH back to Tena's to get out of the suit (in Iowa...in August!), and, more importantly the MAN SPANX I wore to keep everything "firm and tight" (since I was seeing people I hadn't seen for a long time, and didn't want to be the MARSHMALLOW-Y me that I currently am!!).
MAN SPANX are a tool of the DEVIL, I think. I made sure to let mom and Diane know that if I passed out, it was because of the MAN GIRDLE squeezing the life out of me, and to CUT ME OUT OF IT WITH THE JAWS OF LIFE, if the need arose!!! I DID get several comments on looking svelte and trim, so I GUESS it was worth not being able to breathe for most of the morning...
After the funeral, I met Tena at her place, and we headed out for a little shopping. I LOVE the Fairfield square! Such unique shops, and so many BIZARRE places for a town in the middle of the country with a population of 10,000. Where else, in a town this size, can you find Maharishi Vedic Teas, an Indian Restaurant, a chocolate boutique, and TWO Chinese restaurants nestled amongst a consignment shop, a hardware store, and a real estate office??!! Kooky...and FABULOUS!!!
We drove out to Jefferson County Park to check out a possible wedding venue for Tena and Andrew's wedding next October, then met Andrew later for dinner at India Cafe...which I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE...
After the walk, we went back to Tena's, sat around talking for awhile, then went to bed.
On Tuesday, Tena had a haircut so left for that while I packed and loaded stuff back into the car (for the LONG, LONG, TEDIOUS trip back to the cities!). Tena had a doctor's appt. in Iowa City, so I decided to go back a different way so that I could hang out in Iowa City (my college alma mater) for a while.
What a BLAST FROM THE PAST!!! Lots of changes, but lots of things that were exactly the same! I started by exploring/shopping Old Capitol Mall, then walked around the ped mall for awhile.
I walked around campus for awhile, by myself...
...then met Tena, and continued the tour down by the river (which has flooded repeatedly over the last couple of years, DECIMATING the theater, art, and music buildings, as well as the student union).
After walking around campus, we headed to Micky's Irish Pub for lunch (the "conglomeration" ROCKS!)...
...shopped at Prairie Lights Bookstore, and an art gallery nearby, then I headed back to my car.
To continue the "nostalgic-ness", I drove by the house at 221 S. Lucas.
I spent my senior year in this house with Jane, Sheryl, Kyl, Liz, Carol, Marty, and Bob...it was TRULY amazing!!!!
Here's hoping YOU were able to "visit your past" recently too!!!!