Iowa has always held a special place in my heart. I was born in this wonderful state and every time I go back it invokes a special feeling of home. I associate it with my loving grandparents and my aunts and uncles, my cousins and all the relatives who have come before and who have left us even now. It has a feeling of coming home and seeing the green and rolling hills, the farms with their white houses and big barns, the rows of corn taller than myself; all make me feel warm inside. Even though I have not lived in Iowa since I was a little kid of about 5 it still means a lot to me, and I love to come here.

We headed north out of Lawrence, Kansas on Highway 59 toward Des Moines, Iowa where some of my family still resides. Goal was to see Uncle Mark, my Cousins Shelby and Addison and also with the hope of seeing Aunt Shirley and Uncle Rick and of course any other cousins who might be available.

We decided to take a different route; so instead of just driving up the interstate we took some country back roads and jig jogged back and forth even dropped in on Missouri for a spell till we came out in Winterset, Iowa which is well known for the covered bridges (as in “The Bridges of Madison County” fame). One time I went around with my grandma and saw most of those, it was really fun but more on that later.

Anyway, we arrived in Des Moines much later than expected but it was fun to see the country without the interstate. The interstate is great for making miles but not so much for enjoying the trip or seeing scenery especially if you are the driver.

We had dinner with my aunt and Uncles and cousins. I will admit I wondered if it would be weird since my Aunt Gwen passed away recently but it wasn’t and even though I miss her dearly and it was strange for her not to be there, I felt like she was there in spirit and we all had a wonderful visit and it did my heart good to see everyone, it made me feel warm and happy inside. It was over much too soon and we all had to wait till the next day to see some of them again.

The following day Tues. June 28th Jim and I had to drive over to Ivy Church in Altoona and meet the minister there. Jim’s great great Uncle Arthur Barton helped start that church and he was also a chaplain in the Civil war and was at Vicksburg, Miss. when Grant was trying to conquer Vicksburg during the Civil War. Anyway, Jim wanted to see the church and especially the inside as he had never got to go inside before. I had gone to a church service there one time with Jim’s parents and my grandparents when Rebecca was a baby. The little white church was built in 1876, it is quite lovely inside too and it was a pleasure to visit with pastor Forster about the church.


After the church Jim and I ate lunch at Cracker Barrel. I had never eaten at one before and always wanted to. It turned out to be fun, I had a basic meal of a baked potato, green beans, and ham but at least I did not get sick from it and it was good. We also had a stewed apple for dessert which was yummy. Then I looked around a bit. Basically, it’s just regular home type cooking. I call it simple but good home style and that is probably why people like it as there is something comforting in that type of cooking. The gift shop is reminiscent of a country store with a variety of things such as specialty jam and biscuit mixes, etc.

I had some errands which turned out to be a pain and Uncle Mark was tied up all day; so in the end it all worked out as Uncle Mark picked us up and we drove to Shelby and Ken’s house for dinner and Addison and her Husband Ryan came as well as us and Gwen’s friend Linda who is like one of the family really. Addison could only stop by briefly last night due to a previous engagement, so I was glad she could meet us this night.

Shelby and Ken fixed very Yummy burgers and brats along with grilled corn, watermelon and chips, too much to eat but wonderful good. The company, the visit and all was really fun, we all left too late and probably made everyone late too bed, but thank you just the same. The only regret I had was I forgot about photos until after Addison and Ryan had left.

Goodbyes are always the hardest and I always want to cry, wish there was more time and want to rush back but know I cannot for a while. Wanted to see more and do more as well but it is what it is I suppose.

Goodbye Des Moines and I will see you again, love and hugs always.



Wednesday morning, we set off again heading east on I-80 and then south to cross the Missouri river into Illinois but before that crossing to another state we made one last detour south east of Des Moines about 40-50 miles east we turned south on highway 146 and We drove to Searsboro, and saw the little town that my great great great grandfather Augustus O. Huston lived near. He was in the Civil War on the Union side and was in an Illinois unit and it was after the war they came to Iowa from what I have tracked down, he was a laborer and a farmer from census records I have dug up. I had hoped to find the cemetery but I forgot the info as to what cemetery and left it at home unfortunately and it was not just in the town of course. It is probably a rural cemetery near there. We did ask in the next town over but they did not know and when we were in Searsboro it was too early in the morning and we couldn’t find anyone to ask. The town was small and not much to it anymore except houses set in rolling green farm land. A pretty setting but the road awaited and so we didn’t dawdle much.

Next stop Illinois!




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