Home of the Bellingwood Series – Nammynools

Holiday Travel … or a trip through Iowa with a cat.

TB - Thanksgiving 2011
TB – Thanksgiving 2011

You know, you can look at holidays as either the best time or the worst time ever. I’m flat out pooped and I haven’t even gotten to Thanksgiving yet. I spent all day yesterday baking and cooking and writing as many words as I could get out of me, then packing and cleaning and doing and oh … then there was some more writing and plot working. But, as exhausted as I get around the holidays and as many things as can and often do go wrong, I can’t imagine looking at them as bad experiences. I have tales of woe and stories that are so terrible they’ll make you laugh out loud, but for the most part, every day is an opportunity to have some fun, holidays are no different.

January 2012
January 2012

I dropped into bed about one o’clock and knew it was going to be a while before my body and my brain relaxed enough for me to fall asleep. That was just fine because I’m in the middle of a good book.  TB was pooped out as well because with me up and running around during the day, he can’t settle in and sleep. Rather than bratty cat last night, I had exhausted cat, who wanted nothing more than to curl up beside my legs in the bed once I finally landed.

January 2012
January 2012

We woke up late this morning, as I am wont to do when I stay up late reading and writing. The next trick for me was to get TB into the car so we could head out. He HATES riding in the car and I have had to get really sneaky about gathering him up. I packed everything yesterday so that he didn’t see all of that happen this morning and panic. As soon as he sees me head for the door with my laundry basket or my purse, he darts in and under a set of bunkbeds in the next room where I couldn’t get to him if I tried.

January 2012
January 2012

I continually attempt to be smarter than the cat and only achieve success with a great deal of processing. However, packing the car the day before I leave is a good start. He knew something was up, but just what it was, he couldn’t say. I finally saw that he was relaxed on the table in front of the big window, enjoying the view. More than likely, he was desperately wishing to be out chasing mice or ground squirrels, birds or butterflies. I saw my opportunity, grabbed my purse, ran to the front window, tucked him in my arm and slipped my shoes on. I was out the door before he realized what had happened to him and then it hit him.

January 2012
January 2012

Every part of him tried to put on the brakes. He was desperately attempting to get out of my arms. I wasn’t letting go. If there had been a door sill and his four paws could have reached the edges, he would have had all of them on full lockdown. “No, don’t make me do this! I’ll die in that car!”

He never has … obviously. In fact, when he was very young, he even enjoyed riding in the car with me. But as he got older, the strange sounds and the world flying past him became too much and he grew to hate it. We have finally discovered that as long as I am touching him or stroking his back or neck or head, he is fine. This work out well until he’s had too much touching or stroking and gets up to move to another part of the Jeep. The meowing becomes incredibly pathetic and grows louder and louder. I stopped at a drive-thru for something to drink and I knew they had to be giggling inside as he meowed my order to the speaker.

August 2012 - clutching my shoulder as we drive.
August 2012 – clutching my shoulder as we drive.

I wasn’t in a hurry today and chose to take Highway 30 west. It’s been a while since I’ve done that. I usually hit the interstate and go as fast as possible, but it was time for an adventure. Have I told you lately how much I love Iowa?

I was the nut out there today waving at the smiley faces painted on round hay bales, slowing down so I could look at the barn whose windows took the form of eyes and a nose. The deteriorated boards just below them formed a smile. It was awesome. I gawked and gawked at the wonder of small towns and the beauty of the architecture that is lost on us when we hurtle our way across the interstates.

My mind was ablaze with ideas for Bellingwood as I drove through these small communities. It’s a good thing I really don’t have access to a Henry in my life, he’d never be able to take a breath. There are so many possibilities for repurposing old buildings, renovating and rebuilding in these little towns. Amazing things have happened in the past inside all of those walls and they can be re-built again so amazing things can continue to happen well into the future. There is so much potential! Since I don’t have the money or the ‘Henry’ to make it happen in reality, I will just keep making it happen in Bellingwood.

A friend of mine works with the Main Street Iowa program. I have seen these signs crop up in communities across the state for years and I’m thrilled when I do, knowing that people are taking their community back and restoring it for the future. Iowa is a thriving, growing, exciting state.

Not only does agriculture define its work ethic, but it sees an incredible growth in manufacturing. There are more than 6100 manufacturing firms operating in the state – many of which are small businesses. These people are doing things and making things that can change the world.

A drive like I took today reminded me why I love Iowa and why I think that rural America is an amazing place to live.

Now, I will admit to making a couple of stupid turns and ending up in even MORE small towns than I intended to visit. My map of Iowa was in the pocket on the passenger door. I wasn’t lost. I knew where I was … kind of. But, I knew where I’d end up and how to get where I was going. I just hadn’t planned on being on that much hilly highway today.

This evening I’m where I need to be. I’m tired … it’s been a busy couple of days that will get me to tomorrow’s thanksgiving celebration, but it feels good.

And even though it’s difficult for me to write when there are a ton of people around (okay, even one person is a ton of people when I’m trying to focus), I have so many ideas from that drive today I can hardly wait to get started with them!


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