My husband and I drove to State Center, Iowa. Where is State Center? A few miles west of Marshalltown on highway 30.
Did you know that State Center calls itself The Iowa Rose Capital? The stores have rose beds in front of them. In June, the town has a rose festival with a parade and Queen among other things. The coronation takes place in a gazebo in a park filled with walkways between rose beds.
On a side street, we looked around in an antique store called Rat Pack Shop. The inventory there would be enough to do several Antique Road Shows. The owner, Mike, is on the town historian committee and does lectures about the town in the good old days. He is responsible for finding and restoring a one room school house that was in sad shape. The building had become the home of raccoons that weren’t house broken. He had that school moved to State Center to use as an exhibit. Do you remember the PBS One Room School House presentation. The man who restored State Center’s school house was one of the stories near the end of the film. I saw that presentation twice and can’t remember that particular story, but now that I’ve drove by the outside of the school and met the man who restored it, I’m waiting for PBS to reshow the film.
Downtown, we found a store filled with many nice gift ideas from consignors. The owner was playing cards with three other people. As we started to browse she said she’d be glad to stop playing and help us at any time. I didn’t have anything in mind to buy. It was just fun to listen to the small town conversation going on at the card table. What fun it must be to spend the day with friends and customers at the same time. Way to the back of the store behind a stack of crafty things, I found what I couldn’t live without - seven used paperback westerns. My husband was out of reading material for next winter, and I like them, too. When my sister-in-law pointed out I was an author, the owner asked if I’d like to have space there to sell my books on consignment. I’d love to, but I live too far away with the price gas is these days.
The Main Street sidewalk was lined with park benches and picnic tables. In the summer on Farmer’s Market night, people buy fresh produce. They buy prepared food and take the time to have supper while they shop. Others rest awhile on park benches and catch up with what their neighbors have done all week.
We made a pass through the grocery store. The place smelled like a very good pizza baking in the deli. Not many small towns have a grocery store anymore. It’s nice to see one in State Center accommodating customers that don’t want to run to a larger town to shop. The store had affordable silk flowers for Memorial Day and an assortment of greeting cards. I found a stack of cards that said Hello From State Center. You’d really love it here... The picture is a sleepy eyes squirrel holding a bouquet of forget me nots. (and inside) but then, you love it anywhere!"
What a special day yesterday was even though it rained all the time we were gone. Our plan was to spend the day with my husband’s sister, Kathy, and her husband Jerry. We ate a delicious lunch with Jerry in the Care Center at a table set up for his company. The desert was a new recipe for a special brownie with a secret ingredient. For chocolate lovers, I’d say you need to find that recipe, and I can tell you the secret ingredient wasn’t chocolate. State Center can be proud of the nursing home that bears it’s name; a lovely modern facility with friendly staff. We enjoyed our visit. One of the staff and a resident must have been prewarned that we were coming. I was asked if I was the one who writes books.
So on that rainy May day we had a good time, and we thank Kathy for the interesting tour of her town, State Center.