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July 27th would normally be a scorching hot day in Iowa. We expect that, after years of experience. Hot temperatures go hand in hand with a summer town celebration or a county fair. Not this time. Thanks to a cold front, Canadian air fanned Iowa today. Low dark clouds hid the sun, keeping the temperature in the sixties.

My husband and I went to Dysart, Iowa, about thirty miles from us, for their Iron Days celebration. As a writer, I’m always looking for details, humorous or otherwise, that might work in a story that includes a small Midwest town. Dysart is small with many older, large homes and enough trees to be designated City of Trees.

At 9 a.m., we started by walking from an uptown parking place to the park. I noticed the thermometer near the community center said 63 degrees. The antique tractor displays were nearly all gone out of town already on a tractorcade parade. We looked at the few they left behind. One refurbished tractor, with a glossy, green paint job, had a cute sign on it. This tractor is just like the neighbor’s wife. You can look but don’t touch. We circled around the remaining tractors and headed toward the Craft show.

First stop was Witt’s Garden and Lawn Crafts. I took pictures there to use in my blog. Witt’s Crafts belongs to my husband’s sister and her husband. As long as I was taking pictures, he asked if I’d email him the pictures so he could use them for advertising.

We left the craft show and walked through the park. At the other end, a car honked at us. Turned out my husband’s brother had the same idea we did. We retraced our steps back to the Craft show so he could say hi to the Witts. This time we took time to look at the antique and flea market items on the other tables. After that, I was ready to go uptown and look in the shops. I always think I don’t have room for anything else in my house, but I love looking. We stopped in an antique shop called Orphan Annie’s. The name comes from the fact that orphan trains used to stop in Dysart as they traveled through the Midwest. There are citizens in town today that have ancestors that got off the orphan trains in Dysart and found families.

Bouquets of balloons bounced at us, tied to items on the sidewalks in front of stores to catch our attention. A woman, with a purse full of chocolate candy, stopped shoppers to ask if they would like to try a piece. We aren’t big candy eaters so we said no. Later, the woman was on the other side the street asking shoppers to try the chocolate. She forgot she’d already talked to us so I asked if she had a candy making shop close. She looked puzzled as she pulled a wrapped chocolate drop from her purse to inspect it. She actually didn’t know where the chocolate came from. Perhaps, it hadn’t mattered as long as the candy lasted until I asked. She hustled across the street, hailing another woman down to find out what she knew about the candy she was told to promote.

We stopped in another Antique Store. Most store inventories are alike with kitchen utensils, old pictures, scared up hutches, tables and dressers. One thing I found interesting was the wine collection labels when I heard one woman ask if the Hussy Heifer was a sweet wine. I didn’t hear the answer, but when I came back along I was curious enough to glance at the three bottles. The first one in line was Farmer’s Daughter. Maybe a person would want to drink that bottle first and next try Hussy Heifer next. Not that I know since I don’t drink wine. The other bottle was turned away from us. I couldn’t get close enough to see the name. The woman and her friends were having a wine tasting party in front of the inventory, sampling a bottle of Hussy Heifer. Looked like they might be going to drain the bottle before they decided if they liked the wine.

We headed back to our pickup at eleven a.m. The thermometer registered a whole degree warmer at 64. At least the pickup felt warm when we were sheltered from the north wind.

We headed for the county seat, Vinton, Iowa, to take in the county fair. It was almost noon so we stopped at the pork booth and had a pork loin sandwich right off the grill. Very good sandwiches. We visited with people we knew checking out the exhibits just like we were. It’s fun to see all the clean, curried animals that normally would be happy in a dirty barnyard. The buildings with 4-H projects and the garden and flower exhibits are always interesting.

As soon as we exited the last building, I was ready to go home and put on the coffee pot. Wouldn’t you know, as we drank our cup of coffee the sun came out of its cloud cover, warming up the late afternoon hours now that we were done exploring for the day.



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