Date: 11/16/2002 9:55:22 AM Pacific Standard Time
Walking through southern Iowa has been a great experience, and I've been
meeting a lot of people.
I enjoyed spending a couple days in Kalona, which is home to the largest Amish
community west of the Mississippi.
I gave a talk at a Lioness meeting that evening, and several people showed
me around town. Mary, from the Chamber of Commerce, had made several contacts
for me, and I especially enjoyed browsing in all the shops, restaurants and
stores run by the Amish. The gas lights in the shops made me feel like I was
stepping back in time.
The Amish first arrived here in 1846, and have changed very little in their
beliefs and lifestyle. The Old Order Amish have no phones, electricity, cars
or other modern conveniences. Then there's the New Order Amish, who permit
rubber tires on their buggies and farm vehicles, while the "Beachy" use
electricity and telephones, drive cars, and own modern conveniences, including
farm equipment. I was fascinated with the large Amish population, and enjoyed
seeing and hearing many Amish buggies clip-clop down the road while I was
Since we weren't able to come up with a place to stay at in Kinross, the
next day I walked there and then got a ride back into Kalona, where I spent
the second night at Mary's house. One very interesting note is that I was
raised in Scio, Oregon and moved to McPherson, Kansas. She was raised in
Tangent, Oregon and moved to Hesston, Kansas -- so we had a lot of talking and
catching up to do!
After that I headed out for Sigourney, Iowa. I got into town, and
arrangements had been made for me to stay at Windsor Place Assisted Living. I
got to stay in a brand new apartment that wasn't rented out yet. It was
really nice and I enjoyed the evening there. They provided me supper and
breakfast the next morning.
Sigourney was also one of my mail stops, so I headed for the post office to
get my mail. There are few things that are more enjoyable than going to a
post office that I've never been to before and having mail there, and at this
particular post office I had a letter from the White House. I had written
President Bush back in August requesting to meet him and visit the White House
next September. While this letter was not a confirmation, it certainly wasn't
a reject, either. It said that they were very interested in what I was doing,
and that as the time came nearer, they would be able to say if it would work
out or not. I was especially amazed that it wasn't a reject letter saying
"Sorry, that can't be done" and immediately thrown away! There's still a
tiny, tiny flicker of hope and possibility!
On thursday I got into Oskaloosa and stopped off at the Super 8 Motel. I
mentioned what I was doing, and asked the manager if she'd consider giving me
a discount. Not only did Sheila give me a discount, but she let me stay for
free! That was a real treat, because usually I can't get much of a discount
at all with name-brand motels. I've learned that I stand a far better chance
talking a mom & pop motel down in their price than I do with a name-brand
motel. I was planning on taking friday off, and Sheila said I could stay the
2nd night for $25. Friday morning, when I went to the desk to pay for that
night, Sheila mentioned that she was going to call Comfort Inn and ask them to
let me stay there tonight for free -- kindof an I-did-it-so-you-can-do-it-too
type of a deal. So she called them up and they said "bring her down!" So my
opinion toward the name-brand motels definetly ratcheted up a few notches
I also was able to visit the department that works with the disabled and
strives for independent living. They ran off a bunch of copies of my brochure
for me, and let me do some office work while I was there. They were very
encouraging about my walk and I appreciated learning about their work.
Tonight I'll be staying at the parsonage in Albia, Iowa, and tomorrow I'll
give a talk at church. From there I'll be heading back towards Kansas City to
take a 5-week break for the holidays. From monday through thursday I'm going
to get as near to KC as I can, either walking or hitching a ride, it doesn't
matter. Then after Christmas I'll start back up wherever I left off at. I'm
looking forward to getting back into Kansas for the holidays. Plus it'll give
me time to plan out the last part of this trip.
Take care and have a great day! KB
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