Pastries, shopping and brisket.


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North America » United States » Iowa » Amana
July 5th 2019
Published: July 22nd 2019
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July 5
This morning was a hot one, sun was baking down with intensity for our first foray out this morning with the dogs. It was so hot I didn’t even want coffee, just too hot. We knew Dan was up early this morning putting a brisket in the smoker and we were looking forward to that. We checked in by phone with Angie and Dan and decided we’d go over to their house in the early afternoon. We’d let them get there chores done as they were having us and some other guest for barbecue around 4pm. In the meantime I enticed David to go shopping this morning at the Amana Colonies by suggesting we go to the local bakery for breakfast. I’m not sure he completely understood the ramifications of his quick answer, YES, to the pastries until it was too late. Yes, he agreed to shopping! Actually, David is terrific about exploring touristy gift shops with me. I rarely buy anything but I enjoy looking.

By the time we arrived it was even hotter! We parked the truck and by the time we made the full block to the bakery we were sweating. Going in to the bakery was tough. Choices, choices, it took quite a while to decide on which pastry. Do you want turnovers, strudel or eclairs? The list went on and on. Then what type of filling, creme or fruit? How about cherry or Apple, no peach? Decisions, decisions! Finally it was our turn to be waited on. “What’s the difference between a cherry turnover and a cherry strudel?” I asked. The lady quickly explained that the strudel had the filling baked in it versus in the turnover it was added after it is baked. Strange I thought but opted for the strudel! David, being the pastry connoisseur he is, ordered both and a peach turnover too! Stating that one must taste the difference to really understand the fine points of turnover versus strudel. I laughed and found us a table while the lady warmed up our pastries and gave us forks. With gusto we dove into our pastries. David had me share a little of his turnover so I could judge for myself. “Definitely strudel!” I said. David said “But you didn’t taste the peach!” So I did try the peach turnover. “Yep strudel is the best!” Something about the fruit baked in I guess. In truth they were both good. We decided we’d come back for a couple of pies to bring to the barbecue on our way back to the truck, now I was ready to shop.

Next door to the bakery was the Amana woolen mill. David and I have fond memories of Amana. Way back in the late 1970’s or maybe early 1980’s I’m not sure we took a trip here with our boys and David’s mother, Catherine, and her mother, Gaga. Gaga was David’s grandmother’s nick name. Mary Blanche was her chosen name but nobody called her that, only Gaga. We had taken our pickup truck which had an extended cab, not a full second seat but just a bench seat. So 4 adults and two kids in the truck and the dog in the cabover camper on the back of the truck. We drove from Wyoming to Iowa! Thank goodness we didn’t take up as much room on the seats as we do now!! At one point when we got to Cedar Rapids I had made a wrong turn, yes those were the days before GPS and someone had to read a map and navigated for you by looking at actual street signs. At that point I happened to be driving and Catherine and the boys were in the rumble seat, quite crowded and tired and all of us were stressed. We needed to turn around. So seeing a wide spot I made a sharp u-turn, which torqued the cabover camper on the truck. Our dog, a young male Doberman named Striker, was riding in the camper. We could see him through the back window of the truck which matched up to the front window of the camper. As I made the sharp turn, I could see from my rear view mirror into the camper just in time to see dishes from the upper cabinets in the camper come falling out of the cabinet on to the dish drainer below. The dishes fell in just such a way as to launch the full 2 liter bottle of soda into the air. The bottle landed and then took off like a rocket jet propelled by gushing soda and shot directly at the dog. This caused the dog to launch himself all the way up into the over-the-cab-bed in one leap! That was one frightened dog. It took quite an effort to clean up the camper and calm the dog. As per usual in these situations I began to laugh so hard I nearly stopped breathing which did not sit well with my mother-in-law who was stuck in the back seat with two hysterically laughing children and yes, we were still lost!!

On that trip to Iowa we took a tour of the Amana Colonies. Catherine saw the handmade grandfather clocks at the Amana furniture shop and ordered one. I remember how much she wanted one as she wandered through the shop looking at them longingly. I kept telling her she deserved one, she worked so hard and never thought of herself. She was concerned about the money. She was very frugal, except for spoiling her kids and grandkids. I was very happy when she did order one, the cheapest one of course. When she passed away in 1984, we inherited that clock. It’s traveled all around the U.S. with us including Hawaii which is were we lived when she died. Today the clock sits just outside our bedroom door, at little bit worse for ware from all our moves. It doesn’t run as well either but 40 years is a long time, and when it chimes, day or night, we think of Catherine. David always said Catherine speaks to him every time the clock chimes. I remember, we bought blankets, well Catherine did, at the woolen mill and I bought a coat I wore for many years and enjoyed. Today visiting was full of memories.

The woolen mill, now was really just a store, not like the factory before. David and I perused the blankets. They also had a large selection of cotton woven goods, table linens of all sorts. At the back of the store were wool blankets and summer cotton woven blankets. I had been considering getting a cotton blanket for our king sized bed at home in Arizona. I mentioned these might be perfect as a memento to David. David, as always, was the perfect shopping companion as he stated, “ Your right, if you want one, pick one out, or two!” At $245, one was quite enough and we spent 10 minutes picking the right colored blanket for our bed at home. David proudly carried the bag with the blanket in it, it was pretty heavy.

If it was hot outside before, now nearing noon it was unbearable. We had one more stop to make, the furniture store. We thought we were pretty good at reading the shop map but clearly we need more practice because we ended up walking the long way to the furniture store. We could have walked a block to the truck and driven but nooooo! Instead we walked at least four blocks down and one over to get to the store which meant to get back to the truck we were a good 5-6 blocks away. I knew I’d die from heat stroke!!!

At the furniture store we wandered through, enjoying the cool air, as much as the custom handmade furniture. We’d been considering a glide rocker for our trailer but it needed to swivel too and we didn’t find one. The final room was the clock room. All the grandfather clocks were standing stately just waiting for someone to fall in love and take them home. It was hard not to caress them as you walked by, they were so beautiful. It brought a flood of memories and teary eyes as I remember Catherine and her clock. David, teary eyed, felt the same way. As we left the shop a man asked if he could help and we said no, we had one of the grandfather clocks. David explained that his mother had bought one years ago but it wasn’t working so well now. He suggested we bring it in, but David explained we lived in Arizona. The man said, “No problem, there are clock repair shops that can come right to your house!” He asked us to wait as he looked up an authorized repair man, and he found one right in our little town at home! He printed the information out and said please get it fixed! We were so excited it was worth the long hot walk. I put an appointment on my calendar to call the repairman the day after we get home!

As we stepped outside it just seemed even hotter. How is that possible? Where’s a taxi when you need one I thought! Well this little town is not New York City, and no point waiting for a ride! David was burdened with the blanket and his camera, me just my tiny purse. Today even my purse was too much. We finally made it back to the truck when I saw the quilt shop next door. Just when I knew I couldn’t make it any further, my shopping instinct kicked in and I told David I was going to see if they had quilts. David the committed partner followed me. The quilt shop was just fabrics no finished quilts. Beautiful fabrics dotted every inch of the store but I think making a quilt at this point is way over my head. Seamstress, I’m not. I grabbed David and we headed back to the truck which was only about 50 feet, thankfully. We got in and drove about a block to the bakery, David jumped out to go get those pies for the barbecue while I got the truck cooled off and waited for him in the parking lot out back. David wasn’t gone long. I was surprised when he returned with just two pies. I thought for sure he’d buy more pastry for breakfast tomorrow. I guess the heat really got to him! LOL

We returned the two miles back to the trailer and let the dogs out for a short walk. Even though they’d been inside the past few hours they could feel the oppressive heat when they got outside and didn’t want to stay out long either. We all loaded up and headed for Angie and Dan’s, accompanied by the two Amana bakery pies.

The dogs played outside in the yard for a short while. The wonderful scent of the smoking brisket lay heavy over the yard. Dan watched over the smoking brisket like a mother hen waiting for her eggs to hatch. I wanted to grab a fork and knife and sit at the table but since it was only 2pm I’d be sitting there a while! LOL. Instead I opted for throwing the ball for Red but he was occupied with Gizmo who was hanging out on the patio chair. Red nosed Gizmo as if to say, Come on let’s play! Gizmo tail just waved slowly as a warning, hey buddy don’t push your luck. Later Gizmo moved down to a shady spot in the yard and Red tried taking Gizmo the tennis ball, but still no go, Gizmo wouldn’t play.

The heat got to all of us and we retreated inside for a visit. Angie and Dan occasional got up to check on dinner. Around 4pm the guests arrived, a couple from work. We got acquainted while Dan brought the brisket in. We had potato salad, beans and Angie’s brownies along with the brisket which was terrific. For desert David brought the pies out and Angie even offered David Ice Cream to go with it. After that big meal and lots of visiting David and I were ready to call it a day. The heat had really gotten to us today. We made our way back to the trailer, David took his pills which he’d forgotten to take with him to Angie and Dan’s and we walked the dogs. We called it an early night and headed to bed!


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22nd July 2019

A great Blog..!!
For the I was reading this blog, I felt that I am there...along with you...loved this post

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