Last week, my little break came when I was able to drive 2 and a half hours over from Omaha to Kansas City for a meeting. There, I got to hang out with my niece. It was good to see her as I haven't seen her since I put her on a plane in Italy to go to India where she resided for 6 months. On a good note, she really doesn't look any different so 6 months in India didn't change her that much. You can see an amazing family resemblance in our twinkling (or maybe its glowing?) eyes..... :)
I got to stay two night and then had to head back towards Omaha for some work in Lincoln, the second largest city in Nebraska (which its interesting when you literally know what the two biggest cities are because theres really nothing else). As I was driving towards KS, I was talking to my BFF and mentioned that I had stayed "across the border" in Council Bluffs, as in I-o-way. She then exclaimed that some of our friends lived there. Ugh! Didn't even know, otherwise I would have had someone to visit during my two boring evenings in Council Bluffs.
But, being that I had to go back, I planned to meet up with Jeananne and Dan on my last night there. I got to meet up with Brittany for lunch and then I hit the road for the drive back. Once again passing the booming and creatively named Missouri cities of....
And passed exciting scenes such as ....
When I got to Council Bluffs, I went directly to my friends house and was able to sit and chat with them for a bit. They had actually been invited over to someones house for dinner and they had called before and their friends were like "tell her to come too!" I was a little leery at first, I didn't want to intrude, but I did go as it had been about 13 or more years since I'd seen Dan and Jeananne and so I figured any time with them was good time.
Turned out pretty amazing as I got to know Council Bluffs a little better and was actually pleasantly surprised by how much I really liked the couple where we had dinner. They were definitely Iowans, but they were the friendliest more welcoming people ever. We had such great conversation and they were so welcoming. The husband makes guns for a living, rifles and such, and so he was so tickled to take Jeananne and I out to his workshop to show us all his equipment and such. I'm not into guns at all, but I can respect them and respect the people who so respect the guns.... if that makes sense :) I know my dad would have LOVED to have seen his workshop. Its definitely a craft and takes precision. He had some old antique guns there, he had some from the 1800s. He redoes old guns as well - I guess refurbishes? Anyways, he was so proud of his stuff. He didn't talk much at dinner, but we got him out to his workshop and he just excitedly took us all around and explained everything.
We wound up back in the house catching and found out that they lived in one of the oldest houses in Council Bluffs, from the early 1800s. Their last name was James and turns out he literally was related to Jesse James. Don't know if thats a great thing, but its an interesting thing. The husband was also part Indian (native American to be exact :)), actually Choctaw. His mom was on a reservation and his dad met her when he was in the military - or something like that.
Long and short - I really like the down to earth Council Bluffs people - they make me a nicer person because its hard to be an angry, not nice person with people who are that pleasant! I did get back in my car though, and drove off behind an Iowa license plate and gave a little curse under my breath --- they REALLY don't know how to drive....
Oh - the other interesting thing about Council Bluffs, and now I have to go back, is that the Union Pacific Railroad started in Omaha and the Union Pacific museum is in Council Bluffs. It makes you see the area in a different light. As I was driving through the fields and saw the expanse of railroad tracks just meandering through seemingly nowhere, it did give me this sense of the way American used to be. Just open planes and fields and forests and when the railroads were built, just the areas that sprang out of that. But for here and now, it was just still a track running to somewhere. I would love to get back and see that museum.
Coming home, it was to construction as the back bathroom is getting a redo after 39 or so years. It was sad to see all the stuff go as it definitely is reminiscent of dad as that back bathroom was his domain. The yellow cabinets and the brown countertop and those great little rooster tiles that mom was insistent added some character to the bathroom. I'll miss that little shower stall that you could get in, but certain people had to soap up good to shoot out. And that disgusting yellowed tile that rimmed the outside of the toilet base - now that - that was all dad! Sad, but change can be good and I'm rooting for a good change - we'll see what it all turns out like. Picking all that crap out (excuse the pun... :)) is HARD!