Most years the first weekend in December you can find us at Amana Colonies during the magical Prelude to Christmas. The colonies make us feel like we are stars in a Hallmark Christmas movie. This year was no exception, but we had some unexpected encounters during our visit, and on the way home, this year that made our visit even more special.
We decided to take in the Christmas Haus tour, where Amananites open up their homes and offer us a glimpse of how they live. While we usually tend t be more excited about the older homes built when Amana was established in the 1800’s, this year one unexpected pleasure was at the Bruce and Deborah Kimm Haus where we had a chance to meet and get an autograph from Bruce who is a former pro baseball player and coach. Growing up in the small town of Norway, Iowa Bruce Kimm said there were three pro players to come out of the town of 500. The town sports a baseball museum that we hope to check out sometime.
Each house had their special draws, one was the upstairs of a business and the owner had a penchant for all things French in both the shop and her home. In her upstairs living space, the 1800’s beams were exposed and provided our favorite stop of the day.
While out antiquing, Keith was thrilled to find a rare Peru Plow company pocket ledger to add to his collection. His trip was made with this one find.
We stayed at the always wonderful Zuber’s in Homestead and this year Jo the manager pointed out the baseball sculpture in the side yard crafted from a tree trunk representing Bill Zuber’s ball career.
On our way home, we winded through the town of Riverside where we spied a lovely house decorated for the holiday with Christmas trees circling the wrap around porch. There was a Christmas Market where the owner served up mulled cider and a dishful of wisdom. She was chatty and said that her family had come from New York to Amana with the colonists. Her grandfather who had come from Amana had married a Mennonite and she had taught history at a Mennonite school for much of her career.
We talked about writing and she was working on a story about a service man during World War II that was a farmer and had written home from 1942 to 1945. She planned to pen a book about the history of the war through his eyes. What a wonderful idea!
In the town of Riverside we also saw the most amazing site, a replica of the Star Trek Enterprise which I later learned must be part of the faux movie that William Shatner told the people of the town he was filming there. Strange story in a very nice little town.
We also went past the Kolona, Iowa village which we want to return to as well. A great trip filled with the unexpected. I love the surprise encounters even more than the planned stops!