Monday, August 9, 2010

on the west bank of buffalo creek

Trips and events clutter our calendar this month, leaving me breathless. And it will be a mix of rushing around like mad or sitting still whilst traveling, no internet access, no way to hack away at the to-do list. In the midst of this chaos, we made a round trip to Monti, Iowa on Friday.

Go ahead, try and find that on your map. The Garmin won't locate it. Neither will Google or Mapquest. It's literally an intersection in the middle of Iowa. The intersection of two country roads (off the beaten path) surrounded by miles of cornfields--as far as the eye can see. When you reach this particular intersection in Iowa, you'll see five houses, a small Catholic church with a graveyard and a town hall. That's it.

But Monti, Iowa is where my sister-in-law's father was born, lived and died. I found that rather amazing, to be born and die in the same spot--especially one as obscure and underpopulated as Monti, but there you go. J's dad was a kindhearted, fun-loving and generous Irish farmer. Lest you think this description of his life sounds a bit boring, I'll add that he was a well-traveled (to Europe over 10 times) and drove a Jaguar convertible. He had water fights with his grandchildren and brewed his own hard cider (which nearly gave me a contact buzz when I held a glass of it to my nose one Christmas). Many people will remember him fondly for a very, very long time.

We attended his funeral mass in that tiny Catholic church and walked behind the church to attend his burial. His grave is on a grassy knoll where you can see his farm--acres of corn and his house. In a world where everything is about moving and doing and going places and getting far, I found myself reflecting on how one man lived one life in one very quiet place from start to finish. That didn't make his life less valuable or meaningful. If anything, it gave me pause and I wished I could know that stillness and peace of knowing so well and staying so long in one spot.


Congratulations to Shelly over at Surviving Munchkin Land! She won the box of Ink Obsession Designs note cards. Sharpen your pencil, Shelly, and start spreading goodwill via mailboxes!


  1. I find that kind of life very attractive. Very rich.
    He sounds like a great man.
    I'm sorry for your and your family's loss.

  2. This is such a beautiful post. I'm sorry for your loss!

  3. Wow, this is beautiful. I'm sorry about his passing. What a grand life he lived, and what an interesting person.

  4. Wow. I can't even imagine a life like that. Like you wrote, the stillness - I'd like to know that kind of stillness. At least for a little while.

  5. I am so sorry for your loss. What a full life, even in such a small obscure town.

    Thank you for the note cards :) I can't wait to use them!

  6. What an interesting mix--to be so well-traveled, but also so stationary. Lovely tribute.

  7. What a lovely tribute to the man. It gives me pause too.

  8. Just beautiful. Thank you for sharing.....

  9. This is such a lovely post. I'm sorry for your and your family's loss.


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