This week, between classes and going to press for the third print issue of the year for the school paper, I’ll be making a quick trip to Iowa to help raise funds and excitement for the absolutely, positively, most-beautifullest hometown quilt museum in the world: The Iowa Quilt Museum.
The Iowa Quilt Museum is in Winterset, IA, where I was born and raised. In fact, the Museum is about a two-minute walk from my house! Where my mom and stepdad still live! (No, I will not tell you which house.) The Iowa Quilt Museum opened earlier this year and it’s gotten great reviews, lots of visitors, and is two doors down from Pieceworks Quilt Shop! Pieceworks took over the old Fons & Porter quilt shop space and is expanded, fully stocked, and fancy, fancy, fancy. You can get all of my Small Wonders fabrics there and so much more. Special guests are doing extraordinary talks and demos all week. Sandy Gervais will be there!! I love Sandy Gervais!!!!
If you’re within sane driving distance (sane = less than 400) or you have so many frequent flyer miles you just need to get rid of them for heaven’s sake, why not take a trip over to Winterset this week? You can see the new John Wayne Museum, which also just opened. You can see the covered bridges of Madison County, as Winterset = Madison County. You can take a peek at the movie theater Mom bought and is rehabbing and renovating with my brilliant younger sister Rebecca. You can eat at the Northside Cafe opposite the Quilt Museum where they filmed scenes for the movie “The Bridges of Madison County” and where I had my very first job in life as a waitress at age fourteen. Betty and Vicki taught me how to smoke cigarettes and make a good pot of coffee at Northside. It’s the real deal. It’s Americana, straight up. Also, great beer and great pie.
If you come on Thursday, you can hang out with me all day at the Museum while I do demos, sign stuff, and get to know you; I would love this. Then, that night, when you’re full of Northside Cafe biscuits n’ gravy from, roll yourself back on over across the square to the show that night at the Quilt Museum! I’ll be giving my “10 Things I Know About Quilting & Life” lecture, which is really funny and also inspiring. I made a lady name Gretchen cry in VA this weekend during this lecture and it was before 10am! Just think how teary-eyed you’ll get after dinner and a beer! That’s such a good feeling. This is reason to take a trip to Iowa. The gorgeous leaves changing are 1000 trillion other reasons. (Note to self: How many leaves are there in Iowa?)
“Mary,” you say, hesitant. “I really want to go.”
“Yes,” I say, nodding my head so vigorously you are slightly concerned about my neck. “You do want to go. You should. Why are you hesitant?”
“Well, it sound wonderful. But I wish I would’ve known about it sooner. I mean, I could still come. But it would’ve been good if you had told us about this earlier.”
I take your hand. I pat it. Then I do something strange and I actually start patting my own head using your hand. Because I need you to pat me.
“You’re right,” I say, enjoying your sweet, gentle, loving patting, how you’re smoothing my hair and calming my very soul. “I should’ve told you before. But I am drowning in things. I should set a reminder on my phone for next time. Please. Don’t stop patting my head.” Now I’ve sort of slumped into you and you have no choice but to put your other arm around me and say something like, “There, there. It’s okay.”
I suddenly realize what’s happening. “I’m sorry!” I say, jerking away, embarrassed. “I apologize for not letting you know about it before!” I begin to gather all nine of my totebags and head for the door to my next meeting, apologizing on the way out the door.
You are wide-eyed as you reach for you phone and dial your husband. “Honey?” you say, when he picks up. “Do we have anything going on on Thursday? No? How about a drive to Iowa?”