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The tourists find the real deal

May 25, 2010

Threats of rain and storms sent us off on a new track today.  No. 1 son steered us west from Iowa City to the back roads that led to Kalona, Iowa.  Here I found the Old Order Amish that I had expected in the Amana Colonies.

I also learned that the Kalona folks are the conservative branch; the Amana folks the liberal branch.  Different theologies, different dialects, in no way connected.

Buggies on the road and parked around town; it was great.   I drove some back gravel roads past the farms and we marveled at the gardens, huge amounts of washing out on the lines, and high-stepping buggy horses.  In general, the agricultural scene reminded me of southern Minnesota in the 1950s.  Fencelines, turn-around areas at the ends of the fields, “no spraying” signs along the ditches — with an abundance of ditch grasses, and a huge number of birds flitting around in the fields and along the roadside.

I noted that the owner of the Kalona Gambles Store had gone several up on his competitors.  On the south side of the store the back third of the parking area, along the alley, had been concreted and a long hitching rail installed.  The cement slab made it easier to collect and clean up the horse droppings.  The owner had also started a row of nice shade trees sheltering  hitching rail.

His foresight and planning were being rewarded.  Three buggies were tied up to the rail while their owners were in shopping.  The old way is going to continue in this town for a long time to come.


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