Bridges of Madison County. Check. Field of Dreams. Check. Driving down our first dirt road un-intentionally. Check. Breaking bread for the first time with one of your “best man’s” parents having never met before and parking in their driveway for the evening in Bernard, IA before heading to Madison. CHECK CHECK CHECK!
Before highlighting the stops yesterday I need to talk about the wind in Iowa. Maybe you think about it when riding a bike or walking outside in the morning. Trust me when I tell you this guy was crystal clear noticing the push of such wind on a body frame let alone the realization of such a wind on a 11W x 13’H X 37’ (add on an additional 15 or so feet with van and hitch) behemoth. Lord watch over us today please! The wind was crazy as you can surmise and driving was nervous at best. Ultimately my wits needed to be about me in droves. Thank goodness it was only about a 2 hour drive north to Madison. In fact the trip was pretty straight-forward if you count dancing on the highway with a 24k+ vehicle structure thingy. “go to your happy place…”
During the entirety of the trip I kept Q checking the score of the Royals game. This was their final chance to extend their play in the American League Divisional Series against the Houston Astros. We started off 2-0 but then Q alerted me to the fact it was now 6-2 in favor of the Astros and late in the game…like the 7th inning. 25 or so minutes later Tiff asked if the game was over too which I stated
“ basically- they just did not have the magic they did last year. Dissappointing”. Then the next you know a buddy-co-partner texts me..”what a game!”. Im like what and ask Q to check the score. 6-6!!! Top of the 8th and still only 1 out with bases loaded.
I move into high gear, all while driving!.
Turn on the generator (so we have power), then instruct Tiff to turn on Direct Tv NEED to catch the game and fast. It takes awhile for the sat to be found, cable comes up, instruct Tiff to hit channel 219 and game is on!!! Driving down the road..still. Fortunately and unfortunately, now having processed all of my actions, there is a ,right up-front-top and center, a TV!! Yup game is on in full force and I am glancing at times to see what is happening [both on the road as well as the TV]. Cheering, Adrenalin pumping. Amazement. Telling myself how cool and what a fair-weather fan I am. They do have the magic…its me who does not…
Anyway, and rightfully so, Tiff is saying pay attention or pull over! Great idea. I do in fact pull over on an exit ramp. Perfect fit. We’re stopped and proceed to take in the rest of the excitement and including a home run by Eric Hosmer, in the top of the 9th no less, to make the lead 9-6. Flippin nuts.
What a pretty neat and nervous experience. In hindsight my decisions, regardless of the blowing wind, was naïve at best. Should never have been so emotionally tied to such convenience (cable that is) to jeopardize such a precious cargo. Certainly a lesson learned. I did however learn another start addiction I will call it. Cable and the internet. Holy smokes am I jone-zing for such convenience. The camping spot where we are in (a state park) is either to overgrown with trees to reach viewing of the southern sky or its because its over cast, and thus NO cable! F.
Now, because we absolutely need internet right, I purchased an ATT hotspot- the velocity, loaded with 30 gig of data. How much have we used in 2.5 days? 3.5 gig. That means we will be out in less than 7-8days (is that math right!?) regardless all I keep hearing is the sound of “Glug glug glug”..drinking data down likes its an IPA. Then the anxiety really sits in. Am I really that addicted to content? You damn right I am. We even talked about switching from a State Park to an KOA so at least we have a cable contingency plan if the satellite on the RV does not connect. LOL. Isn’t that horrible! What are we going to do is what I am thinking? A year with limited cable and internet? I’m seriously going to freak out.
These “winds of change” are going to be my demise; they’re going to irreparably blow me of course- Shoot they already have. The bloom is somewhat off the rose (is that how you say it?). But after getting a grip, starting with a Silver Bullet, I realize how profoundly chained down by these technologies I must be to be in such a state to have that part of my life and believer or expect that NOT to change at all; not a sacrifice I even contemplated. Why can’t everything just stay status quo a little longer? Ill do this when I am ready and only if I have cable and internet…. Yup a bit sad to say the least.
Then I think about where this “wind” thus far has brought me/us and when I start focusing on the “wagners”. See these Wagners (Nick, Betty, Alissa and “The Man-Jake”). What a great bunch of Americans. Just salt of the earth people with a very special SPECIAL gift. His name is Jake Wagner! And yes he was a gift to us and always will be.
I knew of the Wagners for many many moons having known their son Scott. We met in Denver and in fact Scott stood up for Tiff and I’s wedding. Wags has been a pretty damn good friend. A friend I will know until I am 6 foot in the ground for sure and then lives afterwards if so blessed.
As a result of having met “wAgs” (again winds of change at work…maybe they’re not so bad after all) “ he made a comment when we were talking about visiting “the Field”. ‘Hey my parents are exceptionally close to Dyersville’ too which I said “well then we need to meet them”. Balls in motion as they say. They would be our Sunday stay before heading north. RV parked smack in their driveway.
Sun going down, beautiful sunset btw, we reach our destination with jumping hands of joy. Flagging us down from this farm road, directing us in, was our very first joyous introduction to Jake Wagner!! Nope never met him before. Only seen him and the Wagner clan in pictures. Not sure if I or my kids have ever met such a damn special person. At the ripe young age of 30 he has probably done more than most of us have ever thought or dreamed to have done in the vein of meeting people. People of all shapes and sizes, statures, pedigrees. Monastery monks, Bikers, Head coach of the Iowa Hawkeyes, not to mention having a hawkeye hat signed by all the players. He manages a semi-pro baseball team, holds down a job in ‘town’, helps on the farm but most importantly brings spice into their lives daily and in spades. Talk about a windy individual.
The man has done it all and all with a sense of joy and appreciation I know for certain. His parents in fact threw a surprise 30th birthday party for him and who showed up?...over 200 raving fans of Mr. Jake Wagner. You know what he proceeded to do before the festivities got on their way? Thanked every last one of them first. No kidding. What a fricken, not contemplated by most, genuine and appreciative jester. He is a man and a human all should strive to be. I trust he would win over hands down even ISIS.
He is Non judgmental, non confrontational, just love and joy. Why is it so hard for all of us lesser human beings? I surmise filters. Filters of “judging books by their covers”. Jake is not that guy. See Jake was born with Down Syndrome and what a force of “wind” he has brought into the lives of all those he has touched. Now including us!! The Ferchos. We are just that much more blessed by the change he has infected in us all. What a knock-out cool experience. The Wagners and Mr. Jake.
We have met long-time family In the Wagners for certain. In fact, having called Mom-Betty as to our successful arrival at Lake Kegonsa, I mentioned to her that we already MISS them. Genuinely. We are now in the mode of remembering to face time with her Nick and Jake. They brought some home and warmth to our trip.
Needless to say wind is just wind, not good not bad, just wind. But with the right perspective you can’t help but be blessed by it all, it’s force of nature. Just need to be aware of it and grab all of it. Add it to your story, good bad and indifferent.
Speaking of such an occurrence..the bath house (to shower and Shave) at the camps grounds. But let’s save that tale for later. It was yet another learning experience for all of us. Man if I don’t keep the right perspective, just mentioned, I am going to fail miserably on this journey. Need to remember to put on my Jake super-hero uniform for sure. Thanks Wagners and ‘special’ Jake. You guys were a great beacon on our journey.