Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Laura Days in Burr Oak, Iowa

We were in Burr Oak on June 25 for Laura Ingalls Wilder Days. The weather was beautiful (although a little sun would have been nice). It made for a great day spent outside. The morning was spent shopping and spending a lot of money in the visitors center. Burr Oak's visitor center is located in an old bank. Not only will you see information about Laura, but also a display about the robbery the bank. I'll be honest. I didn't look at the display. There were too many people and it is a small area. The robbery was in 1931 and was the first bank robbery in the county. The bank robbers locked the employees and patrons in the bank vault before they left.
Next we attended a presentation on one-room school houses by Sarah Uthoff, a fellow member of The Laura Ingalls Literary Society. Sarah has a wealth of knowledge to share on this subject and did a great job making her presentation interesting to adults and children. Listen to Sarah on her radio show: http://www.blogtalkradio.com/trundlebedtales or follow her on Twitter @Trundlebedtales.
After chatting a bit with Sarah, Ted and I had a quick bite to eat at the food tent. For less then $5 we each had a hot dog and a drink and I had a brownie. It tasted great, too. While eating we listened to The Bread and Butter String Band. They played classic fiddle music. Pa Ingalls would have been proud. It was great to listen to some of the older people enjoying the music. When a new song began there was always a happy murmur throughout the crowd and someone always said, "I love this song."
As soon as lunch was over we moved on to tour the Master's Hotel. This is the first home the Ingalls family lived in upon their arrival to Burr Oak. The entire family also worked in the hotel. Our tour guide was a 15 year-old girl from the area. She had a great personality and made the tour enjoyable. Laura Ingalls Wilder Park and Museum
The tour ended in time for us to see the end of the pie auction and then the highlight for many, the announcement of the Little Laura and Little Almanzo winners. It was great to hear the kids read their essays and see all of the girls and boys in their costumes.
Throughout the day I was struck by the "small town feel" of Burr Oak. I loved being back home in Iowa. I truly believe people are more welcoming there. Or, is it there that I am more receptive of the kindness of others?
This was actually our second visit to Burr Oak but Ted didn't remember being there before which made it entertaining for me. He kept looking at me and saying, "Are you sure we've been here before?" No amount of reassurance helped. Nothing I said triggered memories of our first trip through with our nephew Brad, maybe, seven years ago.
Hopefully, before the summer is over we will return to Iowa. I'd like to slip in a trip to West Branch and the Herbert Hoover Library and maybe the Amana Colonies.

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