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Theres no place like (our) people

GAYS MILLS - Our daughter went to college at Iowa State in Ames, Iowa. There’s a town on the way to Ames, just south of Highway 3, that has a unique sign indicating the town, which can be seen about a mile away across the flat corn and bean fields. We always got a kick out of that sign: ‘Readlyn-857 Friendly People and One Old Grump.’   I’m sure that the residents of Readlyn have a lot of fun deciding who that grump is; it’s a small enough town that maybe they take turns?

About 40 years ago, I saw a memorable sign in a friend’s basement: ‘There’s No Place Like People.’ There’s a lot of wisdom in that sign and I think you might agree. No matter where you live, most people, when asked what they like about where they live, comment on how great the people are who live there.  

Most of the people who live around here, be they Kickapoogians or, widening the perspective a bit, Driftless residents, have a strong independent and pioneering spirit. However, we are friendly when we get the chance. The area is conducive to a peaceful vibe and I’ve always felt that those of us who are lucky enough to live here are in a tribe of sorts.

Much of the interaction among the diverse and busy people who call the Driftless home is unplanned.  We “run into” people at the post office or store, that kind of thing. If you don’t go to church regularly or frequent a local tavern, you might go days without seeing people you really do like seeing.  

That’s one thing about a flood, one of the only good things I can think of–people are all out and around and ready to help or be helped when such a catastrophe occurs. The community pulls together in times like that, and becomes, if only temporarily, more tightly knit.

I went to an event last Friday night that impressed me. It was the Gays Mills Community Supper. It was advertised in this paper, and it was open to anyone who showed up. It was held in the new Community Room and seemed to be quite well attended. There were no strings attached to this event, no donations asked for, no fundraising involved, and no agenda. The food was simple and very good: chicken noodle soup, chili, potato soup, toasted cheese sandwiches, and a wide array of homemade desserts. 

Kudos and hearty thanks to the people who hatched the idea of the community supper and saw it through to completion.  Local churches teamed together to organize the event, the Village of Gays Mills provided the beautiful place to meet, and several teachers from North Crawford prepared and served the meal. This is just the kind of a happening that this community, and every community, needs. Key word: community.

Let’s hope (and plan, and work) for more community suppers in the future.