For the first day of autumn, my girlfriend and I decided to celebrate by heading to Oskaloosa to tour a corn maze. We had never been in a corn maze before, and visions of Stephen King’s Children of the Corn danced through our heads.
The easiest route, we thought, would be Highway 92 to Osky.
Whenever I’m in the Sigourney area, also on Highway 92, I love to stop at Snakenburg Farms, just east of Sigourney. They raise pigs the old fashioned way — outdoors. There’s a name for that now — “free-range” — and the Snakenburgs have a huge operation of free-range pigs.
As luck would have it, the sows were nursing piglets, and didn’t mind posing for a few photographs. I don’t think there’s anything cuter than baby pigs (except for maybe Holly Dog).
Continuing on, we were confronted with a Highway 92 detour. Drat!
However, the detour took us through Delta, one of my favorite burgs. I love their water tower; it looks like a flying saucer. In all my travels throughout the Midwest, I have never seen another water tower like Delta’s.
There’s also a convenience store/cafe that has excellent food. Trust me on this one, I know all the good-food places in this part of the state. As we were passing by, I noticed the convenience store’s gas price at $3.46 a gallon. (You know how bad things are when $3.46 a gallon looks good!) I made a mental note to stop in Delta on our way home for some “cheap” gas and lunch.
The corn maze was everything it promised to be and more. There were hay rides, slides, a petting zoo, a corn sand box and a giant sling shot and air cannon. When the cannon wasn’t being used to shoot ears of corn out over a pond, it shot candy out for the kids (and adults).
Deep in the corn maze were pumpkin vines, twining amongst the stalks, trying not to be noticed. (No, we were not surprised by any of Stephen King’s Children of the Corn.) The autumn slant to the sun brightened the colors of leaves, pumpkins, gourds, mums and the rosy cheeks of children having fun in the crisp autumn air.
It was well worth the trip to Osky.
On the way home, our appetites whetted, we noticed that on the base of the flying-saucer water tower in Delta, in huge letters, were the words, “Covered Bridge.” I made another mental note, to see Delta’s famous covered bridge.
As we approached the convenience store, $3.46 was still prominently displayed. Ah, it hadn’t changed. I pulled up to a pump and noticed plastic bags over many of the pump handles. One pump handle was not covered. I tried to operate the pump, but to no avail.
Embarrassed, I moved the car up to the entrance of the convenience store/cafe. When we walked in, we were greeted by guffaws, and leg slapping. “Got another one,” I heard.
Oh, well. I’ve been had before. At least the food will be good, I told myself. And it was. I noticed on the menu, “Hot Beef Sundae.” I asked the waitress if they meant “Hot Beef Sandwich?”
“No,” she informed me, like I had just arrived on the flying saucer. “A hot-beef sundae is a hot-beef sandwich without bread.” Oh.
I noticed pictures of the covered bridge over the cash register, so I asked where I might find this covered bridge, looking forward to another photo op. I got “that” look again.
“The covered bridge burned down years ago.” Oh.
While we were there, three other motorists got sucked into the cheap gas. But everyone seemed to take it in stride. Upon leaving, I noticed a tiny small-town grocery store across the street.
I had been in this grocery store years ago. It was old then. So we ventured over for a look-see. Walking in was like stepping back in time 50 — no, 60 — years. What a small-town treasure!
Don’t bother with the cheap gas in Delta, or the covered bridge. However, you might check out the grocery store, and treat yourself to a hot-beef sundae.