By Curt Swarm
The bathroom floors in the Hotel Manning are heated, at least in the “Old Part” of the hotel. I had gotten up in the middle of the night to use the bathroom, and was barefooted. The bathroom floor was warm. Goodness gracious, what a nice feeling! I believe that is the first time ever in a hotel/motel that I have encountered a heated bathroom floor. At home our floors are heated. But a hotel, and a really old one? (The Hotel Manning has been restored.)
It was Ginnie’s birthday, Aug. 28. Mine is July 28 (so I can remember). To celebrate, we spent the night in the historic Hotel Manning in Keosauqua. Someone told me the Hotel Manning was made to resemble a double decker steamboat. By golly, it does.
The rooms in the “Old Part” of the hotel have names. We were in room one, “The Moon Rise Room.” Nice. However, the sunrise from the veranda, overlooking the Des Moines River, was something to behold, also. All for Ginnie’s birthday.
We arrived on Saturday morning in Keosauqua and met up with a friend, Michael Lanman. He wanted to buy a hard bound copy of my new book, “Task Force IED.” Some of the knowledge Michael imparted to me over the years, I used in the book. Michael was pleased with that. We wore one of Ginnie’s birthday presents that was horse shirts in honor of the horseback riding at Westercamp Rent-A-Horse in Farmington that we did on my birthday. The shirts drew a lot of friendly attention and guffaws. Michael snapped our picture.
We were in Wasko’s Hardware admiring Susan and Joe Wasko’s triplet grandbabies. My my. What a precious sight. Michael directed us across the street to Van Buren County’s Welcome Center and McCoy Historical Museum. I’m glad he did. I purchased six Wendell Mohr prints for next to nothing. One of them was of the Hotel Manning. Sweet.
The Great Day Cafe was a great place to lunch. Then it was off to Cantril and the Dutchman’s Store. Don’t go there on Saturday, it’s mobbed! Owner Clair Zimmerman is building a brand new Dutchman’s Store out on Highway 2, on the west edge of Cantril. He’s doubling the size of his downtown store. He needs to! His sons will be running it, Clair says, so he can relax a little. (Ha, ha.)
Ginnie and I walked the path around the pond at Waubonsie Trail Park Campground. There are three covered bridges in less than a mile. The park is quite pleasant and very well maintained. Ginnie was pleased with a nature walk on her birthday.
Then it was supper time. There’s a brand new restaurant across the street from the Dutchman’s Store — the Fox Den — named after the Fox River that is close by. Excellent dining, foxy food.
Then it was bedtime at the Hotel Manning. The birthday girl woke herself up snoring, and tried out the warm bathroom floor. She was impressed, also. We’ll go back.
Sunday morning. You know you’re get’n old when you’re out and about on a weekend getaway, and you go to church. We attended the United Methodist Church service in Keosauqua. The people were so nice. When they found out it was Ginnie’s birthday, the organist played happy birthday. After church there was coffee and delicious coffee cake — which became Ginnie’s birthday cake. Very nice, and the people made us feel so welcome.
After-church lunch was at Misty’s Malt shop. We had bacon cheeseburgers and hot-fudge sundaes. What’s birthday cake without ice cream? Ginnie felt well pampered.
My appropriate meditation for the day from my daily reading, in honor or Ginnie’s birthday: “Happiness is a byproduct of love and service.” I wholeheartedly agree.
We always enjoy our visits to Van Buren County.
Contact Curt Swarm at firstname.lastname@example.org