Rainy Day Food Cart

I use “rainy day” here in both of its meanings. A whole lot of Madison County people are facing the unexpected financial hardship at this time, without their usual income to buy food and take care of other financial needs. On Sundays, from 1 to 3 p.m., the Food Cart collects food and personal items donated by citizens. Early the following day, these donations, along with money and checks donated, are taken to Matura/Multi-Purpose Center, for emergency food assistance to those who are in immediate need of food. The volunteers who donate their Sunday afternoons to the Food Cart, and the citizens who have stepped forward in their giving, showed this past Sunday that they recognize the urgent need for food does not cease on a rainy day. Throughout the entire misty and rainy early afternoon donations arrived at the Food Cart, in front of First Christian Church, on West Green Street just north of downtown. 

Now, I want you to imagine what one does, immediately, with the donations as soon as they arrive, on a misty, rainy Sunday. Proudly arraying them on the church steps, for all to see, was not an option on May 17. The volunteers, working together, came up with a plan that worked. The food was displayed instead in front of the church doors, where a roof provides considerable protection from the weather. For greater protection, the many packaged items, such as cereal, were placed in upended boxes. Canned goods were arrayed in front. At some point, this became impractical, and donations were simply placed, protected in plastic bags, between the boxes and the canned goods. It made for a highly unusual, but very eye-catching, display. 

THANK YOU, people of Winterset and of Madison County, for your generous contributions to the Food Cart. If YOU want to contribute, I expect the Food Cart will be found at the same location this coming week, and for some time to come, Sunday afternoons, 1-3, rain or shine. 

City-Wide Sales

If you were like me, you didn’t expect that we’d be able to have spring city-wide garage sales this year. And then, when the day arrived, you wondered if buyers would show up. There were not as many sales as usual, but, oh, did the buyers show up. It was a good excuse for cooped up people to get out and about, and enjoy the Saturday. With some sales also held on Friday, and a few on Thursday as well, it was a grand occasion for buyers. I attended some of those sales myself, and I had my own sale, by carefully scheduling the time of my own sale. People clearly enjoyed being out. They talked with one another. Several wore masks. As I saw it, they were also careful to maintain social distances as well as circumstances permitted. Best of all, buyers found merchandise they wanted, and most sellers sold lots of items they no longer needed. 

Two Frequent Questions

I can’t pretend to be an impartial observer of the Covid-19 crisis, nobody could be, but I can easily identify two frequent questions that people ask me. One of the questions is, “When will the library reopen?” People are chafing mightily that the library has been closed for so long, and they clearly hope that it will reopen soon. If I gauge public sentiment right, it is time for the library to reopen, in some way, some form. Perhaps with only half the computers available, to maintain distances. Perhaps with staff wearing masks or helmets with face plates, and open only to patrons wearing masks. Perhaps with some services limited. Perhaps with few, or no, special programs. But, all in all, the sentiment I hear is that people want the library open now to whatever extent is possible. 

The other frequent question is, “Where can I get a mask?” At first, I was surprised that the question is still being asked. Now I’m not. It shows that people are more and more taking Covid-19 seriously, and are wanting to protect themselves and others from spread of the virus. And it also shows that people are expecting Covid-19 to be around for a while, and want replacement masks for future need. They are thinking mightily of how to live despite Covid-19. 

There has been a third question frequently asked, about how long the pandemic will last. I am seldom asked that question now, or am asked it merely to confirm what we already know: Covid-19’s threats will be around for quite a long while, and we all will have to find ways to confront that threat, just like the human race has coped, and won out over, other threats before. 

The Mystery Refrigerator

This one did take me off-guard on Saturday. Some garage sale customers wondered what on earth I needed a refrigerator for, in the garage, especially since I live at another location. Soon, they were speculating. Naturally, knowing how many people keep beer in a refrigerator in the garage, that idea quickly won out. Laughing, I told the customers they could open the refrigerator and find out. My invitation was immediately accepted. You should have heard the amazed exclamation, “Why it’s filled with [the contents]!” I was too surprised, then, to use the learning opportunity that was handed to me on a silver platter. Beer, and most alcohol, is a toxic poison for someone with celiac disease. They are dreadfully dangerous as well, since a celiac’s body cannot metabolize their alcohol content. The refrigerator is filled, but with refrigerated food I can and do eat. I won’t ruin the suspense for you. For your own answer about the contents of the mystery refrigerator, just hurry in to an upcoming sale, and find out what the refrigerator contains. But don’t wait too long. The refrigerator may sell at any time, contents not included. 


I’ve held back my pen on this one for weeks, out of concern that any announcement could be premature. For all practical purposes, that danger is now gone. I’m going to have peaches and orange raspberries galore this year. With the raspberries, I plan to do the same as usual. I’ll eat them, while they last, spring and fall, each day, from the vine. They are entirely too tasty to make it inside my house. 

As for the peaches, my two mature trees and my two first-time producing trees were loaded with blossoms this year. It was a gorgeous sight. Unlike last year, our late frosts did not cancel the year’s crop. The sour trees are now loaded with tiny peaches, that will grow and mature. I like sharing peaches with other people. I am already treasuring the prospect of doing that, come September. One particular person will also get a volunteer peach tree, at some early point this year, just as soon as he figures a way to keep his rabbits from destroying it, as has happened in the past. Covid-19 can do what it will to us, but life for me will still be peachy, with orange raspberries and good home-grown yellow peaches and Iowa white peaches.