Thursday, May 01, 2008

Bullet Hole's 'Day Off'

Yep. That’s me in the picture. With the fly away hair and standing in front of a Dutch wind mill and between two gi-normous yellow wooden shoes. I admit it. I played hooky yesterday. Not for the entire day, you understand. But for some of it. You see, it’s Tulip Time in nearby Pella, Iowa. And if you’ve read any of my Calamity Jayne books, you’ll notice a certain resemblance between Pella and Grandville’s long-time rival, New Holland. Hey. Write what you know.

Anyway, as the red in the thermometer slowly inched its way up to the seventy degree mark, I began to get the almost uncontrollable urge to play hooky. Spring fever had sprung. Big time.

“Kathy, you really shouldn’t,” Bullet Hole told me. “You have books to write. Proposals to put together. A house to clean. Grass to cut.”

“Yeah, but that’s stuffs all gonna be there tomorrow,” Kathy reminded. “Meanwhile, there’s rain moving in Thursday and the temperature is gonna drop back into the fifties. Somehow I don’t see you tip-toeing through the tulips in a rain poncho, Bacus. Don’t forget. Pella was the boyhood home of legendary lawman Wyatt Earp. And there are those Dutch letters to consider.”

Hmm. Sunshine, fresh air, historic figures, and almond pastries. Nobody knows which of my buttons to push like I do.

So, yesterday afternoon my son and I took a road trip to Pella. Pella was founded in 1847 by Separatists from the Netherlands who felt the State Church was becoming too modern and theologically on shaky ground. Pella has kept to its Dutch roots. The architecture of the city reflects its founders’ heritage, a requirement set by the city’s zoning commission, as does its annual tulip festival.

It was breezy (I know--you could tell by my hair, right?) and while this winter has been a little tricky on the tulips and the blooming timetable, the tulips in bloom were still incredible. Reds, yellows, oranges, pinks, the colors were bright and intense. And just so you know, the pictures I’ve posted weren’t taken by me, but by my son who has an artist’s eye for picture taking. Me? I basically point and shoot.

By the time we finished our walk around Pella, we were more than ready for one of Jaarsma Bakery’s legendary Dutch Letters. I forget that not everyone knows what a Dutch Letter is. It’s a weird ‘S’ shaped puffed pastry filled with divine almond paste filling, sprinkled with sugar, and baked to perfection. And did you get a look at the size of that letter? Eight inches of Dutch heaven! At the end of the day I was glad I’d taken a few hours off. I still managed to finish up a proposal for a new project and write an opening chapter. Guess the fresh air did some good. Or maybe it was the Dutch letter.

So, any place near your home you like to go and clear the cobwebs out of your head? Any place you enjoy taking off and driving to spur of the moment?

Today? Well, today it’s back to work. Dang. I wish I’d brought home a six-pack--of Dutch letters, that is.

~Bullet Hole~


Anonymous said...

I've been to Pella! My DH's family is from Iowa and every year we go back to a random family's house for a reunion. Just a couple of years ago we found ourselves road tripping to Pella, IA. Very pretty country up there and I got the run down on the history of Pella. And Pella windows. Men. *eye rolling*

Normally it's in Fort Dodge. Not much in Fort Dodge.

I go down to the nature trail near my house when I need to recharge. Plus I can say it's research since I need to be there for ideas to write about. LOL

Playing hooky is always fun until the next day and you wish you could do it again! Sounds like you had a great time!

Kathy Bacus said...

Didn't you just love Pella, Sin? It's so quaint--and CLEAN! They actually have street cleaning during the parades that's performed by Dutch costumed street cleaners with buckets and mops.

I like to walk and the prettier the scenery, the better. And you're so right, Sin. I'm wishing I was out in the warm sunshine again today. Of course, there's still that grass to cut...

~Bullet Hole~

Terri Osburn said...

Those pictures are beautiful. Kudos to your kiddo. My kiddo and I decided to trek up to Colonial Williamsburg last weekend. It's only 45 minutes from the house and she'd never been. Other than sweating out patootsies off and walking A LOT, we loved it.

She got a mopcap and got her picture taken with the ladies in period clothing. And we got to watch scenes acted out about the time leading up to/during/after the Revolution. Cool AND educational!

Forget about that grass. It'll just grow back anyway. *g*

Kathy Bacus said...

Oh my gosh, I'm such a history buff, I'd love to be that close to Colonial Williamsburg, Terrio! You are so lucky--pitted out and all. I'm thinking that, with the high cost of petrol this summer, the kids and I will take more short roadtrips to fun and interesting venues closer to home.

And maybe I'll let the kid mow the yard.

~Bullet Hole~

Terri Osburn said...

Kathy - we also have Jamestown and Yorktown right here. Add in the beach and the Outer Banks and there's really no reason to take a vacation anywhere else.

Irony is I had no idea any of this (except that beach) was right here when I moved. Just a lucky break.

Keri Ford said...

I looked at the bottom picture and thought that pastry was a snake! Then, you know I finished reading and got to wondering if I could get those UPS'd in!

It's sounds like your days was hooky worthy and I'm glad you finally got some decent weather.

Sin said...

I abosulutely loved Pella. The streets were beautiful and the buildings that line those streets are just as pretty. We are always up there during 4th of July, and that weekend was mid-70's and just gorgeous.

For some reason Missouri is not as gorgeous as Iowa. But I don't enjoy winter so I won't be moving north any time soon. LOL.

There is always a walk to clear your mind ;)

Kathy Bacus said...

Hey Keri--

You can get those Dutch Letters via UPS! Here's the link:

They're pricey, but everyone has to splurge once in a while.

Great. Now you've made me hungry for another one.


Kathy Bacus said...

The northeastern part of Iowa is quite hilly and really spectacularly beautiful, Sin. But you're right. The winters are no fun at all here. This winter was like SIX months long.

Pella still has cobblestone streets in several areas which is so cool. I'm also a fan of Pella Baloney (bologna). Yum.


Kathy Bacus said...

Man, I can see why you vacation close to home, Terrio. I'd be in history buff heaven!


Anonymous said...

I don't think there's much going on around here. I'd rather go to the Tulip Festival in Pella. :)

Jenyfer Matthews said...

I just got back from a weekend in Luxor, Egypt - no tulips but all that ancient history certainly did blow my mind! (pictures on my blog) I haven't been able to concentrate enough to do any work since. Or maybe that's just because my kids have been home all week :)

Those tulips are lovely and that pastry truly tempting!

Kathy Bacus said...

Egypt! Wow, jenyfer! Now that's history! What a vacation!

~Bullet Hole popping over to jenyfer's blog to check out the pictures and, no doubt, come down with a serious case of envy~

Kathy Bacus said...

Normally there's not much going on around here, Tori. We do have Sprint Car races that run from May through August.


Christie Craig said...

Okay, Darn it Kathy. Now I want something sweet. Loved the photos. Your kid does have a great eye.

Hmm...I also need a day off.

Crime Scene Christie

Keri Ford said...

Thanks, Kathy! You've helped me find mother's day gifts if they get them to me in time!