Today’s backache - meaning, tomorrow’s super-backache - came courtesy of a large tree delivered to the house by the place we will never go to again. They wanted $40 to deliver it, which is standard. They wanted $250 to deliver it and plant it, which is ridiculous. More than the cost of the damned tree. So I dug the pit in advance and cleaved the roots - trees are sneaky, they’re everywhere - and waited at home in the nice weather, working from home in the gazebo, waiting for the delivery person.

The window, as you might expect, was 8 AM to 5 PM. They were unable to provide any more details. I should have been grateful they were delivering it in the first place, I suppose.

When noon came and went, I called the Dispatch, and was told it was going out on the next truck, and said truck had already left. So, an hour. Two and a half hours passed. I made another call; voice mail. At this point something came up at work that required my bodily presence, so I put a note on the door to repeat the delivery requirements my wife had told them when she purchased the tree: do not attempt to bring it up the big stairs, but go around the house to the short flight. Through the gate, back to the fence where you see a hole. Thank you.

Got in the car, backed out of the garage -

There was the tree. On the driveway. They'd dropped it off without saying hallo.

Huh. Hmm. Grr. I made a few inquiring phone calls, trying to say as polite but firm as possible that this was not what we had paid for, and drove to work. Missed a call later while in a confab; it was the head of the tree dispatching unit. He’d gotten a call from Dispatch, learned there was something amiss, but alas he was leaving for the day. (3:54.) Let’s talk tomorrow!

The chances of anyone coming by to bring it up were nil, because they were done for the day, doncha know. The chances of them coming tomorrow were also of the nil variety, since they had a whoooole different part of town to do tomorrow.

Sorry! The last person to whom I spoke was a second-shifter tasked with calling me because someone else had left her a note about a customer who had a problem, or something, and she indeed did call and was very sweet.

"I'm sorry," she said. "Even if it's just a lowly person on the phone at the desk here, I want you to know someone's sorry."

I told her that she wasn't a lowly person at all but in fact was the best person in the company I'd dealt with all day.

Aww. But I still had a 7-foot tree in a heavy pot on the driveway. We wanted to get the tree in the ground before the rains came and made everything even heavier, so Wife and I got it up the steps, dragged it to the spot, dug, watered, and added the magic sauce that will make it grow, and had dinner. About ten minutes later my back announced its displeasure, but I’m happy to note it’s a different ache than the one I got from cleaning my father’s house, which only shrieks upon awakening then generally leaves me alone.

Perhaps the older you get, the more you just have One Pain, and it travels. After a period of gaming I will have a twinge in my wrist, forearm, and mousing finger, a sign I should stop. It goes away. I had, for a longer while than I’d like to admit, a barking knee that came from twisting it; the sensation abated, only to move to an elbow for no discernible reason. In college I was convinced I had Shin Cancer because I had a tight knot that would not go away, until it did, whereupon it moved to a pectoral muscle for a goodly time. It’s all on my right side. Perhaps when I retire the pain will move to the left.

Good thing I have no intentions of retiring.








As Iowa Falls, so Falls Iowa. Wikipedia says "It was named from the falls on the Iowa River," so it's Iowa Falls on the Iowa River in Iowa. Any questions?

Five thousand souls, and as I keep saying: a lot of downtown for a population that size. But, as I keep saying, it was a commercial stop for people who lived out in the rural areas, so that explains the quantity of buildings downtown.

Angle parking! No trees or planters! This could be 1940, except for the signs and the cars.

A great comedy team; Ben would go on to plays, Jose branched out into a career as an astronaut.


There’s an Ellsworth Community College. Any relation? Yes:

It was founded as Ellsworth College in 1890 by Eugene S. Ellsworth. Originally a private business academy, it later became a four-year college, a music conservatory, and a public junior college before being absorbed into the Iowa Valley Community College District.

But who was he? There’s a Carnegie library in town that bears his name; he donated the land.

A big wheel in Iowa Falls. It’s these small-town big-wheels that intrigue you. I found an obit; businessman and civic leader who gave his all to his town.

All his asked, perhaps, is that you remembered the name from time to time.



They built at the same time as Ellsworth, and it seems they strove to make their two projects work together.


I take it back: signs of downtown beautification.

Long gone, but there’s no reason to pry up the name.


Those immense alleyway utility structures were once quite common, and you’ll still find them here and there. Kept the main street free of wires.


A nice little composition that gets more balanced the more you contemplate it:


The old windows abide; nothing painted or boarded. But the wood over the front is a regrettable; perhaps there’s still some nice colored glass beneath.


This may have shocked the locals. Well isn’t that different.


I'm glad I decided to drop the 8 - 10 picture limit on this feature, because some small towns just have so much. Can't get a straight-on picture of this one:



Dedicated to the musical arts, of course:



And who might have popped for something like this?


Thank you kindly, sir.

It looks like a small defunct variety store:



. . . but we know better, don't we?


I guess the law of the style says the front must face the main street, but somtimes it looks as if it's sucking in its gut and trying to look svelte:


A perfect example of an almost OUMB grafted on to the old Roman Temple.


Moderne as all get out: an old structure given a new Zigzag facade with a shiny black lower floor.

A fire or collapse reveals some ancient wallpaper:



A bygone demolition revealed a window from which no one had gazed for decades.



This one seems to have a contentious relationship with its role as a corner anchor: the turret recognizes the corner, and the lower floor might have had an angled door on the corner . . .

. . . but:

This seems to be the main entrance. Probably for the offices above. Now it looks like it was filled in with hamburger.

That's a lot for a small town. Hope you enjoyed your visit; see you around.







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