Wednesday, June 29, 2011


On our last day we went back up to Iowa City one more time to see my parents, sister, and a couple of her kids. Before we met up with them, we took a little driving tour of downtown Iowa City to see all the old familiar spots where Brandon practically lived just one year shy of a decade: the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics. (I remember driving by the hospital one time when Kate and Will were little, and after saying something about Dad being in there, they replied, "Oh, so that's where Daddy lives?" True story.) 

It was weird to realize, but there really wasn't anyone at the hospital for him to visit like in past years. He doesn't know any of the current residents, the head of the department passed away a couple of years ago (a gem of a man who went down to Haiti every year to do free urology clinics, taking Brandon with him one time), and the other professors that had a real influence on him had either retired or transferred to other universities. Another era come and gone. 

Iowa City was the capitol before Des Moines, and this is the old capital building, in the heart of campus:

Brandon took this bus to the hospital hundreds of times:

LOTS of school pride in Iowa City:
We met for lunch at our favorite Japanese restaurant in Iowa City, Three Samurai:
Kate trying to sum up the courage to try sushi:
She never got there:
I was impressed with my mom and Christina! They both tried it and liked it, though my mom hasn't really got the chopstick thing down yet:

Christina's youngest son, Cameron:

Back to my mom and dad's place for some visiting and games. The kids sat out on the porch and yelled at the cars again:
My mom is a fabulous home cook, and we had Jacque's famous coleslaw and hamburger pie for dinner. Brandon compares all coleslaw to my mom's, and hers always wins. And I remember my football playing guy friends coming over to my house in high school asking for my mom's hamburger pie:
The kids with Mimi and Papa:

Then it was off to the mall for one more cool treat at Whitey's. (I think I went four or five times in less than two weeks!) First, a turn in the hurricane simulator:
Love this picture:

Cameron and Josh, Christina's two youngest:

I was feeling a little sentimental at this point. We used to go to that silly mall all the time when we lived in Iowa City. When you have little kids and it's winter or bad weather (a good chunk of the year), the mall is a great place to hang out with it's indoor playground, carousel, food court, Target, and Children's Museum. I know it's ridiculous, but as the mall was closing up while we were leaving, it felt like my life in Iowa City was closing up too. With no one left at the university and my parents moving to Fairfield in the next few months, we won't have a lot of reasons to go back to Iowa City in the future. Eventually, my parents even talk of moving to Utah. So while my roots will always be in the mid-west, my ties there seem to be getting weaker, and that isn't something I ever anticipated. 

As we all hold our collective breath for Christina, and I think about turning 40 in September, and our first child leaving home in a mere five years, and my parents moving on in life as well, I'm surprised at how suddenly life seems to be changing--and I'm not always sure how I feel about it. Especially when our roots are still so shallow in Utah. (Cue Fleetwood Mac's Landslide.) 

Poor Brandon had to hear me sort all of that out on the 20 hour drive home. 

We got off to a late start the next morning (as usual), the kids taking one last jump on the tramp:

And we just had to have a family portrait with Hershey, the stray cat, who now has a bottomless bowl of food in Liz's garage:

Good-bye, Iowa.

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