Last weekend, I went to Iowa for a craft festival. The festival was held in Van Buren County Iowa which is in southeastern Iowa on the Des Moines River near the Missouri border. This is the part of Iowa my step-father grew up in and he and my mom go every year. For the last four years, I have gone with them. The festival mostly consists of various craft and antiques/junk vendors who set up in the towns of the county. The towns themselves organize some events, including a parade and covered wagon rides and, in my step-father's hometown, a lunch consisting of bean and ham soup slow-cooked in a big black kettle over a bed of coals and cornbread baked over coals. And homemade pie. Yum.
None of Kelly's (step-father) family lives down there anymore (his parents have migrated to Arizona and his sister lives in Des Moines) so we stay at an inn/bed and breakfast in the town of Bentonsport. Bentonsport is home to about 35 people (and that's if you include the people up on the hill). The inn is less than 100 yards from the banks of the river has been there a very long time and on the side of the inn; there's marks on the side of the inn commemorating various floods and how much of the inn was under water.
While trying to navigate the roads to Bentonsport on Friday night, I got a phonecall from B who now lives in South Carolina and who I haven't talked to in quite some time. This is how our conversation went:
The usual hi, how are you's and what's going on, then
Me: Oh my God, that's a deer!
Me: A deer just ran out in front of the car, oh wait, there's another one, is it going to cross the road?
I successfully navigate past the deer and we talk a little longer, then
Me: Wait, I think I'm supposed to turn here, but it's so dark, I can't see the road sign.
B: I feel like this is the beginning of a bad horror movie.
More driving and talking, then
Me: Hey, I'm in a town I recognize, I guess I'm going the right way.
B: Is it deserted?
Me: No, there are people here.
B: Are they zombies? (B has an obsessive fear about zombies)
Me: No, they seem to be perfectly normal people.
We continue talking and then I'm really close to Bentonsport.
Me: Okay, I'm getting close to town and in the past I haven't gotten any cell phone signal in town near the inn, so if you suddenly don't hear from me, that's why.
B: Where the hell are you?! Is this some sort of Bermuda Triangle of Iowa???
Me: No, it's just a really small town and the only way to get cell phone signal is to go out on the bridge in the middle of the river--Ben, Ben?
I had lost the signal. So, I go in to the inn, check in, then walk out onto the bridge, call B and leave a message saying that I'm fine but I have no signal in town. I'm wondering what he thought of this whole conversation.
It was probably a good thing I didn't tell him that the inn is haunted.