Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Happy Birthday, Jim

Today is my brother's birthday. We'll see if he comes up with something witty to say on his own blog. He tells me that he has the day off. Good for him! It brings him great joy to remind me that I am 5 years older ... yes, he's right. I am.

Today is also a day that we celebrate Mom and Dad's purchase of our haven ... Bell's Dell. Located in north central Iowa on the Boone River, this is the home of our family's best memories. When mom was still in the hospital, just after giving birth to Jim, Dad was finishing the purchase.

Seventeen acres of gorgeous land ... meadows, forest, river. This was a little piece of heaven on earth. Our family grew up there, Jim's family is falling in love with it now as we share it with the next generation and begin to make changes in the structures so that we can continue to enjoy it for many more years. We've hosted youth group retreats and family retreats there, friends have joined us for long weekends ... it's a place to hide, it's a place to share.

1969 - Dad laid concrete and we built a small cabin on 1/4 of the foundation. The rest would come in a few years. But, this was a fun place for us kids.

1971 - Dad found that a church bell was available from a little country church that was being torn down. He got that thing up a hill and it still tolls to remind us when dinner is on the table. You can hear it throughout the valley.

1971 - Mom cooking on an outdoor fire.

The final iteration of the cabin ... Dad added the front screen porch after he retired.

The Boone River ... can you see why we love this place? It's gorgeous!

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