The Little Brown Church in the Vale

May 18, 2010 - 2:20 pm 2 Comments

We left Interstate RV Park in Davenport Iowa this morning around 7:30 a.m. Greg was itching to get to Moscow, Iowa, to have the HWH factory inspect our hydraulic levelers before our trip to Alaska. The nicest mechanic came out and got on the ground and inspected all four levelers, giving us the thumbs up that everything looks in great working order. They should be—you know Greg and his maintenance thing. At any rate, when we left the RV Park this morning, a big sign was at the entrance stating “STEPS UP, ANTENNA DOWN”. For any RVer, this is the mantra for every morning before pulling out, so I thought it was a great idea for them to actually remind us with a sign.

We had a great day meandering through Iowa. The weather was perfect—sun shining and a high of 70 degrees or so. No humidity, so we had a great day of driving. We were on back roads, my favorite kind of road because you see the real America rather than the same interstate stuff.

For those of you our age or so you will remember the song “The Church in the Wild Wood”, about a little brown church in a beautiful area. We saw a road sign for it and of course I wanted to stop and take a look. We drove into the little town of Nashua, Iowa. It is a lovely small town and we noticed there was a very big visitor center so we stopped to take a look. What a treasure! Inside the visitor center (it also doubles as a tornado shelter) were crafts from local folks—woodworking items, cookbooks, stationary, and hand made items. I went right for the beautiful baby items. Evidently one local lady, while her husband is gone fishing in Minnesota, busies herself making handmade baby items. Quilts, burping cloths, and bibs of all kinds. So you know we picked up a beautiful little handmade bib for our Olivia.

Now back to the Little Brown Church in the Vale. This song was written in 1857 by William Pitts, a young man who, while traveling from Minnesota to this area of Iowa to visit his girlfriend, drove through the area and thought it was so beautiful with wild flowers, he went home and wrote the song “The Church in the Wild Wood”. There was no church in the wild wood at that time, only in his imagination. He put the song in a drawer and did not look at it again until years later when, to his surprise, the area built a church (1860) and had to paint it brown because there was no white paint available (too expensive during the civil war). He was hired to be music director in the new church and it was in this church that the song was first sung. For those young folks who may have never heard the song, a few lines are:

“There’s a church in the valley in the wild wood; No lovelier spot in the dale; No place is so dear to my childhood; As the little brown church in the vale”.

The flowers in the wild wood were spectacular and the inside of the church reminded me of a little church we attended when I was a child. The hymn numbers were posted on a little wooden board every Sunday. Today’s photos are of the Little Brown Church in the Vale, and the beautiful flowers in the wild woods near the church. We enjoyed lunch in front of the church and left a donation in the donation box in the church foyer. The church was totally unsupervised and items for sale such as prints and such were on the honor system.

We ended the day in Forest City, Iowa, at the Winnebago Plant. This is such a first class operation. Because we bought an item in the parts department, we were allowed to stay in the adjacent lot with electric hookups with several other RVers who may be here for service or parts. All shapes and sizes of RVs are here today–all Winnebagos.

We head out in the morning for Minnesota and on into South Dakota.

Stay tuned!!! Bonnie and Greg

2 Responses to “The Little Brown Church in the Vale”

  1. Sheri Schannuth Says:

    We lived in Iowa when Corynne was very little and Caylee was born in Ames. We lived in a farming community called Beaman, “You’re not dreamin, you’re in Beaman!” If you love corn, soy beans and the wind blowing non-stop, I guess it would be a dream come true. Sounds like you are having a blast. Stay safe and we’ll hold the fort down… Sheri

  2. Gail Plemons Says:

    So glad to see your trip on blog. I can’t wait to see your pics of Alaska. I’m so glad you guys got across I-24 in Coffee county before the sink hole appeared. Have fun and be careful.

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