After a busy month, I was more than ready to answer the call of the road again. So it was that I found myself traveling the highways and byways of our great country to the little town of Greenfield, IA and the Back Inn Time.
Before I entered Greenfield, I made a stop about 15 miles outside of town so I could take a look at the famed Freedom Rock. The Freedom Rock is a massive boulder that is painted with new patriotic messages every year by its owner, a local farmer. It really is a very patriotic and inspiring piece of Americana.
Looking at this rock reminded me of how great this country of ours is and deepened my appreciation of the grand gift of freedom that we share. With my good mood further bolstered by looking at the Freedom Rock, I got back into my car and drove into the town of Greenfield.
I don’t know why, but I liked Greenfield from the moment my car rolled into town. It just had a peaceful quality that’s hard to describe. I almost felt as if I had gone back in time to a simpler point in the past. I drove around town and made my way to the town square so I could do a little exploring.
Greenfield is known for having a few historical buildings. As I walked around the square I got to enjoy the architecture of the Adair County Courthouse, the Warren Cultural Center (formerly an opera house!!), and the Hotel Greenfield, an actual 5 star hotel that is back in business after having been completely restored several years ago. If architecture isn’t your thing, there is also an antique car museum in the square.
After wandering around, I decided to grab a sandwich and head on over to some walking trails so I could commune with nature, read, and relax away the afternoon. My directions told me to turn on this road called S Town Line, so I did and the road was your typical country road until I got about a quarter of the way down the hill. At that point, the hill became a squishy mass of mud. By the time my car reached it, I had no room to turn around, couldn’t go in reverse, and couldn’t go forward. I was, in a word, stuck.
I carefully exited my car and hiked back into town. I went to the first home I came across and rang the doorbell. I was greeted by a friendly elderly woman and I explained my situation, so she gave me the phone number of a guy who could tow me out, warning me that he’d charge me an arm and a leg (this will be important later). She then said her husband might be able to help me, but he was out feeding the horses and wouldn’t be back for 45 minutes. I left her my cell number, hiked back to my car, ate my sandwich, read, and told myself that it could have been a lot worse. It was a nice day at the very least.
Forty five minutes later, I got the call and I told the elderly woman where I was on the hill. When they learned my location, the husband said he didn’t think his pickup would be much use in extricating me from the glop. I thanked them for their time and called the tow guy, Alvin.
Alvin said he would get a chain and a tractor and that it would cost $85 plus tax to yank me out. I began to hike into town to find an ATM so I could get enough cash to pay him, but ended up running into Alvin as I was walking into town. I suddenly remembered that I did have my checkbook on me and asked if he took checks. He said he did and I breathed a sigh of relief. I climbed onto the tractor and he gave me a lift back to me car.
Alvin hooked the chains to my car and I started it up and put it into neutral. Slowly, agonizingly, the tractor slowly pulled my car back to the main road. I started rummaging around for an ink pen, but I didn’t have one and, unfortunately, neither did Alvin. I was just about to offer Alvin my laptop as collateral so I could hike back to the person who originally helped me so I could borrow a pen to write a check when a miracle took place.
Alvin took a look at me and said, “You know something, buddy. This is your day. I’m not going to charge you.” I was stunned! I pulled out my wallet and insisted that he take something for his time. He shook his head, shook my hand, and went on his way. So I just want to take a moment and thank Alvin for the good turn he did me. And if you need a tow in Greenfield, give Alvin’s Towing a call. He will treat you right.
Well, my car looked like it had been through a mud wrestling match, but seemed none the worse for wear. I returned to the town square where I spent an hour reading the adventures of Ellery Queen, then I made my way to the Back Inn Time.
I was greeted by the delightful owners, Ruth and Wayne Henderson, who utterly encapsulate the words “hospitable” and “friendly”. Ruth showed me around the home and led me to the Fern Room, my temporary home away from home. The soft green paint of the walls combined with the sleep number mattress (meaning I could make it firmer or softer at the click of a button) guaranteed a good night’s sleep.
I liked this inn at first sight. It had quite a bit of character, surrounded by two lush gardens, and had a beautiful back deck with a koi pond. Now this was a good, old fashioned bed and breakfast. The house was sprawling, had unique rooms, and a shared bathroom. It also had that distinct feeling of pure Americana, like Grandma’s house.
After relaxing for a bit, I made my to a worship service at St John’s Catholic Church and followed it up with dinner at the Olive Branch in the town square. The hospitality of the citizenry of Greenfield continued to amaze me as an elderly lady whom I had noticed at church came over to my table and welcomed me to the town, telling me that it was good to have me at church. I replied that it had been good to be there.
For my supper I enjoyed a gyro dinner which included the gyro meat, bread, and sauce along with fresh vegetables and salad. After savoring every tasty bite for over an hour, I returned to Back Inn Time where I had a lovely conversation with Ruth and Wayne about our travels. They enjoyed my talking about the House on the Rock so much that they’ve now decided to go to the Wisconsin Dells next week to visit it themselves.
After two hours of talk, I retired to my room where I sunk myself into the old fashioned clawfoot tub for a long hot bath. Afterwards, I collapsed onto the electronically softened mattress in my room where I had a peaceful night’s rest.
Breakfast today was an absolute delight as I continued my conversations with Wayne and Ruth over pineapple juice, water, sausage, and waffles topped with cream, cinnamon, and fruit. Another two hours later, I reluctantly said my good-byes, promising I would stay there again if I happened to be in the neighborhood.
In fact you should stay there too, if you find yourself around Greenfield. It’s a friendly town with friendly people like Ruth and Wayne. They’ll make you feel like one of the family and you’ll feel at home.