Wednesday, September 30, 2009


Ever notice that often the best things in life are, well, unexpected? You know. The unexpected little store you find by chance or taking a wrong turn and winding up in some incredible place you had never heard of?

Last week I met my college age daughter in Des Moines for lunch. She did not have a great amount of time but did want to meet around 11:00. It was a beautiful, sunny, warm fall day. She suggested we eat at this little BBQ place close to where she lives. As we drove along I could see the Principal Building ahead of me (our tallest building -- 44 stories -- everything is relative...!).

But I had no idea where this place was or when I would be close to it. My daughter just said turn here or turn there... Suddenly there it was. Surrounded by houses. Of course, nearly all these houses are actually older homes that are now apartments. I had forgotten how these college places are so often stuck in the middle of some otherwise residential area.

When I got out of the car I could smell the BBQ and it was quite pleasant. It was doing a brisk business on a Friday morning. I saw people in shorts and t-shirts. I saw people in business attire. I saw college kids and adults.

I did not take a lot of pictures -- for some reason my daughter would have been embarrassed (imagine that?!). But I am sure you have been to this sort of place.

It was a Friday and I saw lots of men and women from downtown in their power suits. Lots of silk ties, expensive shoes and even more expensive jewelry. That brought memories of my life as a lawyer. I was glad to be sitting in khaki slacks and a shirt!

We ate outside -- so did everybody else. It was like being at a family picnic with all the BBQ sandwiches, potato salad, glasses of tea and lemonade, etc.

As I ignored the business people, retired people and college kids, I just sat and enjoyed talking with my daughter in the sunshine and open air. Much to my shock and surprise, she asked if I would mind driving to the state capitol with her.

I said I would love to that. Talk about UNEXPECTED! Heh!

I pointed out the statute of Lincoln and his son, Tad. It is the only statute of Lincoln as a family man. He is reading to his child and I have always liked it a lot.

We stopped and looked over the skyline of downtown from the steps of the capitol.

And for the next two hours I gave my daughter a guided tour of the capitol and later the Judicial Building where our Iowa Supreme Court is located. She asked me if I was ever going to return to the legal business. I said I might but for now I was enjoying what I was doing.

Her favorite place was this room where I have spent many hours and which I am sure you have seen if you ever watch the Iowa Caucus coverage. It is our State Law Library. This is where Katie Couric did her CBS evening news.

Take care and thanks for stopping by. Now go out and do something ... unexpected!


willow said...

What a fun day! Thanks for taking me along, too, Russell. I especially liked Lincoln and Tad.

Snappy Di said...

I can see why Katie Couric chose that room... or her producers did. It sort of takes your breath away.


larkspur said...

You hit some of my favorite haunts in DSM. Thanks for the tour.
I am glad you had a nice day with your daughter.

Small City Scenes said...

Wowee!! Quite impressive---the whole tour I mean. that law library is something else.
Neat BBQ cafe--no wonder your daughter likes it. Love the Lincoln and Tad statue. Your city has a nice skyline too.

Thanks for the tour. i am not going to do anything unexpected today. I am going to visit my Mother but taking a ferry ride to an island is always fun and who knows what might happen. MB

Maureen said...

Small town BBQ sounds divine.

Cedar said...

Now that sounded like a great day all the way around. I really liked the State Law Library.

Hilary said...

I'm so glad that you got to spend such a wonderful day with your daughter. Unexpected pleasures are absolutely the best kind. :)