Well, Rhys cut her third tooth this morning – the first one on top! I found out because I heard her grinding the top and bottom teeth together. Ouch! That’s like nails on the chalkboard to me. She doesn’t seem to mind it much, though.
So yesterday, after being cooped up in the house all weekend with a fussy teething baby, Michael and I decided to grab some coffee and go for a Sunday drive. We headed south of town to explore some small towns – Newton, Cumming, Winterset and DeSoto. Winterset and Desoto we found by accident. After blowing through Newton and Cumming (almost too small to be called towns), we found ourselves on the east side of Cumming where we saw a sign – “John Wayne Birthplace”, and an arrow to follow this road. So we went, and every five minutes or so we’d see another sign or one that said “Winterset” and an arrow. So we kept following this winding road – “Cumming Road”, it said. Not even a highway, and no mile markers or anything! After about 30 minutes, we started to wonder how far Winterset/John Wayne’s birthplace was. But the sun was going to go down soon, and it couldn’t be that far, right? Then I started spotting signs for the famous Madison County Bridges. Hmmm. Without a map, I figured we were two to three counties east of Des Moines. A little further than we wanted to go with a teething baby! But we plugged on – we’d gone this far, and the Duke’s house couldn’t be far.
When we finally got to Winterset and to Main Street – renamed “John Wayne Drive”, it was totally worth the trek! A classic small town built around the square with small brick buildings, shops, and the centerpiece – the Madison County Courthouse. Huge Victorian houses everywhere – my mom would love it! It was really quaint – I felt like Marty McBride in his Delorian (our Honda Element was WAY out of place in this Ford-pickup town!). We followed the signs and got a couple of pictures of the John Wayne birthplace – a small, four-room house (closed by the time we got there, of course) – but we got there! And if we would have taken the interstate we’d have missed the cute “town” of Cumming, complete with the Old Irish Settlement (a popular place for outdoor weddings, I hear), some good fresh country air and space to stretch our elbows. The only thing I needed to make it complete was a root beer float from Scoops in Winterset – closed for the season. Maybe next time.
Funny what you can find on those back roads! Now that’s some true grit.