On the half-hour trip down, with no reservations for a place to stay, Melinda called down to the Iowa House, a small hotel at the Student Union for a room. It is usually a nice, central place to stay on campus, and luckily we snagged a room even though incoming freshman orientation was ongoing. But when we got there, it was like a war zone with construction going on around the periphery of the building. We finally figured out where we could get in, but it sort of put a damper on our home-away-from-home for the night. The first order of business was dinner, since it was already after 8pm. We passed several new eating spots, but I had to return to one of my favorites from decades ago - the Sanctuary. It was busy but not packed for a Summer Friday night, so ordered the standard microbrew beer and pizza. I'm not sure the place has changed a whit in the nearly 40 years I've been frequenting the place. I think they've extended into next door, but otherwise I suspect the same uncomfortable bench seats are still there, though the menu is a little too frou-frou for this farm boy! But at least pizza was still allowed, though not as cheesy as I remember from decades past. It was still good and tasty, and the 12" stuffed the two of us.
|"Globe of Death" by Burford|
We had a few minutes until our parking meter ran out, so we ambled down Iowa Avenue towards the Old Capitol building on the Pentacrest. We had noticed driving around that like the Cows On Parade in Chicago 15 years ago, there seemed to be a number of painted Herky Hawk (the Iowa mascot). Turns out they are revising the "Herkys on Parade" from 10 years ago with 83 (!) new figures decorated by new artists. In front of Old Cap was "Graduation Herky", which was a natural to have my photo taken near! Walking down the other side of the street, I marveled at a number of literary brass inscriptions on the sidewalk. I've noticed these in years past, they've been done since my graduation. Standing out to me was one of semi-astronomical theme shown at right - the representation of the night sky with a decidedly not-currently-recognized constellation front and center (the Bicycle is NOT a constellation!)... Doing a little research on the quote, it is taken from a short story from Ethan Canin, interestingly currently a faculty member of the Iowa Writers' Workshop, mentioned above...
It is always great to swing by campus and Iowa City. I don't know if doing it more frequently or for longer periods would diminish the impact, but a few hours every couple years certainly always wants me to come back for more!