As many of you know, Geoff and I took a brief, four-day vacation to celebrate our 28th anniversary. We wanted to do something close and relatively inexpensive, so we decided on a trip to the St. Louis Zoo (fabulous!), the Art Institute of Chicago (amazing!!), and a brief stop at the Field of Dreams on our return trip home. Now to illustrate how influential book blogs are.....last week was the awesome Audio Book Week celebration. I was so caught up in the excitement of reading the praises of this literary medium, that I immediately reserved about three different books to take with us on our trip. This is the first time that we have traveled while listening to a book, and both of us thoroughly enjoyed the experience.
This particular audio book is only six discs long - so we easily finished the entire book over the 1,200 mile trip. It is narrated by the author, which I really enjoyed because I knew that the way it was being read was the way that was intended to be read --- does that make sense? For me the book had the right amount of humorous anecdotes (for which I believe the author is famous), detailed research on the time period, and nostalgic references to which we both could relate (even though we are a number of years younger than Mr. Bryson, I would quickly add). I enjoyed the subject matter so much that I would like to read the book in print as well. The author's vocabulary, and ability to paint pictures with words, is truly fantastic and I found myself wishing that I could underline the word choice for future reference. Two examples that remained firmly established in my mind were:
- a tornado was referred to as a killer apostrophe --- isn't that a perfect metaphor!
- 1957: we were entering a world where things were done because they offered a better return, not a better world.
|Front of the Farmhouse|
Here is the most amazing thing to me: this attraction - devoid of video games, bright lights, flashing signs, and latest gimmicks - was appealing to every demographic component in America. There were families with young children playing catch in the side yard; there was a group of about 4-6 older gentlemen (I would guess 68 to 70 years old) who were taking turns at bat while a young teenage boy from another family served as the pitcher. Even Geoff got into the pick up game by playing catcher for a few minutes. Time stood still and it was the most magical experience I have ever had the opportunity to witness.
|Photo of the infield from the cornfield|
While I do not think that this attraction is worthy as a destination location (it is a 7 hour drive from Kansas City, but was only a 3 hour trip from Chicago), I would most definitely recommend it to anyone who is traveling within 2-3 hours of Dyersville. It takes you back in time --- to the 1950s that Bill Bryson talks about - a time when the television was only turned on after dinner; when talking on the telephone was limited by the length of the cord; when kids spent the summer outside riding bikes, splashing in the swimming hole, and playing a pick up game of baseball; and when parents would pack a picnic lunch, cheer in the stands, and stay focused on the game.