The Day We Met | 7-8-1980

It was hot that July. I was attending summer school to earn my master’s degree. I sat down to lunch in the dorm cafeteria next to Dan, my resident assistant. Almost immediately, Dan asked if I had met Melanie sitting at the other end of the table. Oh, I had seen her walk through the cafeteria several times. I had definitely noticed her. We exchanged greetings and ate lunch.

Melanie and I got better acquainted quickly. I won’t go into detail except to say it got even hotter that July. Then, the darnedest thing happened. The AC in my dorm broke. I had to find a cooler place to study. I wondered if Melanie would let me study with her. Lucky for me, she was okay with that. What a great summer that was.

Now it is 35 years later. To celebrate the day we met, we decided to do two things. In the morning we visited the National Czeck & Slovak Museum in Cedar Rapids, IA. It had suffered a devastating flood in 2008 sitting next to the Cedar River. By 2012, it was moved and raised and re-opened. Details are in a video in the link above. We had lunch nearby in the old Czeck Village at the Meat Market and Cafe. What great food it was.

After lunch we drove 15 miles through the rolling Iowa countryside to the town of Solon. We changed into hiking shoes and shorts for a brisk hike through the woods, prairie restorations, and along the shore of Lake MacBride. It was good to get out and walk off some of the food from our delicious lunch. Here are a few highlights of the scenes along the way.

Click to embiggen

Click to embiggen

Purple Coneflower

Purple Coneflower | Click to embiggen


Do you know what this is?


At many places along the crushed gravel trail, these little butterflies were sitting in the sun. They are a little larger than an inch across their wingspan. They were taking in something in the wet gravel. They flitted about as we walked by, then settled back down.


2015_0707McBride_04   2015_0707McBride_05



Cup plant | Note the way it captures water around the square stem

Cup plant | Note the way it captures water around the square stem


Tatarian Honeysuckle | Lonicera tatarica | Click to embiggen

Tatarian Honeysuckle closeup

Tatarian Honeysuckle closeup


17 thoughts on “The Day We Met | 7-8-1980

  1. Steve Gingold

    Nice story and, of course, we are all delighted with how things turned out. I like Melanie’s sentiment.
    Personally, I would always prefer celebrating things in this fashion rather than a trip or diamond necklace. 🙂
    Congratulations on 35 years.

  2. shoreacres

    What a lovely way to celebrate.Congratulations — and thanks for sharing those beautiful photos with us.

    I don’t believe I’ve ever been to Solon, even though I circled around it in Iowa City, Cedar Rapids, Cedar Falls. The name is so familiar. I think my parents may have had friends there. It sounds like it would be a nice stop.

    1. Jim in IA Post author

      It is a nice place, not too big. The surrounding countryside is quite rolling with farm fields scattered around the wooded areas. Much like a Grant Wood painting. They also have a terrific fireman breakfast in late May.

  3. OceanDiver

    Those flowers and berries are so intensely colorful, what a treat in the bright sunlight. I agree with the commenter above about celebrating an occasion with a shared lovely experience rather than a material thing. Especially as we get older, we appreciate our ability to do things like take walks out in nature 🙂

    1. Jim in IA Post author

      The partly cloudy day required waiting for just the right times to get the shots. I’m glad you like them. We had a very good time.

  4. Mrs. P

    Wonderful way to spend an anniversary. I love Melanie’s comment.

    Both Rick and I are terrible about remembering what day we got married. We got married at my aunt’s beach house in Maryland and without planning we have managed to spending every anniversary with my aunt in Virginia. This year, we will be back at the beach house on our anniversary…with my aunt of course! I love these kind of natural coincidences.

    1. Jim in IA Post author

      Thank you. We have found planning and doing special hikes is a good bonding experience. Something we can both do well. Last fall, we reached over 11,000 ft elevation during one. For two flat-landers from the midwest, that was a big deal.


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