This past weekend I took the family on a quick road trip to Kansas City. Since the kids and wife were all on Spring Break at the same time this year (she’s a teacher by the way, if you didn’t know), I decided to take a few days vacation to spend some quality time together. While we thought it would be fun to plan a little get away, we didn’t want to break the bank. After looking at a few options we decided that Kansas City would fit the bill nicely.
However (there’s always a however), we almost didn’t go. The week before we were due to leave, the boy came down with the flu and, of course, gave it to his mama, because we are sharers in this family. Fortunately, by the time the trip rolled around both of them were feeling better, and armed with a sense of adventure and a bunch of Beatles music we departed for Kansas City.
However (see?), first we had another stop to make. My wife, Valerie, is a crafter, and has been since well before we met. She has always loved to sew, and has become a pretty serious quilter over the past several years. Her favorite store is called Missouri Star Quilting, and is located in Hamilton, Missouri, which isn’t exactly on the way to KC, but is close enough for a diversion. So the plan was to stop by Hamilton (aka Quilt Town, USA), visit Missouri Star, and be on our way.
Now, for those who may not be familiar with Missouri Star Quilting (MSQ), it is kind of a big deal in the quilting world. Started as a retirement business by a woman named Jenny Doan, and co-run by her family, it has expanded into a national business. If I am not mistaken, they are currently the largest quilting supplier in the United States. They do massive on line business, and quilters come from across the country to visit the stores. Yes, stores, plural. In fact, MSQ and its sister stores take up both sides of an entire street, with twelve shops in all (including Man Land, a retreat for weary husbands who are just DONE with all the fabric). Mrs. Doan, her daughter and daughter in law also host online tutorials on You Tube and have several books in print. These women are basically the rock stars of their field. So for a quilter, this trip is pretty much a must do.
For the record, I am not into this sewing thing much at all, and know very little about it other than a few terms I have learned from my wife showing me her work. You may think that I was dreading this portion of our trip, but that was not the case. For one thing, I like seeing Small Town America. I like the look of old buildings, the history behind them, and I like to see how they are used and revitalized in the current day. I also figured I owed Valerie for the many times she has had to stand around a record store waiting for me to make a decision on that day’s purchase. More importantly though, I knew she’d really enjoy the trip and I wanted there to be something special just for her, so I didn’t mind going one bit. I just didn’t know how special it would be.
Before we left, Valerie had asked me if I thought she’d meet one of the Doan women while we were there. I told her that I thought it was possible, but not very probable. I figured that they probably didn’t hang out at the stores in person much, maybe just to check in, or for special events. She agreed, so expectations were low, but hey, you never know, right?
Well. We were barely two stores in when a very nice woman walking to her car stopped to say hello and welcome us to Hamilton and MSQ. She asked Valerie if she was a quilter and chatted a little bit about the stores. It took me a moment, but my wife knew right away (as you surely do, too, reading this) that she was talking to none other than Jenny Doan herself! Valerie got a hug and a picture with Jenny, and an awesome start to her trip. Now, my wife is a very level headed person, and certainly the more mature of the two of us (although younger in years, I should add) so to see her a little bit star struck was kind of a treat for me. I don’t mean that in a negative way at all, she certainly held her composure at the time, but I could tell that she was fan-girling out hard on the inside, and she was positively giddy all day. I thought that was adorable, and it made my day to see her so happy. So thanks, Mrs. Doan, for taking a few minutes out of your day to connect with a fan.
The rest of our time in Hamilton was spent looking through stores while Valerie made mental notes of what she might want to purchase. Once the looking was done, she then had to go back to actually buy the stuff. So I decided at that point that I would play my expected role and go visit Man Land. Man Land is a space taking up the room of a small store that is made to look like a den, or Man Cave. There’s a fireplace, a large built in book case with vintage books, a few outdoor and car magazines, a pool table, some vending machines in back, and several recliners-the brown leather ones with the rivets that were all the rage in the 70’s and are shockingly still made today. Tessa and little brother Patterson decided to stay with me while sister Melody went with Mom to wrap things up.
We all found our recliners and sat down to watch the big screen TV in Man Land, which was tuned in to…not ESPN…or TCM…or even CNN or FOX NEWS…but THE HALLMARK CHANNEL. Hallmark Drama to be exact. Folks, we watched an episode of “The Waltons”, and late series “Waltons” too, after John Boy and Olivia left and Grandpa had passed, so it wasn’t even a quality episode. This one dealt with teenage Jim Bob’s crush on a slightly older, married woman, and the mess he made of all that. He introduced himself by tripping over a loose board on her porch. Heh. Classic Jim Bob.
Anyway, after the shopping was all done and Jim Bob learned his lesson, we ate lunch at a small café in town where the girls got some really good burgers and I had an average BLT. Then we were off to Kansas City!
Which I will talk about, and review the attractions we went to on the next edition of MonDAVEs. See you next week!