Saturday, November 30, 2013

Last Day of Iowa and Nauvoo

Our time in Iowa was almost over, but there were still some wonders in store for us. 


We both thought the prison was pretty neat looking. Lydia has a new found interest in the prison system after watching Orange is the New Black, and then being so hardcore about it that she read the book that the show is based on.

We popped across the river to Illinois to visit the town of Nauvoo. Nauvoo is best known for being the place that Joseph Smith settled his crew of Mormons. Nauvoo is also known as the place where I like to practice my Jar Jar voice. “Yousa mean we goin to da Nauvoo?” The audience loves it.

We first did a little drive by of the reconstructed temple, and then had lunch. Yay!

I picked this place solely based on its cool sign.

Next it was time to go straight into the heart of the Mormon den: the visitor center. We were greeted immediately after entering the visitor center, but Elder Whatshisface mercifully left us alone after a brief spiel. There were some interesting museum type exhibits about the early church, while others left us giggling. For example, one sign read:
Nauvoo’s charter concentrated power in the city council and municipal court. Because those elected were also Church officials, some area residents thought it mixed church and state, but there was nothing improper about such exercise of political rights.
Well then, case closed I guess. My understanding is that Joe Smith set up some sort of a strange law in Nauvoo where police from other jurisdictions couldn't arrest people without the city's approval. Coincidence would have it that Joe was wanted in Missouri for treason.

Some interesting parts of the Mormon thing are that they baptize long dead ancestors and marriage doesn’t end at death.

This was probably the best kept and staffed historical village that either of us had ever been to; And the business hours were obscenely generous. This was a Sunday and these little nonprofit historical storefronts were open until 4 or 5pm. Well, it turned out that the village really had two purposes. One seemed to be to tell the story of the people and the events that happened here, and the other was to proselytize. We stopped in at the Browning Home & Gunsmith Shop, and were greeted by a man and a woman in period dress. The guy was telling us lots of interesting things about Browning, and also showed us how they made rifles back in the day. The woman would chime in with weird religious things. It was like a good cop/bad cop situation.

Good cop.

Bad cop.

This invention was pretty cool. It was a rocking baby cradle that doubled as a butter churn.

As we were taking in the lovely view here, bad cop pointed out the baby grave in the backyard and then added that the family would be able to raise the baby in the afterlife. Thanks for the info, bad cop.

We didn't have the energy for any more awkward conversations at this point, so we moseyed.

Our last little taste of Iowa was touring a few towns in Van Buren County. The book made them sound quaint but there wasn't a heck of a lot going on. Maybe because it was a Sunday. Desperate to interact with one town I stopped in the tiny little grocery store for no reason in particular. The cashier asked us if we were from the area, and after we replied in the negative she added: “yeah, because I pretty much know everyone who lives here”. It was pretty funny at the time, asking a question that she admittedly already knew the answer to. Maybe you had to be there. I was. So there. Iowa.

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