October 1, 2013

In and Out of the Quad-Cities – Girl Power on the Road

Contributed by Gail McPike and Toni Hall

Girl Power on the Road

Let’s start off sometime back in the days of Kennedy’s Camelot. The drab white walls around us are littered with an assortment of yellow lined paper and teacher created bulletin boards heralding the launch of the second year of elementary school. Our teacher, a lovely lady clad in her finest schoolmarm finery, is outlining the lofty goals of second grade success. The other kids, with the possible exception of little Johnny who regularly gets marched to the principal’s office, listen attentively, soaking in the nuances of properly pronouncing Tom, Jane and Flip (the faithful K-9 friend). Yet, we fidgeted in our seats, our minds a million miles from improving our enunciation.

Why the unladylike twiddling? We were, after all, typically the teacher’s trophy pupils. But on this day way back when, we were antsy with anticipation of the biggest social event of our seven short years – the big sleep over. This promised to be the major event of the second grade social season. Our limited vocabulary couldn’t possibly produce the proper adjectives to describe the level of coolness associated with the event just hours away.

This event must have touched a deep seated nerve in our tiny seven year old psyche. The comradery of girls on the loose touches today the same as it did a half century (or so) ago. Thelma and Louise, Laverne and Shirley, and Mary (Tyler Moore) and Rhoda all illustrate the coolness of gal pals searching for adventure. And while we dearly love our set of Current Trophy Husbands – Phil and Frank, in our minds, nothing is cooler than a girl’s outing.

As we dash from our home office to submit this journalistic masterpiece to the not so patiently waiting editorial staff of 50+ Lifestyles, we’re creating to do’s for our next girl’s getaway. For the men reading – and you know who you are – this might answer a few of the great mysteries of life.

Most of you know, our Miss Toni shares her heart with our lovely Quad-Cities and California. She spent most of her adult life out in the Golden State and followed the cupid to Iowa when she married CTH Phil over a decade ago. This means gal pals on the shores of the Sacramento and Mississippi Rivers.

Recently, she visited a group of girl friends in California, came home for 46 hours and joined Gail for their annual trip to the Wisconsin Sheep and Wool show in Jefferson, Wisconsin. Sponsored by the Wisconsin Sheep Breeders Co-op, this is ground-zero for all things wool in Wisconsin (and surrounding states).

This is our third year to make the trip, and we are getting the lay of the land. Expert research allowed us to scoop a great deal on a Jacuzzi equipped room. We packed our coolers full of all the right kinds of “snacking materials,” loaded up a few projects, and took off for Wisconsin. Ever on the prowl for cool things to do, Toni managed to grab up some tickets to dinner and a play in nearby Fort Atkinson, Wisconsin. Allow us to digress…The Fireside Theatre.

About the same time we were doing our first girly gathering, the Klopcic family was building a pyramid-shaped restaurant up in Fort Atkinson. They named it The Fireside because there was a cozy fireplace in the center. People drove from miles around to soak in the restaurant’s food and charm. The place grew and turned into a bit of a tourist destination. In the 70s, the owners started up an intimate theatre in a building next door. The Fireside Theatre was born.

We know a thing or two about dinner theatres. The Quad Cities’ own Circa 21 is world class (Author’s note to self – get tickets for next play). So when we say this one is good, we mean darned good. The historic charm of Fort Atkinson is worth seeing, too. And, a bit of trivia, Fort Atkinson shares roots with the QCA. Built as a fort during the Blackhawk Wars, it too is located on the Rock River. You could get there via canoe, but we recommend a car.

Time and ink are in short supply. It’s time for our next girl trip adventure. Gail’s silver grey ‘girlmobile’ has new shoes (thanks to the good folks at Tires Plus), the suitcases are almost packed and the snacks need to be made. We’re about to go pick up our good friends Elaine and Cathy in Des Moines, and head to the Ozarks. Girl trips aren’t our life, but they definitely make the Top 10.

Happy October, Happy Halloween and did we mention, Gail won Best of Show in Wisconsin. Girl Power!

Filed Under: Community, Humor