Thursday, March 28, 2013

Shades of tan soon to be replaced—we hope

American Gothic House Center
It appears that spring might well be here. The temperature has become tolerable, there is an absence of chill in the air and the birds have been singing of a morning. It’s about time, after all April is across the street.

Although slow in coming, I prefer a spring such as the one we’ve had. I like to back into the season, having it approach gradually as opposed to a winter coat one day and shorts the next. Last year was a prime example of this and what can happen if spring comes too quickly and early.

As you may recall, last March ushered in 80-plus degree days causing flowers to bloom early, farmers to plant crops weeks before normal and, worst of all, required homeowners such as myself to mow the grass. As far as I am concerned there should be a Congressional mandate prohibiting lawn mowing before April.

Then we all know what happened after the early spring—heat and lots of it. In fact the ensuing summer was one of the hottest on record. The only good that came out of it was the lawn mower went in storage for July, August and most of September. To borrow from a clichĂ©, every cloud does have its silver lining.

Although I favor spring to approach slowly, this year I am particularly looking forward to it as the Center needs color. Over the winter I have been struck with the beauty of the American Gothic House and the adjacent Center covered with a blanket of snow with all color absent. Snow somehow transforms these two buildings into safe, peaceful, and warm places that project an image fit for canvas. However, between snows all that can be observed are shades of tan.

Tan works well in the warm months when it is offset by green grass, vibrant hues from the wildflowers and heavy green leaves on the trees. But after the leaves fall and the wildflowers go dormant all that remain are shades of tan. The buildings are a light tan, the mulch in the wildflower garden is a darker shade of tan, the rocks that surround the Center are varying shades of tan and the grass—also dormant—is yet another shade of tan. Unless you are a fan of khaki clothing this is a lot of tan.

Speaking of khaki, my first dress uniform in the Army was the summer khakis. It remained my favorite uniform long after it was taken out of service in the mid-1980s. What made it appealing wasn’t the khaki coloring itself, it was the way the color of the accompanying accoutrements—medals, the crisp yellow stripes of rank outlined with green, the service medals pinned over the left pocket and the black name tape over the right virtually gleamed against the neutral hue of the uniform. It looked sharp. It reminds me of the house and Center in spring, summer and fall.

In the cold months the buildings are tall soldiers outfitted with crisp, starched uniforms ready for inspection. But as any soldier that has stood an inspection knows, the uniform—sans accoutrements—is like a painting, the blank canvas of which the artist applies the color to make the whole. In the soldier’s case the color is the stripes earned, the ribbons awarded, the unit patch, the shiny black name tag. Once these are applied the uniform—and the soldier—becomes whole.

Such as it is here at the American Gothic House Center, the buildings are the blank canvas. The color is the trees, flowers and visitors with their summer clothing posing in front of the house for a photo in their own period uniforms. It makes the place complete and brings a smile to the observer’s face. It’s a good place to be.

Remember, the first annul Easter Egg Roll at “our White House”—actually tan—will be held Saturday from 1 to 3 pm. In the form of eggs and children the grounds of the Center will come alive with much-needed color. It’s about time.

Brian Chambers
Media Coordinator
American Gothic House Center

The American Gothic House Center strives to become financially independent through gift shop revenue, sponsorships, and by establishing an endowment fund. Funds raised in this campaign will be used to match the Iowa Cultural Trust Endowment Challenge Grant and will become endowment funds to support the Center's annual operations. As a subscriber to the weekly newsletter, you have already shown support for the American Gothic House Center. I invite you to strengthen your role in the valuable experience we provide the community by making a contribution to our fund drive. Click here to give your tax deductible gift, or head to our website for more information. Thank you to all who have donated so far!
        Our Mission: Integrating the puzzle pieces of American Gothic
300 American Gothic St | Eldon, IA 52554 | 641-652-3352 |

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