I would like to share with you my close to home adventures this past month (October 2022). It was fun to get "OUT AND ABOUT" before the cold winter sets in.

Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.(ESV) (Psalm 19:14)                           

OCTOBER 09: Governor Kim Reynolds ordered all flags in our state to half staff in honor of National Fallen Firefighters Day. My comment: Maybe we should extend that to all public safety, military and health care providers who died in the line of duty.

Views of a Farm Boy--Dedicated to promote Iowa agriculture and Iowa values. Robert Vaughn--Urbandale, Iowa  EMAIL:

OCTOBER 01: (Left) What a good way to start my month--and my day! I was out for my morning walk and these two guys greeted me as they stood by a local business. . We Iowans love Cy and Herky. Well-most of the time! If the two teams are playing each other we take sides for the day. This isn't the best year for our Iowa football teams, but we stick by them, win or lose.

OCTOBER 01-31: (Right) Every day that is nice enough for a walk, I sit on the same bench for a break before starting home. What you see here, is what I see every day.  I love the brick streets, old clock and the locally owned shops in this area.

OCTOBER 04:  Zoo baby--it's a boy! Baby giraffe, Bakari, was born to Blank Park Zoo parents Zola and Jakobi, September 06, 2022. Baby Bakari led a sheltered life--until today--when he accepted visitors for the very first time. You can be sure, when they opened the door, I was there. Welcome Bakari! You are a perfect edition to our Blank Park Zoo family!


OCTOBER 06:  Talk about timing! I arrived at the Oakridge Neighborhood the very minute mural artist, Jill Wells (right), pulled up to put the finishing touches on this beautiful apartment wall mural. This is more than a pretty painting--there is a story here! Jill's artwork (I call it a masterpiece) is in memory of Yore Jieng, son of Sudanese parents, who was killed by a stray bullet in October, 2016. There are legal refugees from over 25 countries in the Oakridge area. The foliage, depicted in this painting, represents many of these countries. Yore's death remains an unsolved mystery, but I think there is a lesson here for every one of us. This very visible work of art in the Oakridge Neighborhood reminds us to love and support all of our refugee friends as they struggle to become Americans--you know--just like us..

OCTOBER 09-15: National Firefighters Week was first introduced exactly 100 years ago in 1922 to commemorate the Great Chicago Fire. Here it is, a century later, and the Des Moines Fire Department carries on the tradition in the parking lot of the Franklin Library. Here they are--reminding the children and parents the importance of fire safety.

OCTOBER 16: (L) A random runner crossing the finishing line at the IMT Des Moines Marathon. This is a beautiful fall day for a marathon--but I tricked you. This is a lead in to a memory story.  I started running at age 48. I soon discovered I wasn't an elite runner, but still pretty good for my age. I was soon doing road races, including 13 marathons. The highlight of my running career was the Boston Marathon at age 58. I was one of 8000 runners and Jeannine was one of 1,000,000 spectators--we both thought we were important numbers in that equation. But, today wasn't about me. It was about the new generations carrying on this great athletic adventure.

OCTOBER 30:  This is what I call "a something to celebrate" occasion. Today, October 30, is National Candy Corn Day. When I was a little farm boy, candy corn was a special treat. My parents did all of their grocery shopping locally at Garrison's Grocery in Anthon. When the clerk sacked the groceries he always included a surprise for us kids. I think my favorite was when he used his big metal scoop to dip up a bag of candy corn. I guess I was trying to relive my boyhood days when I searched the supermarket for this special gourmet food. Times have changed--no candy bins, no metal scoop, but this prepackaged product looked a lot the same as it did in 1936. No surprise that my tastes have changed and it is no longer my favorite sweet treat. But one thing has not changed--my fond memories of my growing up years and my appreciation of the simple things in life--Yes--even candy corn.

OCTOBER 21-23: The fall Alpaca Spectacular at the Iowa State Fairgrounds lived up to its name. It was spectacular indeed! Not the common farm animal--this species of ungulates has toes instead of hooves. They were gentle animals and seemed to like me. That cuts both ways--I know I liked them. Yes, I went out of curiosity, but now I can add the alpaca to my list of farm animal friends.

OCTOBER 20: (R) Ribbon cutting and grand opening for the new Joppa Thriftmart at 2324 Euclid. I was there when the doors opened.This is a beautiful new store packed to the brim with new and gently used items. Just think--when you shop here you may very well be providing food or survival needs for a homeless person right here in our area. What a blessing for them--and for you!            

OCTOBER 25: I visited Blank Park Zoo just 3 weeks ago to say "hello" to the new baby giraffe, Bakari. I  had to return today to say "goodbye" to his older brother, Raza. Things change, even in the animal world. This is the last day to visit Raza. He is being relocated to another zoo. We are going to miss this guy, but how could he pass up a promotion?