The Mump Truck

The Mump Truck, on Highway 34 by New London, now has blanket flowers instead of golden mums.

The “Mump Truck” (mums + dump truck) is now spilling over with blanket flowers. You may recall last fall the beautiful display of golden mums pouring out of the ‘48 Chevy dump truck, along Highway 34, outside of New London. It was a gorgeous sight, rapidly becoming a landmark, and many people stopped to inquire about the story behind the mum display and to take pictures. Brad Heald, owner of Heald Trucking, had built the display of mums for his daughter, Coral, who was getting married at the trucking site. Nice wedding gift. The old dump truck was the original truck for the trucking company owned by Brad’s father.

Well, mums don’t winter over so well, especially planted in the shallow dirt of the Mump Truck. It was disappointing to motorists passing by, used to seeing the golden mums that reminded them of a bridal train. Brad was prepared for this. He, the ever creative truck driver/artist (“I’ve got big dreams, man!”), had the mums replaced with blanket flowers. They look like a blanket. They’re not as eye catching as the golden mums, but the blanket flowers spread out more, are more perennial, so they won’t die off over the winter, and flower throughout the season. Kudos to Brad Heald for adding beauty along Highway 34.

Speaking of beauty, our finches are gone! One day mobbing our four feeders, their gold and black feathers (like the golden mums above) flashing in the sun, the next day gone. Kaput. Ginnie and I had grown so used to their antics—hanging upside down to feed, and competing with each other for perch space—that it’s rather lonely now looking out the window. We had been wondering if we were doing the right thing by feeding them, thereby keeping them here when they should be migrating. Question answered. They didn’t even peck at the window to say goodbye, or to say thanks for the thistle seed. At least we know we fed them good before their long flight south. Strange, however—they left on a September day that was approaching 90 degrees. I wonder if they know something we don’t—like it’s going to be another tough winter. Hmm. Maybe we should head south, too?

On Labor Day Ginnie and I took the Gator to Van Buren County for another sightseeing adventure. We had a nice ride through Shimek State Forest, then another jaunt from Farmington to Croton. There’s a quaint Civil War display at Croton that represents the furthest north that cannon balls were fired from across the river at Athens, Missouri. We picnic lunched along the Des Moines River then headed back to Farmington. While we were loading the gator onto the trailer, a lady came up and invited us to a barbecue and music shindig that Farmington was putting on that evening. However, it was still early and it would be a long wait until the event started. Then another lady came up and extended the same invitation. No, we didn’t need to bring anything, just ourselves, there was plenty for all. Hmm. We could relax on the front porch of Porch Time B & B nearby, and wait until evening. Which we did. Elizabeth and David Collins, owners of the B & B, even gave us a tour. How nice. We found some chips and dip at the nearby Casey’s and joined the gathering for food, fun and Farmington friendliness. The desserts were to die for. I ate just to the point before hurt’n. (I’m getting wiser in my old age.) The music from The Band With No Name (I’m not kidding) was wonderful. What a Labor Day celebration!

We headed home full, tired and amazed at the bounty of Van Buren County.

Have a good story? Call or text Curt Swarm in Mt. Pleasant at 319-217-0526, email him at curtswarm@yahoo.com.

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