Nichols, Iowa Centennial Book
Nichols - Our Town - 1984
Two Faces of Nichols
Nichols, Iowa Centennial Book 1884-1984, page 103
Nick Carter wrote this for a college creative writing class.
It’s a composite of every Nichols Day.
Just another wide spot in the road. They roll the sidewalks up at five o’clock. There, unflattering comments may be heard coming from the mouths of the uninitiated, but the people of Nichols know the truth. Once a year, on Nichols Day, the town really opens up and its people, businesses and the town itself show just how friendly they actually are.
Driving into town around noon or one o’clock, motorists usually slow enough to get within the speed limit. On Nichols Day, they will probably have to stop to let the parade pass through the streets of town. The man who ordinarily hurries out to fill their tanks with gas and wash their windshields at one of the few full service stations in Iowa, is likely to be driving the fire truck in the parade. The cheerful face that insures the mail goes out on time is probably marching behind the fire truck, dressed in her Uncle Sam outfit. If a person gets to Nichols often, he’ll recognize the insurance agent driving a pony cart. The other familiar faces of this borough are still there, they just have to found in the crowd.
Most of the shopping in town is carried out behind the doors of the stores, shops, restaurant and taverns on Ijem Avenue. Today, these doors are wide open and the banners in their windows beckon the people in to sample the wares they have to offer and get to know the owners. Not only do the townsfolk put on their best faces, the town itself seems to come alive.
The band shell in the park is often visited by vandals, paint can or chalk in hand, ready to deface this proud structure of a bygone era. On this day of the year, its occupants are enjoying a cake walk or singing to an audience sitting on the lush green grass in front of it. Earlier in the day, a queen contest was held under its roof. All of these activities are much more enjoyable than the cruelty it is used to.
The fire station and its occupants stand ready to answer the shrill cry of the fire alarm 364 days a year. Today the fire trucks are setting outside while townspeople and friends enjoy a challenging game of bingo. The grade school on the outskirts of town is usually the destination of youngsters trudging off to another day in the salt mine. On this beautiful June day they are accompanied by their parents who just don’t seem to walk fast enough. Today there are games set up on the lawn and later in the afternoon there may be a balloon taking off from the ball diamond or radio controlled gliders flying by, all objects of the child’s enthusiasm.
The Nichols Knockers softball team has transformed a machinery parking lot into one of the most popular spots in town. No celebration is Iowa is complete without a roasted hog and lots of beer, both of which are available here. The church around the block, usually a very serene place, is now full of hustle and bustle as patrons enjoy a true to life homemade ice cream social. As the day quickly passes, the newcomer finds that the sidewalks don’t roll up at five o’clock this night, but that the street turns into a dance floor and the fun continues. Babysitters are imported from surrounding communities to allow all the parents of young children to join the celebration with their neighbors and friends. As the sun sets over the bluff west of town, the band is doing their warm-up routine, ready to play for a happy audience into the early morning hours.
A type of Brigadoon, this day-long party ends for another year. The fire trucks are back in the fire station, and on Monday the people will be back on the job as usual, but with the good feeling that comes from having a good time with old friends and the pleasure of making new ones.
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Page created January 19, 2011 by Lynn McCleary