Viet and I were invited to a wedding last Saturday. It was held at the top of Four Mounds in Dubuque, right along the northern bluff overlooking the Mississippi River. It was hot and miserably humid that day but that did not deter from the short, touching ceremony for Lauren & Bryson. An outdoor reception followed, where we were seated with a woman who I later learned I graduated high school with (!?!?!). After sunset and a few glasses of Sangria, most of the 40 or so attendees hit the dance floor. Hours past, drinks and Scratch cupcakes were consumed, I alternated between the dance floor and various groups of guests conversing in the darkness to a brief stint behind the DJ table. By midnight a storm front finally rolled in, bringing a much-welcomed cool breeze but requiring us to secure the sides to the outdoor tent and move the beer coolers into the side porch of the Grey House, where several of us continued our meandering discussions into the wee hours of the morning. I made friends with college students from China and Scotland and an RA from Kenya, and around 4 a.m. I finally dozed off in the foyer on a leather couch six inches shorter than myself. We were provided a catered hot breakfast the following morning, then gathered our things and left town.
What stayed with me most, aside from the personal connections, was the beauty of Four Mounds and the Grey House. An excellent B&B that reminds me of what the Mandalay *could* be if the current landlords would invest some serious money and time into the major renovations needed to bring it up to snuff. Since that probably won’t happen anytime soon, the next best thing is to visit Four Grounds and envision that scenic beauty transposed in Cedar Falls.