The Pizza Shack

I went to college in a small Iowa town called Lamoni (pronounced LUH-MOAN-EYE).

In that town are maybe 6 places to eat, but everyone in the town knows of the Pizza Shack.


Named the Best Pizza in Iowa (in 1981), the Shack, as it is affectionately known has been owned and run by the same family, the Hamptons, for a few decades now. The Shack was there when my parents were at Graceland in the late ’60s and it is still there now, ten years after I graduated.


I worked there during my freshman, sophomore and junior years at Graceland and during those lunch shifts, I met and got to know the woman who would become my wife. I was a cook and she worked the front of the house. We got to spend a lot of time laughing and talking as we would get ready for lunch service.

I lived next door to the Shack for a year too. That was the year that Alli and I started dating. Coincidence? Probably. I remember how I used to come back from work smelling of pizza. I never tired of that smell of dough and sauce and pepperoni. The old oven, the linoleum floor, the stop light and jukebox and the old decorations all are a part of the wonderful experience and make the memory all that much richer.


If you’re ever on I-35, headed from Kansas City through Des Moines, be sure to stop in Lamoni. Just watch out for the Amish people.

90-pound lap dog

Who owns who?

One thing I love about our dog more than anything is that he’s about 90 pounds, but doesn’t allow that to keep him from snuggling with us on the couch. For whatever reason, he’s gotten into this habit of laying on top of Alli while we watch TV. Once he gets settled, it’s not too uncomfortable…that is until someone rings the doorbell and he gets up to go bark at whoever dares to enter his realm.

How we celebrated

Alli’s birthday was Saturday and as is the tradition in our family, birthdays are a weekend-long event. I took the day off Friday to get some extra celebrating in. Here’s what we did:


  • Starbucks lattes (2 pump hazelnut soy for her, 4-shot skinny cinnamon dolce for me) and cinnamon knots from Price Chopper for breakfast
  • Massages at Serenity Rejuvenating Day Spa
  • Lunch at Chipotle (obviously)
  • Catching up with Project Runway (on Lifetime! in HD!)
  • Hanging out with her family at Ashley and Tyson’s

Saturday:Alli shopping for herbs

  • Up early for Panera bagels and cinnamon rolls with her parents and some (RED) coffee from home
  • Off to the Farmer’s Market by 7:00 a.m.
  • Bought veggies, flowers, pasta, andouille sausage (for me!) at the market
  • Bought some Pain de Campagne from Fervere (thanks to Meesha for the recommendation)
  • Short nap
  • The Time Traveler’s Wife at the Fork & Screen
  • Hanging out with the fam and I made lemon cupcakes (that’s right)
  • Opened presents
  • Watched The Soloist, thanks to Ashley and Tyson


  • The leftover bagels from Panera and (RED) coffee again
  • Church
  • Lunch consisting of a good portion of what we bought at the farmer’s market, including, sweet corn, cherry tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, naan, lemon and thai basil, and the bread from Fervere.
  • A short nap
  • Great TV

Not a bad way for Alli to ring in her birthday, no?