Dengler Domain: Saint Wenceslaus


During the seldom off times of harvest this last fall, exploring Tama County was a goal. One hidden gem I finally visited on a rainy day was the Saint Wenceslaus Church and cemetery west of Clutier. Until a year or two ago, I never knew this place existed despite spending plenty of time in Clutier as a youth.

This may not be the case for everyone, but country cemeteries are one of the most peaceful places to visit. In addition to being a place of grieving and remembrance, they can also be tranquil. It was a trip down memory lane driving to the cemetery. As I drove through Clutier past the main street of so many days spent there at the Clutier Fun Days/Bohemian Plum Festival and by the legion hall where I spent many celebrations or by the road my family turned to visit my grandma, it was a comforting feeling. Finally, I drove on the loose gravel hills west of Clutier where I was thankful to have my Nissan Rogue and not my Ford Focus.

With a slight drizzle hitting the windshield as I turned off the car, I got out and heard my favorite sound, nothing. Nothing at all. Then finally I started to hear cows mooing in the distance, the standard sound of rural Iowa. These cows could have been a mile or five miles away, but it did not matter. It was oddly relaxing, yet this was not the best part.

The view past the cemetery is the definition of a picturesque landscape. The rolling hills, the green countryside, and everything in between. It was nature’s beauty taking hold tucked out past a small rural town. If there was a place to get lost in the beauty, this was the location to do it. Combine the sound with the view, and it felt like one escaped from civilization and found a small nirvana.

In addition to the views was the quaint church setting as the focal point for the cemetery. No matter the spot in the cemetery one was, the small country church served as a focal point. To envision this church when it was active every Sunday many years ago was thought to ponder. Seeing it is still in adequate shape for being a relic of the past is always a good sign.

The last part of the visit was walking through the cemetery and recognizing all the names from the past. All the last names stood out to me as I went to school with many relatives of those who are laid to rest. These people deserve the peace of eternal rest. If one visits to see the beauty of this location, be respectful and take in the church and cemetery. The past is always connected with the present. While I have zero Catholic bones in my body, visiting Saint Wenceslaus was worth the experience. It may have taken me too long to hear about and visit, but it is an experience I will not forget.