Tuesday, May 24, 2022

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At Home With

Joyce Button


With a laugh and a twinkle in her eye, family, friends, horses and flowers fill Button’s life with joy.

A sign marks the entrance to the Button
ranch with a wish for you as you leave.
Photo by Marsha Fisher

The Buttons, Sterlings and Dyes have lived in the Dallas County area for six generations. Joyce Button still owns part of her parents’ farm off the Woodward Road. She and her late husband, Nick, settled north of Adel on 35 acres, where Joyce still lives.

“I love everything about living here: my brick home near family, the land and my neighbors,” says Joyce.

Joyce’s son, Monty, and his wife, Becky, live in Adel, with Joyce’s grandchildren and great-grandchildren, Julia and Louis, living nearby. Monty has built a cabin and shelter house near the farm pond at the back of the property, and it is the focus of the “God and Country Day” they have every August to celebrate their blessings. The story of Joyce and Nick Button is one of love, luck and horses.

The beginning of Joyce’s long tree-lined drive is defined by a distinctive sign swinging between the top of two tall posts decorated with iron wagon wheels and metal silhouettes of two horses. The sign says, “The Button Hole,” which is a subtle indication of the humor and fun the couple has had in their life.

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“It was horses that brought us together,” chuckles Joyce. “All my life, all I ever wanted was to have a horse. My father had farmed with horses, and when he got his tractor, he was done with the work of having horses. But, I used to ride with a girlfriend at her grandpa’s farm, and, by a stroke of luck, when the boarder of a horse died, he left the horse to me.”

Joyce, her mother and sister convinced her father to bring the horse to the farm, and Joyce delighted in riding her black American Saddlebred, Dixie Lee McDonald.

After high school, while working at the Polk County Savings and Loan in Des Moines, Joyce was in Adel and saw Nick Button, who worked as a mail carrier, riding by on a “very pregnant horse.” She scolded him for riding such a pregnant horse, and, a few weeks later, a birth announcement came to her house noting the birth of a 90-pound foal. Joyce responded by sending Nick a gift — a small gold bag filled with oats and a sugar cube. They started dating and soon were married with Dixie coming to the stable to join Nick’s horse, Lucky. Nick and Joyce continued
to ride all of their married lives and later enjoyed riding their Spanish-bred Paso Fino horses named Lou and Saltar. The love of horses has been manifested in their daughter, Nicki Jo Button, who lives near Mingo and has five horses. She is the president of the Saddle Club of Iowa and has ridden the hi-point horse two years in a row. Joyce, who was born in 1938, still rides nearly every weekend with her daughter in the fall after the horse shows are finished for the season.

“We usually ride down on the trails near Red Rock Reservoir; it’s a nice day trip,” says Joyce, with a wide, happy smile.

Joyce’s home reflects her love of animals and horses. Her constant companion is Peppy, a Pomeranian, and, occasionally, her “granddog,” Brody, that belongs to her daughter, Nicki Jo, who often travels with her job. Wide, floor-to-ceiling windows and a sliding door provide a view of a beautiful garden scene from her spacious living room, where she observes the hummingbirds and many other birds in winter at their feeders. Unique, decorative animal figures surround her gardens, with many stone ducks and pigs assembled and painted by Joyce joining the
zoological park. An open kitchen with breakfast bar, first-floor laundry, two baths and bedrooms complete the comfortable ranch home with geothermal heat. Nearby is the barn, where Joyce cares for Mocha, one of her daughter’s horses that can’t be ridden.

“We don’t put down our animals when they don’t serve a purpose; we love and care for them,” says Joyce, with a twinkle of love in her eyes.

As you leave the Button Hole, you are reminded of the Buttons’ philosophy. “Happy trails to you” is painted on the back of the sign to wish you well on your journey. ♦

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