The title of this version of “Quick Questions” is more accurately, “Quick Questions, Long Discussions!” There are a few quick short responses, but there was sharing and discussion beyond the series of quick questions, followed by rapid note-taking to capture that response—all the better for Cheri and me and hopefully ThePerryNews readers as well.
Cheri Tice Schieb moved to Perry when she was eleven years old—54 years ago—from Creston when her dad had accepted a job as the manager of Walnut Grove Feed. Cheri and her husband, Kent, have two children—Blake in Arizona and Kelli in Van Meter—and four grandsons whom she adores.
“I was meant to be a grandma,” beams Cheri.
They’ve had Manx cats for years and had dogs in the past.
“I’ve scraped a lot of our pet cats off of 141,” laments Cheri. (Darn independent cats and vehicles on Highway 141.)
She has a lot of irons in the fire. She’s been a member of the Nudgers for years, which she absolutely loves and encourages anyone to join.
“You just have to want to improve Perry,” she said. “You don’t need to know about construction.” As stated on their website, the Nudgers Inc. is dedicated to fostering the development of low-income housing and the preservation of historic buildings in and around Perry.
She continually volunteers her time and provides resources to do anything she can to help build Perry. She both loves doing it and truly enjoys seeing the town grow and improve.
“Don’t sit back and complain,” she professes. “Be involved. I’ll promote Perry until I die.”
Laura: Name a song you could listen to on “repeat” for forever.
Cheri: Anything by Elvin Bishop. We have become friends with Elvin (member of both the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the Blues Hall of Fame) over the last few years. I adore that guy.
It’s so hard to narrow your selection to one song to listen to. (Cheri also considered “Let It Be,” by the Beatles and “Sweet Child of Mine” by Guns N’ Roses along with “O, Holy Night” before settling on adored friend Elvin Bishop.)
Laura: App on your phone that you use the most.
Cheri: Lots of texting and calling.
Laura: What’s your favorite thing to do in Perry?
Cheri: Everything there is to do around Perry I like to do. I go to every event I possibly can. I can’t narrow that down. People don’t look hard enough or look outside the box.
The farmer’s market I love, love, love. I love going to the Tin Pig, love going to the hotel, adore the Cellar. I love all the restaurants. I love shopping, Friday Fest, Perry Perk—just so many things.
Laura: If you won a free vehicle of your choice. What vehicle would you choose?
Cheri: 1956 aqua-colored Thunderbird.
Laura: What’s the longest bike ride you’ve taken to, through or from Perry?
Cheri: I’ve ridden to Dawson. I love to ride when I get a chance. I work on things to do with the bike trail. (Cheri spends a lot of time promoting and championing the trail and is responsible for the popular Big Bike art piece at First and Willis.)
Laura: What’s your favorite exercise?
Cheri: I’ve done a weightlifting class for 19 years and with the same four girls for about eight years. And I absolutely love pickleball.
Laura: If you had to take a tourist one place in the Perry area, where would you take the person?
Cheri: First place, the hotel. It gets people to come and stay and spend money in Perry ‘cause they are out looking around town. Second, the Carnegie (the Carnegie Library Museum). Third, Soumas Court and the arches and all that. Fourth, just walk them through the downtown street and show them around downtown—I love doing that. Then branch out into the parks.
Laura: What do you wish you really understood about Perry?
Cheri: I’ve gained a lot of knowledge by listening to stories about Perry, such as the public event the other night–Reawakening History by Telling Our Own Stories: Work. I’d like to be more involved in the Hispanic culture—know more.
Laura: What one thing would you like to see happen in Perry that hasn’t happened yet?
Cheri: The bike trail connected to the High Trestle Trail. It will bring in people and make Perry a hub of two major bike trails.
Laura: Favorite Perry comfort food?
Cheri: Tacos from the taco truck by the foundry and theater popcorn.
Laura: When people come to Perry for the first time, what do you think surprises them the most?
Cheri: Our old buildings. Many people come to the Big Bike and don’t realize the unique features of our buildings downtown. I like to show them—capitalize on it.
Laura: What’s the one thing that you really wish all Perryites understood about you personally?
Cheri: I was a super shy child up until probably 15—really shy. I wouldn’t say anything. I was afraid to look at people. I got in trouble in fourth grade for not looking at the teacher. I’m not that way at all now.
Laura: Name one of your hidden talents or interests that may surprise people.
Cheri: I was a quilter for years and years after taking a class from Pat Mundy. I won first place in a national quilting contest for So-Fro Fabrics in 1992. I then entered it in the State Fair in 1993 and won a first-place ribbon. “All Across America” was the name of the contest. The name of the quilt (a wall hanging) was “America the Beautiful Definitely Not Flat.” It had a lot of appliques—probably 90% handsewn. In the middle was Columbus’ ship falling off the flat ocean. There were musical notes of “America the Beautiful” around the outside, and the quilt was designed to match the words. It was published in So-Fro magazine, which went out in newspapers across the U.S., and used as an advertisement for the company. I won $1,000. When I quit doing quilting, I went to painting people’s homes, which was like quilting. I like having color in my life and both quilting and painting do that.
Laura: What was your favorite thing to do on the playground when you were a kid?
Cheri: Probably swinging as high as I possibly could and then jumping out of the swing.
Laura: Favorite Iowa day trip?
Cheri: We go to northeastern Iowa at least once a summer and drive along the Mississippi River and go to Clayton (population 50), which sets right on the Mississippi River. Just beautiful. Balltown is gorgeous. Guttenberg is unique and beautiful. You drive down through Clayton and have bluffs on either side. It’s a little village with a 1905-look to it—like “Little House on the Prairie,” like stepping back in time. The Claytonian Bed and Breakfast has train tracks next to it between you and the river. Cool little town. Two restaurant/bars in a town of 50.
Laura: What book changed your life?
Cheri: Going to the Lutheran Home and reading to my mom. Right now, I’m reading her a book about Jim Zabel—his life–and it is fun. Mom has enjoyed it. (Zabel was a radio and television sports broadcaster on WHO in Iowa for decades.)
Lately, I read a book about organizing and becoming a minimalist. I loved it. It’s supposed to be a simple process (if you don’t have ADD (attention deficit disorder), added Cheri with a laugh).
I really need to take time for reading books. I’d rather read something shorter—newspaper and magazine articles are more my thing, such as the Des Moines Register, New York Times, the Atlantic).
Laura: What is the best TV show of all time?
Cheri: “Schitt’s Creek.” I adored the characters. The actors couldn’t have been better chosen for their roles. Absolutely loved the series. Hated for it to end. Loved “Grace and Frankie,” too, but “Schitt’s Creek” is my all time favorite. It’s a diverse set of circumstances that hit upon things going on in the world today.
Laura: Motto/saying/rule to live by.
Cheri: I always said to the kids, “If you’re bored, you’re not being creative.” For Perry, it’s “Pride and possibilities in Perry” because that’s true. We’ve seen stuff happen that we didn’t think would happen. I’m very excited about the things going on—Nudgers, etc. I’m all about helping people.
Laura: What is the strangest thing you have ever eaten?
Cheri: Bob Scheib, my father-in-law, showed me a pot of boiling water with beef tongue in it. (To make it worse, it was sadly from her favorite on the farm, Charlie. Cheri adamantly declined this strange food item.) I had alligator down in Florida and kind of enjoyed that.
Laura: Share an item on your bucket list.
Cheri: I’d love to go to Sweden. Love to go to Italy, too.
Laura: Person you’d most like to meet.
Cheri: I’d love to have talked with RBG (lawyer and Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg). I’d love to have spoken to her. She was so genuine and for so much goodness in women and supportive of women. (Cheri’s met Pete Buttigieg (he knows her as “Cheri from Perry”) and President Biden.)
Thanks, Cheri, for all you do as Perry’s passionate, out-spoken, hard-working, dedicated and ‘til-death-do-we-part promoter, marketer, ambassador and spokesperson extraordinaire! RBG would be proud.
Perryites, heed Cheri’s words and seek out and enjoy all that Perry has to offer not only this summer, but year-round.
(What’s the longest bike ride I’ve taken to, through or from Perry? I biked about 40 miles from Perry to Valley Junction in West Des Moines (going through Minburn, Dallas Center, and Van Meter) on Day 3 of RAGBRAI 2013—the year Hairball was unable to perform in Perry due to the storm raging through.)
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