We’re officially on lake time!
Clear Lake, IA: Cerro Gordo County
I’ve traveled to all the coasts and many of the people there know nothing about my Iowan home but ask tons of questions.
I tell them that our metro areas have some of the greatest modern experiences when it comes to art, restaurants, and entertainment, many in revitalized areas offering uniqueness you can only find in the Midwest.
I’d love to see the ocean from Big Sur, but until I get there, I’m just fine with my spot at a pioneer cemetery near Letts, IA, during the years that the fields are planted with beans on a breezy summer day, watching our version of waves crashing in.
Many have experienced the breathtaking views from mountain ranges, but not enough have stood at a high point in Southern Kansas and experienced the true imagination and wonder that only the prairie can provide.
There’s been plenty of legendary roles Hollywood has come up with and my favorites will always be Coach Norman Dale and Jimmy Chitwood and the rest of the Hickory Huskers. And the greatest sound effect in movie history is when the baseballs land in the corn off the bat of Shoeless Joe.
When folks in the Northeast are ordering buckets of steamed clams, we’re diving into a basket of breaded chicken gizzards. When the fish are flying from the mongers of Pikes Place Market in Seattle, in Minnesota, our lutefisk is diving into butter and a lot of it.
Our pasta is swimming in mayo, our salad bars have jello, our cheese squeaks, our fresh carrot sticks always taste better with a side of braunschweiger and we have a sweet tooth when it comes to our BBQ sauce.
All we need is a sturdy pine cone instead of an actual puck for quick game of pond hockey as we imagine going top shelf in overtime to beat Calgary.
The paint on our barns has an even coat, except the part around the basketball hoop.
We make cauliflower ear look good and sweaty party animals on bicycles look better in the Midwest.
The super hero culture is everywhere now but I don’t need to a theater to see them. We have heroes that develop in our urban areas who look at a neighborhood that has seen better economic times and say “Here. Here is where my sandwich shop will go. Here. Here will be the home of my art gallery. Here. Here is where my dance studio will go where I’ll teach the children of the city ballet. Here in the Midwest.”
I see heroes that could have opened a modern restaurant experience in a city of millions but chose a town of a few thousand, or hundreds, or even dozens, and I see them spark a local renaissance.
Heroes saving our history who work countless hours at our county museums keeping them open, curating, guiding tours, cleaning, and with many of them doing all this unpaid.
And then the heroes who raise the livestock and grow our crops so we can provide for our families. They worry about hay and seed prices. Spend chunks of everyday calculating time, distance, wind gusts and moisture. And somehow they get a little sleep at the end of the day. That is if they’re not up all night guarding a chicken coop.
We gallivant for all these reasons I just spoke about and many more and I won’t stop until the splendor of the Midwest runs dry. Which is never going to happen. I’m JayJay and I write about Iowa. What’s your superpower!
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