In this article I will be sharing just a bit about growing up in the upper Midwest. It’s amazing to me how many transplanted Midwesterners actually reside right here in the beautiful Texas Hill Country! Just as the South has qualities that make it unique from other parts of the United States, Iowa has its own interesting, unique details. So bear with me, dear readers, as I share a bit about being a Midwestern woman.
I must confess that I could not have cared less about football until I watched the Iowa Hawkeyes play in the Orange Bowl last week on television. It was a shivering 47 degrees the night they played against which team I cannot recall. It just didn’t matter except to see the Hawkeyes win. And win they did! It was the first bowl game they’d won since the 1950s so I know folks back home in Iowa City were celebrating, even though it was only three degrees in Iowa City that night.
Iowa is an interesting place; linguistics in particular are fascinating to me. In Iowa, you’re likely to go to the “crik” rather than the “creek” to “warsh” your clothes, not ‘wash” them. And when someone says “thank you”, you’re likely to say “you betcha” with the emphasis on the “cha” part of betcha. People up there speak with a toned-down dialect like you’d hear in the movie Fargo. If you’ve seen that movie then you know what I’m talking about.
Iowa is a place where the differences in seasons are extremely obvious; right now the cornfields are resting under a couple feet of snow. Last week I spoke with a dear friend who told me that it was three degrees above zero but only two schools were closed as a result of the weather. I used to live 6 blocks from my place of employment when I lived in Iowa City and remember walking to work in those kinds of temperatures, made you beat a hasty path with purpose in your steps!
My favorite time of year when I lived in Iowa still was March because that’s when the robins came back to the state. When they are able to extract earthworms from the ground, spring is not far from making its presence known.
You never forget where you come from, even if you’d like to or completely happy where you are. I love Texas but will always remember where I came from. Here’s a short prose piece about my roots:
surrounded by corn and bean fields
rivers snaking toward the south
culminating in the muddy Mississippi
you say “please” and “thank you”
respect your elders
cheer for your high school football team.
Painted sunsets adorned by the hand of God
two are never the same,
blistering cold winters with heckling crows lining tree tops.
wild turkeys skittering across the highways
wary travelers alert for deer large enough to take on semi trucks.
The sturdy trees
oak, hickory, walnut and elm
strong and proud
under the prairie sky.
People who still blush at compliments
mean what they say
and work hard to achieve dreams
steadfast in wisdom
Amish families with buggies and horses
blonde haired, blue eyed children with their toenails painted pink.
selling handmade baskets along the road side during pleasant spring days.
walks along the Iowa River
college students milling about,
and life goals needing to be met.
love and loss
resurrection of hope
and moving away
with roots still intact
carrying them wherever I go.