vacation in the mid-west and Iowa in particular

The Autumn is my favorite time of the year because  I enjoy the crisp, clean air and the multi-colored landscape.  I drove 3113 miles round trip touring the great mid-west and Iowa in particular.  I was gone 10 days and just got back last night.  I spent all of my money so I must have had a good time, right? 

The end of October is pretty cool, literally… the temperature difference between here, (sunny S.W. Fla.) and yonder (the mid-west) was easily 50 degrees… and they haven’t even had any snow yet!  There were days when you couldn’t see the sun though you could see your breath.  Your brain was so numb you didn’t know if the frost was on the pumpkin or the pumpkin was in the frosty.  And winter isn’t officially there until December?  Brr…

While I was travelling I saw mounds of pumpkins that you could mow down with an AK47 just like in the movie, “Mr. Majestik”.  There were tall, scraggly looking rows of corn that had defied (though only momentarily) the thrasher while nearby fields were already plucked, shucked, laid to rest and awaiting their winter blanket.  I passed many farms with silos that stood silent sentry and storage buildings huddled together under the evening shadow of grandfatherly looking patchwork barns.  There were large houses nestled in between that I imagined thriving, robust families settling into for the joy of October’s harvest.   I read the names of towns like Hookdale and Dudleyville off of Illinois highway 127 and wondered if I could write a country song using them as a back drop. 

“do do do dee do dee do…  she came from Hookdale not Dudleyville but I loved her then and always will… shoo shoo she wah, shoo shoo she wah, this boy’s from Illinois..”  (well, maybe not)

My family and friends treated me like a celebrity (which was not very hard to take.)  All those memories of long ago come rushing back when you are faced with a cousin you haven’t seen in 30 years or an uncle that you favored as a youngster.  Ofcourse,  I drove past the old school, visited the neighborhood and wondered what happened to the girls I fell in love with…  But there is something about being from the mid-west and Iowa in particular that never leaves you… the sense of a prodigal son coming home again.

Sometimes we are transplanted by the choices we have made in life and while the pathways lead to certain successes or styles, cultural differences and attitudes the roots remain firmly in place.  I am reminded of that every time I go and visit my hometown.  I see the changes as I walk the streets and feel the familiarity in the passing of shop windows and look back at the reflection that looks back at me.  It is odd thinking this pavement will survive long after I am gone, that others will tread where I have and maybe venture out into the world.  Perhaps they yearn for adventure or just an escape like I once did.  

It has been said that you can never return home again but I don’t think that is true.  Sure, things change, people change, you and I change.  But home, that sense of returning to an area and a people from long ago doesn’t change inside of you.  It is a feeling that refreshes itself each time I return, assures me that my heart is true and tells me this is where I belong…

especially in the mid-west and Iowa in particular.

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