Letter #113: The Corn Fed State

January 21, 2011

Dear Iowa,

You have been an adventure. You are now the second state I’ve been able to knock off my never been to list this week, but good night, we could have picked a better week for my introduction. You are cold. I’m not sure I’ll ever claim Oklahoma to be cold again. On a normal basis, you are single digit temperatures. I experienced this, but with the wind chill you were in the negatives. I’m not sure I was able to feel my feet the entire time we crossed paths. The good news is I survived.

Upon introduction, I knew nothing about you. Now that we’ve built some credibility, I’ve decided you’re known for a few things. HyVee. I’ve heard stories about this place from my ‘northern’ friends, which meant I had to stop to see the greatness for myself. The South has Publix, the rich have Whole Foods and the North has HyVee for grocery shopping.

Cold and snow. I expected you to be cold, but I never expected -20 degrees like you were last night. The difference is your people know how to handle this stuff. Kids still get recess. They just wear their snowsuits to school. People can feel their feet because they wear appropriate shoes and socks unlike me. Roads are cleared efficiently and your people actually know how to drive unlike Oklahoma where all hell breaks loose if there is even talk of possible snow. Also, if it snows in Branson or Oklahoma, it melts after a few days to a week. This is not the case here. It never warms up enough.

Politics. Who knew you were such an important state for this? You are the state where the second political caucus occurs. Therefore, political candidates, specifically presidential, visit you often. Whether this is good or bad is personal preference I guess, but you seem to be a far bigger deal than I anticipated.

(Bucket list: to try all cheesecakes at The Cheesecake Factory…another one bites the dust with my friend Jess!)

Good people. Man, I can’t explain how many neat families we met along the way. I even got to spend good time with an old kamp friend! They all have positive attitudes about the cold and have the ability to instantly make you feel at home. I didn’t expect them to be rude, but I didn’t expect them to have quite as much of a good ‘ole boy feel either. I guess that’s what happens when you’re corn fed…this also seemed to result in good basketball players.

You definitely weren’t at the top of my choice of trail lists, but you were a pleasant surprise. I don’t think I could ever handle the cold…well, if push came to shove I’d adapt and be just fine. I’d also buy wool socks. If I was going to check you off my list of states to visit, it only seemed fitting to experience you at the peak of winter…next time, I choose fall or spring!

Appreciating the ‘cold’ of Branson and Oklahoma more than ever,

Fan of Iowa



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