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July 5, 2013 by kmwelden

I haven’t blogged in a long time. Would you believe me if I said not one interesting thing happened to me in all this time?

NO? Then you would be RIGHT, because as I type, I’m on I-90 West driving across South Dakota (or maybe we’re still in Iowa?), and we’re 1500 miles into our road trip. 1500 miles into a roadtrip with a loaded down Honda Fit that hates hills and despises mountains, a beardy Andrew, and a farty Edmund. And Andrew informed me about ten minutes ago that he forgot to put on deodorant today. Thanks, dear.

We left Myrtle on Sunday and spent some time in Nashville (where we did nothing country related, but we did go to the most kick-ass science museum. Were we the only people in there without kids? Maybe. Was I on the verge of throwing a fit because kids are awful at sharing, and I just wanted to do the exhibit where you could lift the car? Maybe). After Nashville, we drove to Iowa Falls, Iowa. What’s in Iowa Falls? Well, for one, my grandpa happens to be the mayor, thank you very much.

Iowa Falls is the epitome of what it means to live in a small town. It’s small enough that years ago when I was visiting, I got lost running. This has nothing to do with how big the town is, and everything to do with how I have the sense of direction of a blind sloth. But anyway, I remember running into the convenience store and telling the cashier, “Ummm… I’m looking for Ramona’s house…. do you know where it is?” And yes… in Iowa Falls, that cashier knew exactly where her house could be found.

You drive down the streets, and there’s a story for every person you pass; every storefront; every road. There’s history in every single ounce of a small town, but it’s such a personalized history. I love going there and stepping into that lifestyle. I love feeling like I’m part of something, and in a small town like Iowa Falls, I think everyone feels like they’re part of something.

I loved going to the Fourth of July parade and sitting on a blanket with my Iowan family and watching my cousin perform in the parade. I loved seeing a parade where “tractor” and “float” are interchangeable. I loved sitting at the fireworks later that night and listening to a woman who graduated with my dad tell me a story about the time he jumped out of the second floor window at the high school into a snow bank (“What’s a guy got to do to get a good grade in this class? Jump out the window?” he said). I loved sitting in my grandma’s garden and listening to Grandma tell me story after story. I loved being introduced to people on the street as “Wayne’s youngest” or “my granddaughter” and having people feel a kinship with me immediately.

I was a little sad to leave that behind this morning– we all were. Edmund was more than sad to leave the fenced in garden where my grandma encouraged him to “Mark your territory! Scare off the bunnies! Bark as loud as you want!” Andrew was sad to leave his new favorite relative, Grandma Mona (“She’s pretty mischievous, Kait,” he said approvingly. “I like that”), and even more sad when we ran out of the oatmeal cookies she packed by mid-morning.

Last night, we were watching the fireworks at my grandpa’s (Who is the mayor, in case you forgot in the last 300 words. I like to work that in whenever possible). There were probably fifty people gathered in the yard. I was sitting there in a lawn chair in between my grandpa and Andrew, looking up at the fireworks over the river, and I heard a woman behind me say, “This is just as good as Disney World.” And you know what, lady-behind-me-who-probably-is-a-distant-cousin, I would tend to agree with you. I really do agree.

Now, though! We just passed into Minnesota, and we will be on the same road for 510 miles now. Fall Out Boy is on, Edmund is asleep between us, Grandma packed us snacks, and we’re planning on seeing Rushmore tomorrow. And after that, we’ll be in our new home. Life is good, people.

And I solemnly swear to be a better blogger. If there’s one thing I learned in Iowa, it’s that I think all of my blog traffic is coming from out there. So! Aunts Ruth, Katie, Anne, Grandma– I love you guys. Auntie Sue– sorry I couldn’t get to your side of the state. (And Caroline and Mom— I miss you both terribly)



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