Yup, I was in Iowa this weekend. I hadn’t been down there to see my dad since Christmas on account of this Covid-19 thing. He’s 85 years old, lives all alone, and, like many Americans, hasn’t been going anywhere or visiting anybody. And that’s particularly hard on him because he’s a way more social person than I ever was. When I talked to him on the phone last week he admitted he was feeling very lonely.
Call it Corona-fatigue or Covid-complacency or just plain carelessness, but I made a trip down there this weekend. My dad and I had a fun visit, I helped him with some yard work, we cooked together, and I took him grocery shopping.
Ah yes, the grocery store . . . to my immense surprise, fewer than half of the shoppers were wearing face coverings. I knew the governor was a Trump-loving, socialism-hating, liberty-over-public-health, let the people make their own decisions on masks no matter who it effects type, so of course there would be no mask mandates. But I really believed the CITIZENS of the state where I spent my formative years would use good judgement. I guess I give them too much credit. No wonder my dad doesn’t go anywhere.
I brought my bike to Iowa, of course, and I managed to work in a couple of very nice rides. May I show you a few pictures?
In my photos, I decided to focus on the BUILDINGS of rural Iowa. There were some really nice farm landscapes, but I decided not to feature them because they look very much like southern Minnesota’s farm landscapes. I’ve shown those plenty of times.
As I rode along, I came up with another new game. It’s very similar to the last game I invented, which I called Scary? Or Whimsical? This one is titled, Prosperous Or Not Prosperous. The rules are as follows: Ride your bike through Iowa farm country and rate the farms based on the appearance of the buildings you see. It’s fun! Let’s play!
There is an old saying that I learned back in grade school. It goes something like this: “You can’t judge a book by it’s cover.”
In the same way, you can’t judge the prosperity of a farm by a few buildings. I think I can safely say that every one of the farms in this area fall somewhere between fairly prosperous and extremely prosperous. For example, after I took that picture immediately above I noticed that there was a beautiful home and some big out-buildings further down a long driveway.
In other cases, I saw prosperous-looking buildings mixed in with the run-down, weather-beaten buildings. I assume those buildings still serve some purpose because the farmers never tear them down.
Therefore, this game was a big trick. They were ALL PROSPEROUS.
I have a few concluding words. First, Iowa is beautiful. I never appreciated that when I lived there at ages 12 to 18. I never appreciated it very much when going back to visit my parents for the next 40-something years either. Maybe it’s age, maybe it’s cycling that has spurred a new appreciation for farm land. I don’t know.