Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Reading Without Words: Why I Love the Midwest.



Last Sunday I drove south on 71 for a few hours, on my way to Louisville from a 40 hour trip to southwest Ohio. Being a subway rider, the tiny gas station I stopped at seemed like a novelty, with its four pumps and view of a dilapidated clapboard house. I do confess that I'm a Louisville fan, where my parents have moved, but there is something about those pockets of rural Ohio. Somehow the fading evening light and lightning bugs and overgrown grass just feels so comfy. I stood at the gas station for a few minutes just looking and decided to drive back with the windows rolled down so that I wouldn't miss out on breathing in the cornfields and woods.

Just outside of downtown Cincinnati, I glanced over and the moon caught me by surprise. It wasn't quite a harvest moon, but golden orange that seemed to announce the arrival of high summer. It fell behind the bars of the bridges and a few buildings, but sunk elegantly into the landscape of Northern Kentucky. This combined with the piano and mandolin on the stereo, and you can understand the sweet melancholy running through me.

But what made the drive even better than all these atmospheric invocations was thinking about the people with whom my path crossed who are the truest essence of why the Midwest is best. (Yes, I believe that rhyme is sweet.) So here is my list of highlights, in the hope that one of them might read this and know how awesome I think they are and how much I appreciate them carving time out of their schedules to hang out:

Alison. Talk about the joys of having a kindred spirit who is also a Miami U English major. Coffee with you is always the best.
Abby. There is no one better to talk about Harry Potter with. You are a constant reminder of the Kingdom to me.
Jenna. Sigh. What more can I say?
Julia. You were a beautiful bride. What a blessing to watch you get married. And Arnie's pretty great, too.
Mark. One of my most favorite co-leaders. Always a pleasure and a challenge to my thinking.
Melissa. Saralyn. Missy. Your faith inspires me.
Kyle. There is nothing better than laughing with old friends.
Jana. Katy. Lal. Jill. Annie. Liz. How I long to visit the days of living in the House of Mud. Your conversation is so refreshing and encouraging. And the brunch was ok, too:)
Kendra. My visit would be incomplete without eating ice cream at the K with you. I adore you.
Mom. Dad. Frankie. I love our deck and Kentucky's not bad, either.

If you made it this far, I commend you. There are a few more things besides the residents that make the Midwest an amazing place, despite the disagreements that may come from those unfortunates who have never experienced it:

1. Mom and Pop Ice Cream, i.e. The K and W in Springboro and The Dairy Shed in Bellbrook.
2. Cornhole. Glorified bean bag toss that, yes, really is entertaining.
3. College Football Fans. They're everywhere.
4. Hometown Football Fans. Go Elks.
5. Corn and Soybean Fields.

So, needless to say, I didn't read words too much while I was away, (excluding Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, of course) but I did read. And I highly recommend.

1 comment:

agoodyarn said...

Oh please please please add frozen custard to the list of glorious things about the Midwest. Why either coast hasn't caught on to the best frozen dessert ever is beyond me.