Monday, July 7, 2008

Somewhere in the Middle of America

My college roommate Margee (pronounced with a hard ‘G’) hails from Griswold, Iowa, population of roughly 1,000. Actually, that’s not quite right. Her family doesn’t live in town, but a few miles outside of it in a beautiful farmhouse, set among acres of corn and a matrix of gravel roads. This is where I spent my Fourth of July. As I sat on their deck drinking a delicious cocktail of gin and freshly picked-and-smashed cherries, I couldn’t really imagine a more fitting setting to honor America’s grandeur.

After just a few hours of this peaceful, slower-than-city pace, Jess and I were contemplating if we could ever live in a rural environment. I was thrilled to ride in the back of a pickup, to be constantly surrounded by kittens and to be as loud as we wanted without worrying about fun-hating neighbors. And to be able to grow your own food? How marvelous! But these thoughts went as fast as they came. Twice during my short stay someone had to drive 20 miles each way to a mid-size town for various errands. I never even make it to St. Paul. And what would I do if I ran out of ice cream in the middle of the night? Or what if I had the desire to have a pizza delivered and someone dressed as a superhero driving a three-wheeled moped to deliver it?! Nope, I’d never make it. Despite the theme of “Green Acres” running through my head every five minutes, farm livin’ is not the life for me; I’ll stick to visits.

On Saturday we ventured into Omaha to celebrate Margee and Katie’s (another college friend) birthdays. There are people that love birthdays, and then there are people that love birthdays enough that they start planning the event 364 days in advance. Luckily they keep the requirements simple enough: matching outfits and lots of booze. Though there tends to be a trend in their outfit choice (heavy on neon pink), this year they decided to don shiny black wigs of the Pulp Fiction bob variety. As we walked through the Old Market area downtown people didn’t even attempt to hide their open-mouth stares. Even the equestrian cops showed a great deal of interest, perhaps wondering if the birthday girls were in fact working girls. There was maybe less dancing than Margee and Katie had hoped for, but maybe the setting off fireworks inside a bar and having “Happy Birthday” sung to them (or their false names, anyway) by an Irish band was enough to make up for it. I’m not sure how they’re going to top those wigs next year, but I’m looking forward to finding out.

Margee, drinking wine on her deck with the sunset behind her.

Delicious Fourth of July feast including chicken kebabs, crab cakes, pesto pasta salad, ham and cheese torte, and Three Buck Chuck.

Group shot in Omaha featuring birthday girls in matching wigs.


melissaxmacaroni said...

Sounds like fun. I like pesto pasta salad. :D
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A Complete Catastrophe

Average Joe said...

That sounds like a real trip. I would, however, suggest that my celebration of the Fourth was even more fitting: wasting copious amounts of Arabian petrol cruising around gorgeous national parks, safe in the confines of my air conditioned automobile.

Heidi said...

I think I just creamed my pants looking at that meal.
p.s. I used to think creaming your pants meant pooping your pants. A couple years ago.