I’ve lived other places, including Colorado and Tennessee, and still enjoy visiting other places in the US, but I’m glad I can come home. This is I belong.
I grew up in Cedar Rapids, which is the second-largest city in Iowa. (The largest is Des Moines, the capital). The 2010 Census counted almost 130,000 people living in Cedar Rapids, but I’m sure that has changed a little since the census was taken. The little towns next to CR, Marion (to the east) and Hiawatha (to the north), have grown quite a bit in the past 10 years, as has North Liberty (which is to the south). Come to think of it, they aren’t so little anymore.
I guess what made me so sentimental about my state was a post I saw on Facebook. Iowa native, Ashton Kutcher, an actor currently on the comedy show, Two and a Half Men, said in a video interview a few years ago that “Iowa’s greatest natural resource isn’t corn, it’s the people.”. He said he thinks that Iowans are the kind who, when something bad happens, don’t look for handouts. They pull up their bootstraps and get things done.
I’m sure it wasn’t just a public service announcement; Ashton really believes that about the people of Iowa. We’re different from most people, different from most states. We’re a proud people, but we know how to get things done. We are all about family, but we genuinely care about our neighbors, too.
We know one of the secrets to living a good life is working together to make it happen (whatever IT is). And no matter where we go or what we do, we will always have that.
I feel sorry for the people who have lived their whole lives in a big city. Do you think they have ever been on a hayrack ride? Or gone fishing in a “crick?” Do you think they get excited with the top two college teams meet every year? Iowans have practically made the annual Iowa vs Iowa State Game Day a holiday!
We get made fun of a lot, but we usually laugh with them. (Another great thing about Iowans; our sense of humor!) We know we aren’t as glamorous as New York or L.A. But most of us wouldn’t want to be. We love Iowa just the way it is.
It’s like having to choose between coming home to a big, cold mansion, or a comfy cottage with a soft couch and a fire roaring in the fireplace.
If those are my options, I’ll take the comfy cottage any day.