Thursday, January 03, 2008

I have an Iowa story

Wherein shouldn't everyone?

Made easier by the fact that the gf at the time was an Ioweegian.

I think it was a Saturday morning after Thanskgiving. As we're driving back to Minneapolis from Dubuque the car hits an icy patch, does a 180, and slides backwards down an embankment. As we're walking up to the road we note the car missed by five feet a giant concrete somethingorother that would have totaled the car and probably killed us.

We're standing there wondering what the hell we're going to do now -- life before cell phones -- with not a farmhouse in sight and figuring the nearest town* is at least a mile away when a car pulls up. An older couple saw the car in the ditch and stopped by to check on us and then gave us a ride into town. They were meeting some friends at the local cafe before heading off for the Iowa-Iowa St. football game. On the way over they also gave us the name and number for a mechanic who might be working that day. After confirming the guy was available, and after knowing us for about 30 minutes, they gave us the keys to their car and told us to leave it back at the diner with the keys under the floor mat when we were finished. Four days later after selling the car in Vegas and blowing all the cash at the roulette wheel, we finally made it home. So the guy towed the car, replaced a damaged rim, and did some other stuff -- basically spent about four hours on the car and charged us $26. We returned the car and found their address in the glove compartment so we could rob them blind send them flowers for their help.

*No longer remember where this occurred. I think we traveled in Hwy 52 most of the way so I'm guessing this happened somewhere between Gutenberg and Decorah.

A Northern Minnesota story
Which reminds me of another automotive breakdown story that happened a few years prior to the Iowa story. January, freshman year of college, four of us pile into Paul's car to roadtrip to Duluth to visit some friends. There's lots of skiing, some drunkenness (in Wisconsin since most of us were still 18), but no debauchery. Driving back Sunday morning, about 45 minutes south of Duluth, the car started to make a horrible noise. Drove down the shoulder at about 10mph for the next two miles until the next exit. Paul thinks a friend of the family moved up here about a year before to open an auto parts store at the town at this very exit. We find the store (closed) and we find the friend's name in the local phone book. Call him up and his wife answers. He's made a parts run to Minneapolis and will be back in a couple of hours, so come on over. We do and she feeds us lunch. Husband shows up, diagnoses the car with shattered bearings or something, opens his store to find the replacement parts and fixes the car in his garage. At some point while we're all sitting around and talking, it turns out that prior to moving up north they'd lived in the same neighborhood as my family. And...AND I had babysat for them a handful of times. Car gets fixed, doesn't charge us a dime, and we're home 9 hours late.

Iowa story #2
I have more...

One of my early jobs was doing market research at the Burnsville Center -- I carried a clipboard and interrupted people while they tried to shop. Doing this during the Christmas season demonstrated that people are evil sacks of water. You want to see people at their rudest and most mean-spirited? Hang out at a mall during Christmas.

If you're traveling up I-35, Burnsville is pretty much the first thing you see, other than Owatonna (which doesn't really count), after leaving Iowa. Seemed like every other weekend a couple busloads of Iowans would show up on a shopping junket. They were easy to pick out as most of them wore Hawkeye jackets. Also, they were the people walking around slack-jawed and commenting "We ain't got anything like this back home." That's a verbatim quote. I bet the Mall of America caused a few heart attacks with its immenseness.

Iowa story #3
Most of the Iowans I knew were attending St. Thomas college in St. Paul. I think it was a feeder path for Iowan Catholic high schools. One woman I knew came from a family of 20 children. All single births. Basically, her family town ran the town she was from. If I recall one brother was the mayor, another was the fire chief, etc. Both her and her younger sister (18 and 21 when I knew them) had lived with their 40-something siblings since their parents had passed away. Probably from exhaustion.


Blogger Icepick said...

I don't have an Iowa story. I've never even been near Iowa. I've talked to someone IN Iowa a few times, though I don't know that this constitutes a story.

1/04/2008 09:08:00 AM  
Blogger bill said...

And doesn't this lack leave you feeling slightly hollow and empty?

1/04/2008 09:19:00 AM  
Blogger Icepick said...

No, it leaves me feeling warm and contented. You know what they have in Iowa? Snow, ice, beyond merely frigid artic tempatures. Here in Florida? It drops below 32 degrees about once every five years. Why would I want to add snow, ice and beyond merely frigid artic tempatures to my life?

1/04/2008 12:24:00 PM  
Blogger bill said...

Why would I want to add snow, ice and beyond merely frigid artic tempatures to my life?

Because that's what causes all the old people to move to Florida and muck up your roads.

1/04/2008 12:49:00 PM  
Blogger bill said...

Meaning the driving is safer in Iowa.

1/04/2008 12:49:00 PM  

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