Being an Iowa Farmer2/20/2013
Have you noticed that the topic of weather is the great equalizer that turns us all into Iowa farmers this time of year?
You can be the librarian at the Downtown Library, a CEO at Nationwide or a checker at Hy-Vee, and out of your mouth will come these words: “What do you think of this weather?” And before you know it, even if you live in an East Village loft, you’ll soon drop into farmer-weather lingo: “Can you believe that wind chill?” or “Do you think we got much moisture out of that storm?” or “Was that an Arctic blast that blew in last night?” Honestly, you’re just a hair’s breadth away from asking if the cattle trough has frozen over. Trust me — you don’t have a cattle trough. You don’t have a cow. You have a cat. Sorry.
Of course, you aren’t really an Iowa farmer, but you can be an Iowa Farmer. If you’re an Iowa Farmer, when it is snowing or raining, you head out the door. And if it doesn’t snow or rain, you also head out the door. Period. Unfortunately, if you fail to make this sharp turn toward being a bit tougher during this month of February, the consequences can be dire. This isn’t just a vitamin D problem for those who stay inside. This is a question of orientation: If you refuse to let this weather control your life, if you put your face into the wind, if you put on these gigantic lugged boots to walk on the river trails, who or what can possibly stop you? Right?
You can see the positive fallout from such thinking. Lame boyfriend? Just walk a block in freezing wind thinking about your rotten relationship. By the end, the boyfriend may not know it yet, but he’s gone. Struggling with a problem at work? Walk west on Grand, circle around the Meredith Gardens, then walk back downtown. Problem solved. Not getting along with your mom? Fine, bundle up (don’t forget your galoshes), and do a loop together at Gray’s Lake. Relationship saved.
I guarantee this solution so much that I think it can solve all the acrimony about gun laws, the education budget, immigration, drone warfare and the interesting worry about who’s piercing what. What should our legislators do with all these problems? Duh, get out their sleds and head to Waveland Golf Course. Snow’s melted, you say? Are you new to town? Just wait for the Girl’s Basketball Tournament. It’ll come.
This south hill at Waveland should fit the House of Representatives just fine. Just bring the toboggans from Decorah, the snow boards from Iowa City and the traditional runners from Sioux City. That should do it. Discussion of whether we need to carry AK-47s while shopping at Target will have a different tenor hanging onto the back of a sled while screaming with delight. I promise.
As for the Senate, I’m thinking the long west hill.
This gives the senators a chance to not only go a little longer, but to see the cemetery across University out of the corner of their eyes. Death and the outdoors are generally the perfect ingredients for making good decisions.
To cement this argument about getting outside, I talked to a real Iowa farmer, Dave Parker, who farms near Mingo.
“Outside?” Dave asked with a twinkle in his eye. “The wind blew a tree down yesterday that almost hit my propane tank. I stayed inside all day. It felt good.” CV
Joe Weeg spent 31 years bumping around this town as a prosecutor for the Polk County Attorney’s Office. Now retired, he writes about the frequently overlooked people, places and events in Des Moines on his blog: www.joesneighborhood.com.