Imbolc and the Durango Moon
Saturday gratefuls: Alan. A cheerful heart. Tom and the train. Honolulu in my daydreams. Shadow Mountain. Firm beneath me. Black Mountain and its Lodgepoles against a blue Colorado Morning Sky. Susan Taylor. Kepler. Reminding me about breakfast. Excel. Penciling out the move. Joy and pleasure. Judaism. Buddhism. Taoism. The Great Wheel.
Sparks of Joy and Awe: Alan
Those Native Coloradan bumper stickers? Three thumbs down. Not native. At least none of the ones I’ve seen driving cars with these attached. Always white. Not Ute, Cheyenne, Apache, Arapaho, or Comanche. Just boat people like the rest of us white folk. Most likely with “native roots” in places like Ireland, England, Germany, Norway, Sweden, France…you know. Nothing wrong with loving where you live. Not at all. But claiming to be a native when you’re obviously an Ole or Lena come lately? Poor taste at best.
Can you imagine a Native Minnesotan bumper sticker? I can’t. Do Minnesotans love their state and its natural beauty, its wonderful urban areas? Sure they do. But you can, too. You betcha.
Which brings me to the point. Every once in a while I see articles which purport to help newcomers learn the ropes here. Did you see what I did there? One was very bitter, published in West World, a free weekly newspaper distributed widely in the Denver metro. Don’t recall much about it now except his screed against down vests. They didn’t meet his criteria for proper Colorado outdoor attire. What? See this example from the Canyon Courier in July.**
Again. Never did see an article about how to be a Midwesterner, at least not as a corrective to whatever outsider ways you might have brought with you.
I did however find this curious article in the Washington Post claiming to know “the most Midwestern things on the planet.” Bold. Especially since they got it from Airbnb listings. A link to the article is here. And a list from that article is below.*
Curiously, the top item on the list is Walleye. Now the Walleye is the State Fish of Minnesota and a mighty tasty one at that. Visit Tavern on Grand on Grand Avenue in St. Paul if you haven’t had the pleasure. But, the top defining thing about the Midwest? I don’t think so.
In fact nothing on the list seems to even come close. Let me throw a few out there for my fellow Midwestern readers and ask for your deletions and/or additions. In no particular order:
Friday night fish fry
The Indy 500
A certain wariness masked by friendliness
Small town life
State and County fairs
Future Farmers of America
Gridded roads, gravel roads laid out in mile squares
The US automobile industry
Unions, especially the UAW
The Big 10 (in its original configuration)
Well, that’s a start. Look forward to whatever else you might have. Again, deletions or insertions.
Note: The 12 Midwestern states are Iowa, Indiana, Wisconsin, North Dakota, Kansas, Nebraska, Missouri, Illinois, Minnesota, Michigan, Ohio and South Dakota
**”It’s not always easy living in the rural West, with customs so entrenched that everybody takes them for granted. What makes it hard for the newest newcomers is that they’re caught up in a mysterious culture.
To make the urban-rural transition easier, I’ve collected 10 tips guaranteed to ease you into your new life. But first, know that you will never become an oldtimer, although with patience you might become what Western historian Hal Rothman dubbed a “neo-native.” Here’s hoping this helps…” Canyon Courier, July 19, 2022 David Marston