Loess Hills Road Trip

I’d like to just start with saying how completely impressed I was with Amanda Gorman, this nation’s first ever youth poet laureate and the poem she read at the inauguration on Wednesday. Wow! Goosebumps. I was one the people that rushed to Amazon and pre-ordered her book and made it the best selling book on Amazon. It doesn’t come out until September, so to tide myself over, I thought I would just put her inauguration poem down here, so I could find it and read it anytime I want:

THE HILL WE CLIMB

When day comes we ask ourselves,
where can we find light in this never-ending shade?
The loss we carry,
a sea we must wade
We’ve braved the belly of the beast
We’ve learned that quiet isn’t always peace
And the norms and notions
of what just is
Isn’t always just-ice
And yet the dawn is ours
before we knew it
Somehow we do it
Somehow we’ve weathered and witnessed
a nation that isn’t broken
but simply unfinished
We the successors of a country and a time
Where a skinny Black girl
descended from slaves and raised by a single mother
can dream of becoming president
only to find herself reciting for one
And yes we are far from polished
far from pristine
but that doesn’t mean we are
striving to form a union that is perfect
We are striving to forge a union with purpose
To compose a country committed to all cultures, colors, characters and
conditions of man
And so we lift our gazes not to what stands between us
but what stands before us
We close the divide because we know, to put our future first,
we must first put our differences aside
We lay down our arms
so we can reach out our arms
to one another
We seek harm to none and harmony for all
Let the globe, if nothing else, say this is true:
That even as we grieved, we grew
That even as we hurt, we hoped
That even as we tired, we tried
That we’ll forever be tied together, victorious
Not because we will never again know defeat
but because we will never again sow division
Scripture tells us to envision
that everyone shall sit under their own vine and fig tree
And no one shall make them afraid
If we’re to live up to our own time
Then victory won’t lie in the blade
But in all the bridges we’ve made
That is the promise to glade
The hill we climb
If only we dare
It’s because being American is more than a pride we inherit,
it’s the past we step into
and how we repair it
We’ve seen a force that would shatter our nation
rather than share it
Would destroy our country if it meant delaying democracy
And this effort very nearly succeeded
But while democracy can be periodically delayed
it can never be permanently defeated
In this truth
in this faith we trust
For while we have our eyes on the future
history has its eyes on us
This is the era of just redemption
We feared at its inception
We did not feel prepared to be the heirs
of such a terrifying hour
but within it we found the power
to author a new chapter
To offer hope and laughter to ourselves
So while once we asked,
how could we possibly prevail over catastrophe?
Now we assert
How could catastrophe possibly prevail over us?
We will not march back to what was
but move to what shall be
A country that is bruised but whole,
benevolent but bold,
fierce and free
We will not be turned around
or interrupted by intimidation
because we know our inaction and inertia
will be the inheritance of the next generation
Our blunders become their burdens
But one thing is certain:
If we merge mercy with might,
and might with right,
then love becomes our legacy
and change our children’s birthright
So let us leave behind a country
better than the one we were left with
Every breath from my bronze-pounded chest,
we will raise this wounded world into a wondrous one
We will rise from the gold-limbed hills of the west,
we will rise from the windswept northeast
where our forefathers first realized revolution
We will rise from the lake-rimmed cities of the midwestern states,
we will rise from the sunbaked south
We will rebuild, reconcile and recover
and every known nook of our nation and
every corner called our country,
our people diverse and beautiful will emerge,
battered and beautiful
When day comes we step out of the shade,
aflame and unafraid
The new dawn blooms as we free it
For there is always light,
if only we’re brave enough to see it
If only we’re brave enough to be it

Beautiful. Absolutely beautiful.

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Today I’m going to share what I would call auxiliary images from my road trip to the Loess Hills back in September. They are auxiliary because they were not taken at the Loess Hills and they also don’t fall into THE TOWN SIGNS PROJECT either. These are pictures I took on the way to the Loess Hills and on the way back.

I do want to start with a brief history lesson. It comes from a question I had to ask when I stopped at a historic marker on the trip. A historic marker honoring Merle Hay. I’m sure many of you have driven on Merle Hay’s road and shopped in his mall, but do you know who Merle Hay was?

I myself only knew that Merle Hay was a war hero of some kind, but I didn’t even know from what war and what he did. Take a look at this historic marker in the cemetery where he is buried:


Loess Hills Road Trip

When I saw this, I couldn’t figure out what was going on in the picture. So I researched it and while it is maybe obvious to some, I didn’t deduce that the guy carrying the fallen soldier was Uncle Sam. Carrying Merle Hay home.

So who was Merle Hay?

He was the first or one of the first Americans to die in WWI. Here is his story from the Wiki:

When the United States entered the First World War, Hay was young enough to avoid being drafted. With his father’s blessing, he voluntarily enlisted on May 9, 1917. He was among 8 men from Glidden who enlisted that day. They were first shipped to Fort Logan, Colorado, then to Fort Bliss in El Paso, Texas. He was assigned to the 16th Infantry Regiment. On 26 June 1917, the regiment disembarked the troop ships in St. Nazaire, France, as part of the 1st Infantry Division. By November 1917, he was assigned to Company F along with Corporal James Bethel Gresham and Private Thomas Enright. They were posted in the trenches near the French village of Artois. In the early morning of 3 November 1917, the Imperial German Army attacked. After an hour of fighting, Hay, along with Corporal Gresham, and Private Enright were the first three casualties of the American Expeditionary Force.

Two days later, on 5 Nov 1917, Enright, Gresham, and Hay were buried near the battlefield where they had died. An inscription marked their graves: “Here lie the first soldiers of the illustrious Republic of the United States who fell on French soil for justice and liberty.” Their bodies were eventually returned to their families and reburied in the United States. Hay was then re-interred in July 1921 in West Lawn Cemetery in his home town of Glidden, Iowa. The West Lawn Cemetery was later renamed the Merle Hay Memorial Cemetery. An 8-foot monument commissioned by the Iowa Legislature marks his gravesite.

Remember that story, the next time you are driving down Merle Hay Road in Des Moines.

Here are the rest of the Loess Road Trip auxiliary photos:


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I can’t figure out if this is brilliant, sacrilegious, brilliantly sacrilegious, or sacrilegiously brilliant. Hopefully there is a theologian out there that can assist me.

Loess Hills Road Trip

Loess Hills Road Trip

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This sign confuses me so much. So very much.

Loess Hills Road Trip

Loess Hills Road Trip

Loess Hills Road Trip
I love this tiny mailbox so much. I want to bundle it up and take it home with me, but of course that is a federal crime.

Loess Hills Road Trip
Birthplace of Merle Hay – Now you know where he started and where he ended.

Loess Hills Road Trip

Loess Hills Road Trip

Loess Hills Road Trip

I wish I would have gotten better pictures of the ghost town that is Carrollton, but it was just pouring down rain when I rolled through there. But I’m sure I’ll get there again some day.

Here is another history fact for you:

The first American military casualty in WWII was also from Iowa. Robert M. Losey was born in Andrew, Iowa. He was killed in a German bombardment of Norway on April 21, 1940. If you are doing the math, that is well before the United States entered the war.

Also semi-interesting fact. Andrew, Iowa is in Jackson county. Jackson County is named after racist piece of trash Andrew Jackson. Andrew is also named after racist piece of trash Andrew Jackson. Double fail for that town.

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This is your reminder that this week’s THE WEEKLY PHOTO CHALLENGE is HOBBIES:


WEEK 280 - HOBBIES
HOBBIES

HOBBIES can be all sorts of activities. Collecting things. Making things. Building things. Destroying things. So much, much more. Just remember the words of Norman Bates…

As you should know, the 1960 Alfred Hitchcock classic PSYCHO is tied for being my favorite movie of all-time. Think about the scene is PSYCHO where Marion Crane and Norman Bates are eating supper together in the backroom of the Bates Motel office, with all of the birds that Norman has stuffed.

INT. NORMAN’S PARLOR -(NIGHT)

In the darkened room, lit only by the light from the office spilling in, we see Norman placing the tray on a table. Mary comes to the doorway, pauses. Norman straightens up, goes to lamp, turns on the light.

Mary is startled by the room. Even in the dimness of one lamp, the strange, extraordinary nature of the room rushes
up at one. It is a room of birds. Stuffed birds, all over the room, on every available surface, one even clinging to
the old fashioned fringed shade of the lamp. The birds are of many varieties, beautiful, grand, horrible, preying. Mary
stares in awe and a certain fascinated horror.

CLOSE UP – THE VARIOUS BIRDS TWO SHOT – MARY AND NORMAN

NORMAN
Please sit down. On the sofa.

As Norman goes about spreading out the bread and ham and pouring the milk, we follow Mary across the room. She studies
the birds as she walks, briefly examines a bookcase stacked with books on the subject of “Taxidermy.”

CLOSE UP – THE BOOKS ON TAXIDERMY MED. CLOSE SHOT – MARY

She notices, too, the paintings on the wall; nudes, primarily, and many with a vaguely religious overtone.

Finally Mary reaches the sofa, sits down, looks at the spread.

MARY
You’re very… kind.

NORMAN
It’s all for you. I’m not hungry. Please go ahead.

Mary begins to eat, her attitude a bit tense. She takes up a small slice of ham, bites off a tiny bite, nibbles at it in the manner of one disturbed and preoccupied.

Norman gazes at her, at the tiny bite she has taken, smiles and then laughs.

NORMAN
You eat like a bird.

MARY
You’d know, of course.

NORMAN
Not really. I hear that expression, that one eats “like a bird,” is really
a falsie, I mean a falsity, because birds eat a tremendous lot.
(A pause, then explaining)
Oh, I don’t know anything about birds. My hobby is stuffing things…
taxidermy. And I guess I’d just rather stuff birds because… well, I hate
the look of beasts when they’re stuffed, foxes and chimps and all…
some people even stuff dogs and cats… but I can’t… I think only
birds look well stuffed because they’re rather… passive, to begin
with… most of them…

He trails off, his exuberance failing in the rushing return of his natural hesitancy and discomfort. Mary looks at him,
with some compression, smiles.

MARY
It’s a strange hobby. Curious, I mean.

NORMAN
Uncommon, too.

MARY
I imagine so.

NORMAN
It’s not as expensive as you’d think. Cheap, really. Needles, thread,
sawdust .. the chemicals are all that cost anything.
(He goes quiet, looks disturbed)

MARY
A man should have a hobby.

NORMAN
It’s more than a hobby… sometimes…
a hobby is supposed to pass the time, not fill it.

Happy photo harvesting!

11 thoughts on “Loess Hills Road Trip”

  1. I had no idea that was the story behind Merle Hay. That’s really, really poignant. I’ll have to read all of that to Alice, she loves history. Thank you for sharing it!

    These photos are amazing. I love how they catch the desolation of Carrollton, and just are a great time capsule of small town Iowa. That mailbox is the cutest, quaintest thing ever.

    DUDE. I saw the top of that red cross and went, “Oh, are there chains hanging from that cross? Is it a decoratio…oh NO.” Who feels right about swinging their children on the symbol of Christian martyrdom and salvation? I mean – it’s also a clever use. So I would go “brilliantly sacriligious.” Maybe? Wow.

  2. The cross swing is in a playground to a church school or definitely a church. It wasn’t a designer that didn’t think about what they were doing. That was a choice. A very bold choice.

    The mini-mailbox is in Willey, Iowa. Carroll County is super Catholic. The positive is that almost every town in Carroll has a beautiful church. Regardless of size. Willey is one of those towns where the church building feels bigger than the entire town.

    I feel sad reading the Merle Hay story because he wasn’t young enough to sign up to enlist on his own. He had to have his parents permission. They gave it to him and 6 months later he was dead. I can’t even think about how that would torment a parent the rest of their life. Although he would’ve just enlisted when he was old enough, anyways. I guess. But it is still a pretty bitter pill to swallow.

    And now he has a mall named after him!

    The story of the Iowan that was the first American that died in WWII is pretty sad as well. We weren’t in the war yet. He was in Norway to observe the effects of war and meteorology. His contingency was being evacuated after the Germans started invading Norway. His delegation got split up, so he went back to look for a lost party. He got caught in a town that Germany was bombing. He sought refuge in a train tunnel, but stood near the entrance to the tunnel so he could observer the bombing. (Which sounds like the most Iowan thing ever.) A bomb hit near the entrance killing him.

    Goring did send his regrets to the United States about it though.

    Losey didn’t live in Iowa long. But apparently long enough to do Iowan things.

  3. You’d think a church, in particular, would be more cognizant that this is a really bad look. I wonder if it was a Catholic church/playground? They seem to involve the crucifix in their lives a lot more, I guess?

    I bet his parents felt so enormously guilty, even though it wasn’t their fault. I can’t imagine losing a child in war. I am a pretty strong pacifist overall, so it would just be so wasteful feeling. And knowing that they had to sign off on it – ugh. Yeah, I bet that mall really glosses over exactly none of that for the family.

    Man, that’s so oddly coincidental about both being at least born in Iowa. That’s terrible to think he was just doing a job. And goodness, you’d think Norway would be safe, you know? I mean, pre-Hitler.

  4. Doing a little forensic photography investigation. I must’ve taken that picture in Charter Oak. It is a playground across the street from St. John’s Lutheran Church. From what I can see on Google Maps and on Street View, looks like it is a fairly recent construction because it shows up in the aerial view, but not the street view. There is a sign in the street view I can’t quite make out, but I think the playground is the site of a former school. There is a sign on the street corner, but I can’ t make out what it says.

    In fact, it is weird, because depending on what street you are on in Street View, there is either a building on that street corner or the building is gone and the beginnings of the playground are being built. That is an interesting little time capsule.

    The church is St. John Lutheran Church. Their website is on Blogger. But I don’t see anything about the cruciswing on it.

    Although they have a blog post about the playground dedication:

    https://www.stjohncharteroak.org/2016/09/play-ground-re-dedication-picnic-rally.html

    and this:

    https://www.stjohncharteroak.org/2020/06/let-children-come-to-me.html

    And I might not have been clear. It wasn’t pre-Hitler. WWII was already going on when the guy from Andrew, Jackson County, Iowa got killed watching bombs come down. It was just before the United States entered WWII by about a year or so.

    Here is a segment from the Wiki:

    Hay’s mother collapsed upon hearing of his death but in an interview two days after Hay’s father, D. Hay, said that “I am proud of my boy if he has given up his life for his country.” He was survived by a younger brother Basil, eighteen, and a fourteen-year-old sister Opel.

    I don’t know much about the Hays, but they were great at naming their kids. Basil and Opel. Great names!

    But I was wrong about his parents having to sign off on him going. At least not exactly. He was too young to be drafted, but he was old enough to voluntarily enlist. He was 20 years old. But he did get his father’s blessing. Maybe that is just semantics. But at least they didn’t sign a paper allowing him to go.

    Here is something from PBS’s website:

    A Mother Says Goodbye to Her “Little Boy”
    The bodies of Hay, Enright and Gresham were exhumed from the French cemetery during the summer of 1921 and transported back to the United States. General John Pershing attended the ceremonies, placing wreathes on each coffin. Merle Hay’s body was transported by train to Glidden to be interned in the cemetery outside of town. His body lay in state at the American Legion building for friends and relatives to pay their respects.

    The funeral took place on July 24. Before Hay’s coffin was removed his mother asked to be allowed to remain in private. After 15 minutes she emerged and quietly remarked, “I have had my last farewell with my little boy.” In the “largest funeral” in Iowa the body of Merle D. Hay was committed to the ground. On May 25, 1930, six to ten-thousand people filled the area as a large granite monument was dedicated at the West Lawn cemetery. The monument is still visible when traveling through Glidden on Highway 30.

    And I know you are German, but they shot him in the head and slit his throat, effing Germans:

    The outnumbered Americans were caught by surprise as they emerged from their wood and earth shelters to engage the enemy in hand-to-hand combat amid darkness and confusion. Private Hoyt Decker saw Merle Hay battling two German soldiers with a bayonet in the dim, twinkling light of flares. After 15 minutes the Germans withdrew and the barrage ended. Reinforcements reached the beleaguered Americans soon after to discover five wounded, twelve captured, and three killed.

    Merle Hay was among the three killed and thus became the first Iowa soldier to die in combat. His body was found face down in the mud, a .45 caliber pistol in his hand. The cause of death was a single 9 millimeter bullet wound to the head. His throat was deeply cut. The three fallen comrades were buried together in France. A marker was later placed near the graves.

  5. I guess the children are coming to them… I did a quick Google search, and apparently this is the first time “cruciswing” has been used other than some hashtags for something called Crucis wing? I think you could likely patent it. But I’m pretty sure that some creepy adults would turn it into a sex swing or something. So maybe don’t patent it, I don’t know. I am more and more disappointed by people every year.

    Merle had, by far, the worst name of the three. That doesn’t make his story less tragic, it’s just an empirical fact that it pales compared to Basil and Opel. Although, I wish it were spelled “Opal.” But you can’t get everything perfect in life.

    That’s a little better on his parents (particularly his mom, hopefully) in terms of guilt – but yeah, you still are forever scarred with that. I cannot imagine how sad his poor mother felt, how awful that would have been. And what a totally brutal act – honestly, I hope they didn’t give her the details of how he ended. Sometimes not knowing things is better than knowing them. Or maybe learning them way later. That’s fascinating that it was the largest funeral in Iowa history – I mean, it makes complete sense, and is a great way to honor a fallen soldier.

    What a terrible, beautiful, tragic way to go. He fought to the very end – but it’s so sad. Still so utterly sad.

    So, one thing I have found with all of my geneology stuff – I guess I’m far more British than I ever realized. Still waiting on my DNA kit results to confirm it, but I’d say about 65% so far are British, then maybe 20% German, 15% French, and like 5% Italian. Not that British is a lot better than German. But I guess at least they drank tea while they oppressed Americans, and they didn’t recently attempt genocide. Had a couple on the Mayflower, a bunch of random pilgrims. So overall I feel a little less terrible about myself in that one regard. Except that I definitely had ancestors who owned people. And it looks like Robert E Lee is possibly my, like, 5th cousin 10x removed. So there’s all that. So I guess what I’m saying is – don’t turn over rocks unless you’re prepared to find something underneath.

  6. Here is where I think the Cruciswing (patent pending) is clever. You could tie a guy up to the cross and then have the two criminals hang out on the swings, like the historical re-enactment that I’m imagining in my head right now.

    If I can make money off creepy adults, don’t think I’m above that for a second.

    It is hard to say where I am with “people”. I think I peaked with my optimism for people in 2008. Maybe slowly decline slightly, but very slightly through 2016. Then crashed HARD in November of 2016. Slowly, declined until March 2020. Declined even harder starting then. Slightly rebounded again in November 2020. Crashed again on January 6, 2021. Slightly rebounded January 20, 2021. Been maintaining since then.

    I wonder if there has been a larger funeral since then. Like how many people attended the funeral for Chuck Grassley’s dignity? Merle is definitely the worst name of the 3. I do wonder what kind of lives Basil and Opel had. I actually like the fact it is spelled with an “e”. But I can’t explain why.

    I haven’t had any DNA testing done, but my sister Carla has. I’m not sure what the results came back, but from some fairly extensive family history research done by a family member years ago, I know that we are almost exclusively Scottish and Welsh. So screw you, you limey bastard!

    While I have no doubt that some of my ancestors owned other humans at some point, it is just the nature of the world for thousands of years, we never owned slaves in the United States. My earliest ancestors came up the Mississippi River to Iowa from Scotland after the Civil War.

    One of my great-grandmas was full blooded Cherokee. This isn’t an Elizabeth Warren situation. I have seen pictures and my Mom knew her. The Cherokee did own slaves, so there is a possibility there. There is a great podcast out there about the Cherokee and their fight for autonomy over their land and a recent Supreme Court decision.

    What is interesting is that they weren’t expected to win because RBG (as great as she was) had an atrocious record of ruling against Native American rights. But she actually ruled for them and so do Gorusch.

    It is called This Land and it is a Crooked Media podcast. It is like 8 episodes and it is fascinating.

    As for you limey bastards! The stuff they did in the Americas is nothing compared to what they did in Asia and Africa.

    Robert E. Lee isn’t great, but relatively speaking, besides being a bitch to Grant after Grant got done wiping his ass with Lee, there are worse members of the Confederacy to be related to.

    And, you can use that is inane Facebook fights.

    “As a descendant of Robert E. Lee, I support the taking down of statues of Confederate soldiers. As much as in pains me and pangs me.”

    As for the Mayflower. I may have had ancestors that worked for the Mayflower trucks that moved the Baltimore Colts to Indianapolis. But probably not.

  7. That’s a clever idea. Saves money on getting three crosses, but still gets the history semi-accurate. I see where you’re going with that, and these are the ideas that pay the bills. Brilliant.

    I think I hit a pretty hard low with people after Maddie was born, given some situations within my family. And at work. I think I similarly then just hit an all-time low in November 2016. But it’s whatever – at this point, you sort of just expect the worst, right?

    You should ask Carla to see hers! It takes for freaking ever to get them back after Christmas because people all over are spitting in tubes and sending them in after getting them in stockings. I’d love to hear how much Cherokee you are! I wonder if that’s why you’ve got a naturally tan complexion? (I mean, you’re not getting that from your Scotch and Welsh sides, I don’t think.) That’s so cool that you have such a close relative – it makes you want to hear about how she and your great-grandfather got together, how their lives were, etc. Yeah, there were a few things RBG did that are not my absolute favorite. She redeemed herself a lot over the years but there were some questionable decisions.

    Yeah, between the Germans and the British, I’ve got a pretty large portion of history all taken care of in terms of being awful. Yay, me. I discovered a teeny bit of Scottish today. Not enough to wear a kilt to Halloween, though. Welsh is super-cool – you don’t hear of a lot of largely-Welsh ancestries. My Buckroyd side hasn’t been here long at all – I think maybe just since the 1880s or so. I think pretty well anyone with British background going back to the 1600s can probably count one person on the Mayflower, and anyone with French going far enough back can assume they’re related to Charlemagne (that’s another one where it sounded cooler than one would think, but that dude was apparently getting it left and right).

    I never looked at the Robert E. Lee situation from that angle. That’s brilliant and devious – and it can totally be used to screw with people. Which is one of my favorite things to do with the ignorant. I’m going to see if I can start rolling that out against moron hillbillies. Maybe I can start with Marjorie Taylor Greene. She seems like a specifically terrible, awful person.

  8. My production is kind of like the JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR movie. Just throw some scaffolding up and call it a set. No tanks or jets though. I can’t afford those. I’m using a red swings set as my crucifix.

    Tragedy can really bring out the worst in people. But it can also bring out the best in people. But something like you experienced with Maddie is beyond what most people can even comprehend, so I’m not surprised you experienced mostly the worst.

    I wouldn’t say I expect the worst from people, but it is weird how many people I have wrongfully assumed were Trumpers. So I guess that part is on me.

    But when I get a boost of positive, like all of Trump’s impeachment lawyers quitting, then I see anti-vaxxers protesting at a vaccine distribution site in Los Angeles. So it becomes a wash. But a wash is better than constant decline.

    Yeah, I’ll have to look into Carla’s results. I know my great -grandfather and great-grand-mother got together in Missouri. His relatives promptly disowned him. They moved from Missouri to Iowa. At least that is the story I’ve always heard. Carla used to get very dark in the summer, but she has become paler over the years. I assume it because she doesn’t spend as much time outside as she used to.

    The first Bennett in the United States, Abraham Bennett is actually buried in Boone. So we haven’t made it all that far I guess. What is the point of being the Holy Roman Emperor, if you aren’t spreading the seed? Probably why you married a Mason. So they could keep an eye on you.

    But I mean if you are white, you had some ancestors that did some terrible stuff. 90% of the terrible stuff in recorded history was done by white people. The other 10% by Genghis Khan. But we forgive him because he invented the Mongolian Grill. I think my math checks out.

    Yeah, MTG answers the question, what it would it look like if there was a female Donald Trump, but was even dumber. I just hope she gets taken out by one of those Jewish lasers she believes in.

  9. I think you know even more than I do how true that is about people not understanding the worst. I’m so sorry. I know I’ve said that before.

    I have found that I assumed some people weren’t Trumpers who ended up being – I wonder if that means that I actually have some latent optimism about people? I don’t think you’re pessimistic, so I don’t think that really holds up. I just can’t fathom the type of people who tell Parkland survivors that their children died in a hoax, but here they are.

    That’s really sad that your great-grandfather’s family disowned him, but not altogether surprising. Especially given the timeframe – and is it too cliche to also point out that they were from Missouri, which just redoubles that racist tendency? You’re definitely far darker than I am! My biological dad used to try to tell me that he had Cherokee in him, so his friends would have him “practice breaking into their pawn shops” to have him sidestep their security – which is funny, since we have no Cherokee, and he had an arrest on his record for breaking into a pawn shop.

    There’s probably some Priory of Scion situation going on with the Holy Roman Emperor’s 600,000 descendants, and that’s why the Masons exist. Was Abraham Bennett Welsh? Or was he Scottish?

    So long as a Mongolian Grill is laid out well, I’m a fan!

    I honestly don’t know who of the following three women I despise most:
    – MTG
    – Lauren Boebert
    – our moronic governor

    I think our governor, maybe. As she purposely damages our state. But I did see a pretty sweet Bernie mitten meme where he had a laser coming out of his head at the state of Georgia. So at least that good came out of it.

  10. I’ve certainly been shocked to find out that people I knew were Trumpers. Although that list is quite small. I can say, thankfully.

    You want to talk about losing faith in people. I honestly don’t know if as Iowans we have the right to look down on Missouri any more. We voted for Trump twice. 3 out of 4 representatives are Republican. Both Senators. Our district is represented by a guy that is only nominally better than Steve King. Our governor is awful. The only thing stopping her from being the worst governor in the country is South Dakota’s governor. Okay, and Florida’s governor.

    The very first thing our state legislature did this term was try to get capital punishment back in the state. And I’m sad to say I think it is going to be stuck this way. Democrats have completely lost rural Iowa. And I don’t know how to get it back, besides going full homophobe or full racist. I’m not going to say that this is the only reason Republicans are popular in rural areas, but let’s face it, it doesn’t hurt.

    What I’m saying is that the once great progressive state of Iowa is becoming the sad, pathetic regressive state of Iowa.

    That is a very bizarre story about Bio-Dad. I wonder what his end goal was there. To try to trick you into thinking that he was framed up for that pawn shop case?

    Abraham Bennett was Scottish. I’ll have to look for the book and give you more info on him.

    That is a very solid list of the three women you despise most.

    I’m not sure who I would add to the list off the top of my head. Toni Lahren, maybe. Laura Ingraham. Judge Box of Wine. Sara Huckabee Sanders. Kayleigh McEnany. All solid contenders. Any Trump women of course. The governor of South Dakota. And of course, all the Karens in the world.

    And way to look on the bright side!

  11. I don’t hold out a lot of hope for Iowa at this point. The rural areas just take up far too much of the state for it to swing back the other way. Based off of the number of Trump signs, I don’t see the rural vote changing anytime soon. You’re correct – there’s just more racism and hatred there. It isn’t just the elderly, either – I keep holding out hope that things will improve, assuming that racists are old and “from a different time.” But NOPE. The last four years showed just how many there are.

    It is honestly amazing how much just terrible crap our governor has pushed through in the past week and a half. I hate her so much. It makes me long for the good old days of Branstad, which is mind-blowing.

    I have no idea what his play was there. He also one time tried to explain away a charge he received that was featured in the Ft Dodge Messenger for its ridiculousness where he had gone into Safeway, ripped open AlphaBits boxes, jammed his arm in there to find the baseball cards, and then threw them back on the shelves open and spilling everywhere (I assume he was high at the time, but who knows). I kept the article for a long time, I think it’s gone now. But he tried telling me that his friend was the manager and had told him he could do that. Which, even at 7, I knew was entirely illogical. There were also several other charges he tried to explain away to me over the years, but less humorous – stealing plants at Earl May by just putting the in the front seat of his car and acting like they weren’t there, forging checks and pretending someone told him he could, etc. He just wasn’t even GOOD at being a criminal.

    I’d love to hear more about Abraham Bennett! That’s awesome.

    Fantastic terrible females list. Sara Huckabee Sanders. There’s some danger right there right now. Is McEnany now running for something, too, I think I read?

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