So people have always laughed at me because I often mention that I used to do what I called RAGCRAI every year. I called it my Regular Annual Great Car Ride Across Iowa, because let’s face it, I’m not much of a biker. In fact, I’m not a biker at all! I fully admit I cannot, nor want to, ride a bike! Does it change my feelings about RAGBRAI? Not in the least! I am all about RAGBRAI* as long as nobody expects me to take part in the 2-wheel portion of it!
So you’re laughing, right? Why would I like RAGBRAI if I don’t even ride a bike? It’s simple. I love that people come to Iowa to party. Seriously! Sorry. Let me restate that: I love that people come to Iowa to test their physical endurance… lol. First of all, I’m thrilled that people in Iowa take part and that others actually come to our state to participate. Secondly, I’m glad that Iowa shows we do know how to have fun and that we can make a week out of it! I love that it even involves exercise! But mostly, I love that it involves a bunch of towns gearing up for a big event and putting on a good time. That makes me happy! I can see the good! And I hear lots… and I do mean LOTS…of stories!
You hear stories all the time about people stopping to help someone with a tire, giving them a water, offering their barn for a nap, or their bathroom in the middle of nowhere. I love that those stories come out of Iowa because that’s who we are. We want to be the good guys. I still remember when RAGBRAI came through Oakland a million years ago and the church did a food-stand. I got to help my mom make signs and we did Burmashave signs that lined the road saying things like 3.14 ahead for homemade pie. I was pretty damn proud of my signs and if I’m not mistaken, they sold out of food! 🙂
Of course, another favorite story was my trip to Muscatine. As many of you know, my best friend from my cattle showing days lived there and RAGBRAI was scheduled to hit the river one afternoon when I was there so we ended up taking her parents’ boat out and watching as the bikers came in to dip their tires and end the night with a fireworks display. It was so freaking cool to watch these people celebrate making it across Iowa – tears, laughs, personal victories, beers…
Sure, there are much crazier stories as we all well know, and good for them! Live it up, my friends! Just keep me out of the pictures! 🙂 But whether the story is one of accomplishing all the miles or the naked mud slide, there’s no way you can’t find a little good on the road!
So Happy RAGBRAI, everyone! Tip the stein or dip the tire for me!
*Footnote: For you out-of-staters, RAGBRAI stands for the Register’s Annual Great Bike Ride Across Iowa. Thousands of locals and out-of-staters bring their campers and buses and bikes to bike across Iowa for a 7-day bike ride/party. They ride by day and drink by night! I kid you not! And the route changes every year, but they start on the Missouri River and bike to the Mississippi River so sooner or later everyone gets included.
*Further disclosure: Just call me Schultz off Hogan’s Heroes: I know NOTHING!
*Final footnote: for you in-staters, don’t forget that means extra State Troopers on the road if you’re traveling. 🙂
Have a RAGBRAI story? Let’s hear it! Out-of-state and curious? What do you want to know?
So if I had to wage a guess, I’d have to say that the Dreamland Theater might have been the first place many a Riverside/Carson/Oakland/Griswold/Macedonia kid first held hands (or something more significant, but we will refrain from talking about that)! I have to say that I remember a couple of friends begging their moms to take us to Carson to see a movie, and I can pretty much assure you it was never because we were dying to see the movie that was playing. That was totally secondary! In fact, I’m pretty sure there are generations that could say the same thing!
It’s a lot easier to beg your mom to drop you off 6 miles away than it is to convince her she needs to head to Omaha and entertain herself somewhere other than where you are! Lol.
So when looking for the good around me, it doesn’t take long to see the Dreamland Theater as a prime example. First of all, a movie theater in a small town is always rockstar! There’s never enough to do in a small town! Plus, they actually get the good movies in a timely fashion. (Go ahead and keep in mind that I have a toddler and don’t get out much!) But I love that it is even an option. I also love that on any given Saturday night, you can find families headed to the Main Street for what Chevy Chase would call good-old-fashioned-family-fun and while there, you can chat with your neighbors or spy on the neighbor’s kid for them! I kinda think that’s awesome!
And as a mom of a toddler, I’m excited that I don’t have to pay a fortune to take my kid to an animated movie that she might not sit through!
If that wasn’t impressive enough, I happen to know there are a whole lot of people who donate money and time to help keep the theater running. Probably they wonder why they bother at times because the headaches are greater than the rewards in most cases, but from where I sit, I couldn’t be more thankful to drive by and see the lights on. I’m guessing that I’m not alone in my thinking.
Sure, you could just hop on Netflix, but there’s something special about a night out, a bag of popcorn with lots of butter, and a big screen. So mad props, Carson! Way to get it done right!
Got a story about a trip to the Dreamland Theater or some other small town movies? Let’s hear it. Got something else to say? Go ahead. Find that good, people. It’s here for the taking.
It never fails to amaze me that despite the lack of media coverage or love for Midwesterners, Midwesterners rise above! As many of you know, my suburb of choice for 20 years, Bellevue, Nebraska was hit last week by a tornado and straight-line winds. You might be wondering how that could be a feel-good story, but it is…
I still get all the social media out of Bellevue, and let me assure you, there was a lot to feel good about. I watched as more and more of my friends posted they didn’t have power. One even showing their power pole was in the shape of a lower case e. Some just got power back on 3 days ago, but the hardship wasn’t the focus. The focus was that the Bellevue East football and volleyball teams showed up to clean up the worst-hit areas after practice. (I believe some kids from West did the same.) The focus was that some of the great food places like Roma’s (um, yum, btw) dropped off food at designated spots for workers and those without power. The focus was that neighbors with chain saws helped neighbors without. The focus was that people who did have power were offering their houses for freezer space, charging stations, and places to do laundry. The focus was that, despite lots of damage, Bellevue regrouped and had their field ready for the College World Series guys to still practice there. The focus was on figuring out how to move on, and not one person got hurt.
To be truthful, I feel bad that I didn’t even know to check on some of my friends. They probably would have taken some brownies or rice krispy bars off my hands! 🙂 I honestly didn’t realize how much of Bellevue was hit, but what struck me, and what reminded me why I lived there for 20 years, was a lady who posted on the Bellevue info page who said something to the effect of “Imagine if we all talked and helped each other out like this every day.” Yes, imagine…
I’m sorry it took a tornado to bring people together, but I’m not sorry it worked.
As you head out into your day or evening, think about that. Take your neighbor the extra brownies you’re trying not to eat! Haha. Mow a yard for that elderly couple. Simply chat with the people in line at the grocery store. The world doesn’t have to be an isolated, dismal place.
It can be a phenomenal place if we choose to imagine…
Got a great aftermath story? Tell it. Gonna go do something nice for someone? Let’s hear it.
As most of you know, I’m an Iowa girl and a hometown girl and an Oakland girl. I’ve never pleaded to be anything but. We moved home for lots of reasons, but it all comes down to the fact that this is where we belong.
With that being said, I am here and advocating for my home. One of my favorite things about Iowans is that they live the Tim McGraw Humble and Kind song to a tee. The unfortunate part about that is that people forget the amazing, wonderful assets around them and start to take them for granted.
We currently live in a world of negativity. I can be more negative than most, but I know it is my fatal flaw, and I do my best to correct it each and every day. But there are far more people out there looking at the bad and focusing on it, and I hate that for everyone. I consider myself blessed to be surrounded by a lot of people who believe in good, do good, fight for the good, and find the good. I want to be one of those people, too. So I am bringing you the good. On a platter even.
This is the start of my Find the Good series. If you like it, go ahead and sign up to follow my blog over there on the right hand side, and I’ll send you a weekly reminder of what’s good around here. Or if you have suggestions, feel free to email me. Got a lot of great ideas right now, but who doesn’t want more?
This picture is why I love a small town. In the wake of an untimely and horrible death of a well-known man, people lined up to pay their respects. The lines were out into the street. Main Street was full of cars and trucks. Over a thousand people came to pay their tributes. That, my friends, is why you live here. Nothing can replace the feeling of knowing you belong and are appreciated. A well-attended funeral is a sign of a well-lived life…