|Joe Ossman rode with me two days ago.|
Eastern Iowa (very hilly).
And the people are nice. Today, I ate breakfast in Allison, Iowa, and was invited to sit with three beautiful women, Donna Kruse, Gladys Henders and Mary Hewitt. Allison is the county seat of Butler County, but my breakfast companions told me their county is the only one in Iowa without a single stoplight. In fact, the only cafe in town recently closed--a curse of many small towns in middle America--and so breakfast was being served by some other kind and beautiful women from the Amvets Auxillary in the Amvets Hall. All three of the women I sat with have lived their entire lives in Iowa; but they admit that most young people are leaving because there aren't enough jobs.
Again, they called the local paper and I am now apparently going to have my picture on AllisonIowa.com (or maybe AllisonIa.com).
If this keeps up, I'm going to expect a statue to be erected in my name soon.
Most of the rest of the day was uneventful, although as the afternoon wore on my rear tire seemed to be losing air; so I pumped it up, and it deflated slowly again, but not as slowly as before. I'm stubborn, so I kept pumping it back up. But each time I got less and less distance on a full supply of air.
Dave lives with his son and his wife Judy in Clear Lake, Iowa, a really beautiful resort town. So they invited me to go to dinner on the lake and we had a great pizza and took another back to Russell, who is still working late as I type at around 11 p.m. Judy works for one of the newspapers in the area and Dave works for the Lutheran Church and you couldn't find a nicer pair. They even gave me a tour of the town, and although Russell joked earlier that "Iowa resort town" was an oxymoron, this is a beautiful area. (I'd estimate that Clear Lake is about ten square miles in surface area.)
|Dave and Judy.|
I know Dave and I were talking about climate change and how many Americans don't believe it's a problem; but I'm not so sure. Dubuque had 14 inches of rain in one night recently; and Chicago had almost 7 inches in two hours; and one of the warning signs scientists have been predicting would be freakish weather events. I also saw a tiny article recently, noting that a whale from the Pacific had crossed over through the Artic into the Atlantic, something scientists say hasn't happend for 200,000 years.
It's also interesting to me that almost every lake, pond and stream I've passed in the last ten days is clogged with thick green algae, the result of farm fertilizer run-off. This same run-off into the Mississippi causes a dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico every year, where algae is so thick oxygen in the water is depleated and fish can no longer live.
This year the dead zone was the largest ever, 8,500 square miles (I think), bigger than New Jersey.
I taught World History, and I know many societies in the past collapsed when they collapsed their own environments.
So call me "worried."
|Caesar started as a dishwasher in his|
cousin's restaurant twenty years ago.
I asked him what a "bad" day was in his place. He said when they served 500. "What's a good day?" I asked in astonish-ment.
"We serve 2,000."
Caesar is a lot like Russell. A man committed to his job, to doing it right.
So, yep: I believe America still gains by immigration.
|Russell in his shop. The guy is good.|
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