You could do worse than to drive from Wisconsin to Iowa.


You could stay in a long flat motel in Osceola, Iowa, that claims to be the best in the U.S., walk outside in the morning and breathe in the smell of frying ham. Then, you could eat breakfast at Nana Greer’s Family Table where the back of the wait staff’s T-shirts says: “Home-cooked food so good you’ll think we stole your mother,”

You could eat the pancake. And not make the pretend-dieting move of using only half the butter. You could use all the butter and a ton of syrup. Because you’re in Iowa and you want to fit in.


In the parking lot, you could spy a restored Dodge truck and ask your husband to take a picture because, of course, the truck is red as it should be, being a restored truck in Iowa. And red is your favorite color.


And you might look at the photo and notice that you really need a new pair of jeans, that the ones you are wearing are worn and washed-out but then you think, well, that’s as it should be because next is Kansas and then Oklahoma to find out more about people who endured the Dust Bowl, folks who didn’t think about their jeans or much else except hanging on to their families and their lives.