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Serving: IA

Home Sweet Home

A trip to Lake Michigan makes us ponder a better version of home.

I've never had a great hankering to live anywhere but where I am. I don't long to live in Hawaii or Paris or Italy. I wouldn't mind to visit. In fact, I'd love to go to South Africa. But I'd want to come home.

The mountains don't call my name either. Again, I wouldn't mind to visit. But I'd want to come back home. Home to wide open prairie, rolling hills, big blue skies, the comfort of rows of corn, cattle somewhere in the nearby distance.

And changing seasons. My goodness, how do people live with only one climate? I asked my five-year-old last week what his favorite season was, and he replied, "What's dat one where da weaves fawll down?"

Exactly. Fall. How could you live without fall? And fall on the farm, especially?

I spent four years in a city, doing college in Champaign-Urbana. But I knew it was temporary. I spent a summer in Bloomington, working an internship with Growmark. Temporary again, and easy to escape when the concrete became too much. I did another summer in Washington, D.C., where the work wasn't so hard but the getting to work could just about push you over the edge. Trains, planes and automobiles; it was a mess. I flew home for a friend's wedding one weekend that summer, became stranded in O'Hare and found myself in a puddle of tears, because for the love of all things holy, I just wanted to see a corn field.

I've been to Texas, New England and Florida. Colorado, Arizona, Tennessee and of course, all over the greater Midwest. They were all lovely. But they weren't home.

That may have changed last week. I met Michigan.

She has sandy beaches and corn. And a lake. And blueberries! Her corn may not quite measure up to Illinois', but after a week on the lovely beaches of Lake Michigan, I think I could live with that.

OK, so we're not picking up the farm and moving anytime soon. But with sandy beaches only five hours away, we're sure gonna go back.

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