a lifetime ago, about nineteen-ninety-one, when i had my very first, tiny, studio apartment…wendy and i were sitting on the floor, watching my old, thirteen inch, color tv…while sweating, in front of our “makeshift air conditioner”…a block of ice, sitting in front of an ancient, rusting, metal, box fan…which blew the “cool” air directly on us.
we sat mesmerized watching a brand-new breed of television show, as it unfolded before our eyes. it was the nineteen-nineties, the show was “cutting edge,””raw,” and “graphic.” the show, a pioneer in reality television, was “cops.” the show portrayed the “real” lives of men and women, in law enforcement.
wendy and i, were just enthralled by the “crazy” people screaming at each other…the drunks who failed field sobriety tests…the gang bangers who ran from and were taken down by police dog’s…and, the prostitutes and john’s getting caught in the act. we had never seen anything like it before.
we happened to catch one particular episode, where a very intoxicated woman was sitting in some bushes, drinking and harassing passers-by. she was throwing bottles, cursing, spitting, and kicking at the officer’s, whenever they attempted to crawl in and drag her out.
finally, it took two officer’s, but they were able to drag her out of the bushes. they cuffed her hands, behind her back and made her sit down on a cement, parking pylon. one of the the officer’s asked her what she was doing and why. then, he read the irate woman her rights.
the woman began talking. she was very adamant and passionate, in her message. she looked at the officer and insisted, “but, i am from iowa. but, i am from iowa. but, i am from iowa.” the episode ended, when she was placed in the back of a squad car, still insisting, “but, i am from iowa…”
to this day, wendy and i still laugh about that episode. when one of us makes a mistake and are called out on it, the excuse…”but, i am from iowa.”
it’s funny, but that was my very first impression of what, i thought a person from iowa, might be like. i made it through forty-eight years of life, without ever personally meeting anyone from iowa. i guess that the fact never occurred to me, until i actually met, an iowan.
the iowan that i became friends with, blew my simple, ridiculous, first impression out of the water. she was very educated, well-spoken, intelligent, funny, grounded, curious, full of wonder, intuitive, feeling, and multidimensional.
my friend from iowa was pretty special. she sang and studied opera, was an ordained minister, an interior designer with a love of architecture, a social services advocate, a handywoman who remodeled her basement, a potter, a jewelry maker, an artist, a business owner, a fantastic mother, a great friend, a gourmand, an incredibly hard worker, a professional, a dreamer, a full time student, and a registered nurse.
i miss my friend and although we no longer talk, her stories and notions of iowa have stayed with me. at one point, i thought that, we might have lived in iowa, or at least visited together…it never happened, but iowa never entirely left my mind.
so here it is…monday, december twelfth, two-thousand-sixteen…at nine-thirty-nine pm. here i am…in henderson, nevada…the middle of the desert…during the late fall, early winter.
my wardrobe consists of: twenty-three pairs of socks and underwear, seven bras, nine pairs of shorts, nine t-shirts, one polo shirt, one short-sleeved-button-up-shirt, one set of jammies, one long-sleeved-thermal-shirt, one baseball cap, one bathrobe, and two pairs of tennis shoes.
when i look down into my lap, i see a tiny bundle, a physical-mental-and-emotional blessing, my service and support buddy, buggs, who was recently placed with me. buggs now encourages me to keep going, doing, and moving on a daily basis. he can and does go with me everywhere, and keeps me on an exercise schedule and routine, each day.
so here’s the ironic, missing piece of this peculiar, jigsaw story…on thursday, december fifteenth, two-thousand-sixteen…at three-oh-seven pm…buggs and i will be boarding allegiant air, flight four-ninety-six…headed to des moines, iowa.
once we arrive in des moines, we will pick-up our rental car and drive to a town called, greenfield. once in greenfield, buggs and i, will be spending the holiday with my friend and her family.
this trip is something that i would’ve never even entertained eight months ago. i was nearly one hundred pounds heavier, severely out of shape, unable to breathe or catch my breath upon exertion. i had an extremely difficult time staying awake, staying asleep, and sometimes even sleeping. i was a complete and utter train wreck. i was sad, lonely, and felt very poorly about myself.
i am very grateful for iowa, she spun my head around and got it on straight. now, i am better prepared and ready to be absolutely present, as buggs and i, embark on this exciting, new adventure to someplace that seems to hold some kind of significance for the two of us…whether it’s just because we’ve never been there before, or because we’ve always been meant to go…we will go and come back different.
and when wendy comes to pick us up, at the las vegas airport…i am going to greet my friend of nearly twenty-seven years, with a gigantic hug, and whisper, “but, i am from iowa…”