August 11, 2007

Iowa's Great Lakes

The old feeder's few days off turned into a week. The relatives I went to visit live in Arnolds Park, Iowa during the summer. It is a lake resort area the Chamber of Commerce touts as the Iowa Great Lakes. West Lake Okoboji, one of a number of fair sized lakes (for Iowa) is quite deep, and therefore often appears a beautiful blue. It is also the main campus of the University of Okoboji, a renowned school for slackers. Here is their on-line entrance exam.

My family's roots in this area go back a few generations, and the town has really changed since I was a kid. The Iowa lakes of my youth exuded a quintessential seediness: tiny cabins, rowdy bars, raunchy entertainments, and a rickety, peeling amusement park with Gypsy fortune tellers. It sure ain't the same now. The place was packed with giddy vacationers and grinning bible beaters last week.

I heard at least one cat lamenting that "the park has been ruined" by the new, almost Disney Landish clean and painted look. I checked the place out pretty thoroughly, and there are still a few pockets of seediness to be found. Even some raunchiness remains. So the vacation took a bit longer than expected, what with all this investigating.
Plains Feeder contributor DadGum, who just happens to be my first cousin once removed, put me up for a few nights at his surrealist pad. He lives in the next county to the south of the Iowa Great Lakes. Driving back and forth, I was surprised to see small crowds of political sign waving Iowans gathered on the streets. These Iowa cats are already all hopped up on the next General Election. How can they keep it up for another year?

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