Tuesday, July 6, 2010


breadbasket, originally uploaded by real_voodooboy.
I-55 just south of St. Louis is demurely stunning. You get the sudden rise of granite and limestone, the crust of the planet casually displayed like pink flesh in a skater's gnarly scar. The trees and hills are unabashedly Rockwell/Kincade topped off with pink and white clouds the same color as church picnic jello salad.

I project this Keillor-esque, passive-aggressive, stifled ego onto the place quickly and defensively because I'm from here but not of here. I am of a place that can barely keep its hands off itself; fully, blindly enrapt with every mosquito-y patch of swamp, ever bowl of red beans, every shrimp boat viewed from every bridge stitching up every bayou and canal. Most people sensibly flee when some yahoo with an accordion shows up; we make a thing out of it and correct your pronunciation.

Midwestern self love is more like the reaction of a tight-haired housewife whose daughter's loveliness has been remarked upon: "Hm, she is a nice looking girl. Not much sense, though," turning back to making that jello salad.

Be like that if you must, breadbasket of my youth, but I lose my breath a little every time on this stretch of road and I'm OK with saying so.

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