As you may or may not recall from my first blog, I recently moved back to Des Moines, my hometown, after a year writing in the Marketing Dept of Purdue University.
While living there, I came back a half-dozen or so times. To check on my house, fetch the winter wardrobe, etc. And to enjoy a few things not necessarily unique to Des Moines but unavailable in Lafayette, Indiana. Like Bruegger’s Bagels. No fooling, no Bruegger’s. It’s in every state surrounding Indiana, just hasn’t found a place to breech the border.
Like Taco John’s. I know, I know. Another chain. But a simple, inexpensive chain. Besides – Sacco rhymes with taco and who doesn’t like Taco Tuesday!
There are the very uniquely Des Moines things I missed like crazy. Farmer’s markets. Art festivals. Music festivals. The Italian Festival. Beaverfest. Highland Park’s Sweet Corn Feed. Sweet corn, period! Hiland Bakery’s cream cheese Danish. Jazz in July. Going out to hear Tony Valdez without it being a 900-mile round trip.
Bike trails – gawd I missed bike trails. Don’t get me wrong, the four or five miles of bike trails in Lafayette were great …
I missed Bobby Tursi’s Latin King. Two words: Penne Regine. I missed Gino’s, although I kept a jar of Creamy Italian salad dressing in the ‘fridge. Kind of sad to see the Second Ave. location close, but everyone deserves to retire.
Did you know Steak DeBurgo is uniquely Des Moines? I didn’t. I thought everyone knew that pleasure. I got a personal, in-the-kitchen low-down on making it from Rich Fleener, former chef at J. Benjamin’s and other places.
Forgive my sappiness. Sometimes I look back before I can begin looking forward.
A few years ago, I started a list of “stuff” that’s no longer in Des Moines. I’ll see if I can retrieve if off my hard drive and share it with y’all. Gino’s needs to go on the list. Same with Suzette’s. Does anyone on earth sell chocolate-covered strawberries like Suzette’s? No, that’s not a rhetorical question, I gotta know!
And yet it’s great to look around and see all the cool things going on and being enjoyed in Des Moines. Do I have to say it: Des Moines is NOT boring!
I learned a lesson a long time ago as a writer: If you think of something in the middle of the night, get up and get it down. Scribble it, record it – just don’t kid yourself into thinking it’ll still be there in the morning. I had one of those thoughts recently — Why is it God’s plan for us gets interrupted by life? John Lennon said, “Life is what happens while you’re making plans.” Point is, grab life with both hands. There’s plenty of life in Des Moines.
Life has once again landed me in Des Moines. I can think of worse places I could be. In fact, I just left one.
I’m cool with being back.