Social Commentary

Directions in High Summer

Lake Macbride
Lake Macbride

LAKE MACBRIDE— Some days it’s hard to know the path. On Friday, still tired from long days in Chicago and facing a full slate of regular work combined with the search for paying work, it was a bust. Saturday was better, engaging in society— a slow walk with neighbors and friends.

Part of living in Iowa is an endless stream of birthdays, graduations, anniversaries and other celebrations. On Saturday there were two, the one year wedding anniversary reception for a friend in the peace and justice movement, and a 50th wedding anniversary reception for a neighbor I got to know shortly after we moved to Big Grove. Both events served great food and drink, and enabled me to get caught up with friends.

Conversations included a discussion of dating in the 1960s, the recent Green Party national convention in Iowa City, next week’s Veterans for Peace national convention, what to do with zucchini, demonstrations for nuclear abolition, nuclear power, Blackhawk and Poweshiek, pioneer cemeteries, gardening, a YouTube video shot in high summer and more.

I don’t often visit Central City, where one of the events was held, and stopped for directions. Off Highway 13, a local was selling produce. He had a grain wagon decorated with advertising for his farm stand on the highway. When I asked if he was from the area, he said, “of course.”

He sold seasonal produce, the usual fare, including melons, zucchini and tomatoes. He had a flat of Missouri peaches, fresh and made into jam, and when asked about them, showed one he had begun to slice, offering a taste. Sweet and juicy. I bought a pound and a half for two dollars and he gave me directions to the park where the event was being held. Of course, he knew where it was.

Two decades after the rise of the Internet, being with people in social settings remains compelling. We are drawn to events with a craving for company. Bearing cards with handwritten notes, hoping to give greetings and hear stories, little has changed over centuries.  It is an important part of sustaining a life on the Iowa prairie, and help in finding our way in a turbulent world.