Living in Society

Boone Work Day

Cars parked behind the garage.

The detached garage near the alley was damaged when a tall pine tree broke in half during December’s straight-line winds. It wasn’t a tornado, yet might as well have been. The top part of the tree crushed the garage roof and created multiple openings for rain to fall through. Things got wet. It was packing time for my sister-in-law’s move this week.

Boone is a red flag city. There is a bustling main street with an abundance of shops and restaurants. They don’t wear face masks any longer in Boone. I didn’t see a mask other than ours during the entire visit. They vote Republican in Boone. Donald Trump won the 2020 election with 56 percent of the county’s votes. One building on the main street has a larger than life mural of him painted in red and black. Many locals do not view it as the monstrosity it is.

Boone was established in 1865 and the following year the Chicago and North Western built a railway station. The Boone & Scenic Valley Railroad survives as a tourist attraction, echoing the cultural heritage. Railroad tracks cross the main street in two places. Most locals know to drive around the crossings when a train stops. I learned how to do that during our visit.

The trip meant two days of physical work for me, organizing the garage for the movers, carrying things up from the basement, and packing the book shelves. While I did my work on Sunday, my spouse and her sister packed up the house. I needed the break from a deep winter feeling created by staying home and mostly indoors the last several months. I feel weary, yet refreshed.

We stayed overnight Saturday at one of the four motels in Boone. It was rated 3.2 stars out of five. When we returned home, the garden seedlings looked good. I watered them and they should survive. It’s time to set up the greenhouse and move them outdoors.

The physicality of preparing for a move can be handled. The emotional part is something else. Every item has to be dealt with, including projects started and not finished, photographs and artifacts from a long life, and consequences of decisions made to acquire things for home use. It didn’t take long to fill the dumpster. Add the trauma of valued artifacts damaged by rain and it can become an emotional roller coaster. We can feel upset by failures, although I found there were more positives than negatives to experience. There is hope for a future for everyone involved.

After two days of work, we didn’t finish, yet that’s the time we had. We made good progress and the work can be finished before the movers arrive.

Sometimes we need a work day away from home. It is a retreat from daily patterns that helps renew us. A work day before moving can be tiring in a good way. There is hope for a better future no matter the status of one’s life.

2 replies on “Boone Work Day”

Boone and Webster City were the “cities” of my youth that I would go to from my little town, but I now can’t remember the last time I was in either of those towns. I think it was before my father died. My musical partner Dave Moore’s wife is from Boone. Interesting to here that there’s still a functioning main street.

Out of out of state curiosity, what’s a Red Flag city?

I’m just back from a long drive to and from Des Moines (long story as to why,,,) and I too noticed the relative rarity of masks indoors. At my age, and with friends that are my age or older, I wore my N95 inside.

I think the area was always solidly Republican, though I was somewhat insulated in my youth as I lived next door to a man who ran twice as a Democrat for State Representative (didn’t win) in the Sixties.

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Thanks for reading my post. My spouse first used the term “red flag city” while we were there, as in they fly the red flag (for extreme right wing conservative). I thought it was apt so I used it. I like these sorts of locally generated phrases. I suppose linguistics folks have a formal name for them.

Been thinking about the 1936 film The Trail of the Lonesome Pine where they used colloquialisms to reflect backwoods folk in Appalachia. The female lead, June Tolliver, becomes enraptured by the male lead Fred Hale and his sophisticated demeanor. According to June Tolliver, this time of year is when “green up” takes place. Can’t argue with that usage.

Iowa voted for Nixon in 1964, so the red runs deep in Boone and elsewhere.

Thanks again, Frank


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