Iowa is my home. It’s where I was born, raised, grew up and attended college. All four of those life instances took place in different parts of the state. I was born and raised in a small town (I refer to as home home) of 1,200 peeps, moving to the Des Moines area when I was in eighth grade (which is where I “grew up” so-to-speak) and became a Hawkeye when I attended the University of Iowa. Due to a downhearted event with the passing of a cousin, I needed to get home home (where I was born and raised) in the corner of Southwest Iowa with a few day’s notice earlier this month. Me trying to figure out how the fuck to get where I needed to go with 3,612 moving parts was like the worst algebra problem I ever faced.
Do I fly into Des Moines or Cedar Rapids? Who can pick me up on short notice? Should I try to borrow a car? What about getting back to the airport? Do I have to have the gold star on my license yet to fly? WHAT IS GOING ON?!
Performing this feat is like trying to get to Mars (where’s Jeff Bezos when I need him?) because once you land at one of the two major airports in Iowa (IF you can find a last minute flight there), you still have hours to go by car in order to wind up at your final destination. Thank fuck I have friends and family who put in time and effort acting as travel agents, angel investors (flying to Iowa isn’t cheap in the first place and one of the flights I saw to book cost $6,000 with a layover – my ticket was nowhere near that pricey) and Pussy Posse sitters to make this last second shit happen for me.
Once travel plans were set on a Friday for me to leave the following day, I acted as if I’d never flown anywhere before and found my leopard suitcase full of 2019’s St. Patty’s day shit.
After unloading it, I texted a family member, asking what she was wearing to the funeral service (as I was planning on a black dress). She responded….and I could only imagine one thing pictured below.
Now, I’m not the end all be all when it comes to the fashion police but there are a few things I loathe more than Crocs footwear (when not properly used for yard work or as non-slip work shoes) but jean capris rank right up there (she did not, in fact, wear jean capris to the funeral, FYI).
After throwing what black dress I thought might fit into a suitcase, I was ready to head to the airport where I realized I hadn’t checked in 24 hours prior to my flight and if you’ve ever flown Southwest, you know that’s a grave mistake. The seating starts at A-1 and ends at C-50 in order of boarding the flight.
Indeed I was the final person to board the full aircraft and I realized I forgot my hand sanitizer but that ended up being the least of my worries once I found the last open seat.
Arriving to Iowa without incident, I was greeted by Aunt Crispy and Uncle Toddy (the man who taught me to snort knox blocks up my nose as a kid) at the airport and escorted to their fab abode for a night’s stay.
Adding further insult to my fashion sense, the fella picking me up from Uncle Toddy’s the following day arrived to escort me to Southwest Iowa in what he calls “time savers”. Naturally I voiced my concern at his footwear choice immediately but all was forgiven being that he adorned an Iowa Hawkeye hat even thought he attended the rival school.
Upon arrival at my stay in Lenox, I was shown to the guest quarters where the bed made me resemble André the Giant. I couldn’t decide if it was adorable or creepy as fuck but regardless of my feelings, I slept on a very accommodating air mattress that would allow for my short legs to stretch long.
Even with a comfy sleeping arrangements, I basically stared at the back of my eyelids all night, dreading the next day in that we were saying goodbye to my smiley cousin Linda.
While it was a hard, it was a beautiful day to celebrate Linda’s life. I was the youngest grandkid by far on this side of the family. Linda was ALWAYS so pretty and doing something cool that seemed so fabulous to me and I couldn’t wait to be like her (and her sister Dianne) one day.
The “didn’t wear Jean Capris” and “Time Saver sandals with socks” folks ordered a gorgeous flower arrangement for the celebration service. This complicated as fuck bouquet was ordered from a town over, that didn’t deliver and proved to be a challenge in the day’s events because we (Jean Capris) worried about getting it to the final destination for no less than 12 hours in the three pieces it came in.
Thank fuck there’s no stoplight in this town because by going slightly under the 15 mph speed limit, the flowers, statue and candles in this arrangement made it in one piece. They knew better than to entrust me with anything that could be dropped – or – broken if I had a slip and fall (very common for me these days).
One of the best things about awful days like this are seeing the peeps and family you grew up alongside. The folks who shaped (and tolerated my ass) in the early years of life. We’re missing a few cousins for the now vs. then pic but they were there with us in spirit.
I couldn’t imagine what my closest cousin on this side was feeling, losing her older sister. But man, it felt good getting to hug on her and see that she has not aged one bit with the time that has passed.
I ran into a few teachers of my old teachers at the service and I could NOT bring myself to call them by their first names even though decades have passed and we’re friends on Facebook. Mrs. Shawler, Mr. Peterson, and Mr. Oliphant (who assisted me when I got hit in the face with a baseball bat in 7th grade and told my terrified ass I was going to need stitches), were all among the crowd paying respect.
It’s been at least a dozen years since Time Saver and Jean Capris had their photo nabbed with these three gorgeous gals. The most contemporary pic they have of me is my high school senior class photo and I’m not mad about it in the slightest because I pretty much peaked in high school.
As we gathered to celebrate Linda’s life, you couldn’t help but see the love she had for her family and especially, her kids.
I’m so very thankful and lucky to all of those who helped get me to my final destination in a day’s notice. Being home home meant the world in order to say goodbye to my cousin and hello again to family I hadn’t gotten to lay eyes on in real life for years. The trip was brief, sad and fulfilling in all of the ways.
As if we need this reminder in today’s world, say what you need to say, hug when you can hug and love the fuck out of people while they’re here.
Also, don’t wear socks with slip on sandals – no matter how much time it saves you.
Stay safe out there. Remember others as you go about your days. You never know whose life you could be saving by getting vaccinated and masking up.
Thanks for being a part of my village.
Love ya, mean it.