A lovely fall day by the lake



This edition went to press Tuesday afternoon, before the polls closed. This column was written on Monday in the netherworld of not knowing what will happen on Tuesday. I should write something warm and magnanimous, something about our dog and fall leaves.

Mabel romped through the fall leaves that lay golden and cracking in the yet green grass.

I can’t go on like that.

This email from a friend bothers me. It says that we are fast becoming not a Christian nation because, in so many words, we endorsed Hillary Clinton and she appeared to be winning. This confused me. Pope Francis warned Saturday about tyranny rising along with walls between people. The Bishop of Sioux City, not getting the envelope from Rome, in the latest diocesan newspaper endorsed a column by some priest who endorsed the Republican platform. The Bishop of Rome and the Bishop of Sioux City do not agree, and neither do the Lutherans. Just because you don’t vote Republican does not mean you are not Christian. But I guess I do not know what it is to be a Christian anymore. “Peace. Do not be afraid,” must have been one of those liberal scribes misquoting Jesus out of context. He sure as hell wasn’t talking about a 10-year-old Syrian refugee.

Waves lapped on the rocks as the sun dappled through the Sunset Park Living Heritage Tree Museum, warming what were crisp shadows.

FBI agents in the shadows are feeding slime to the king of slime, Rudy Giuliani. Nancy Pelosi said James Comey can’t take the heat one day, and the next day the FBI director gives Clinton the all-clear over 650,000 emails on none other than Anthony Weiner’s computer. We want to know if there were photos, but Comey has gone coy and undercover until he is summoned for hearings by our own Sen. Chuck Grassley. The hearings might have to wait because Grassley has been awfully busy mowing the farm and not affirming judges.

Football. Now there’s something. How about those Tornadoes! The roster had all the colors of the rainbow, all races and creeds pulling together for the good of the team. Steve King wants to deport them because of their big cantaloupe calves, at least the Mexican ones. There were signs that the sleeping Latino vote is starting to wake up, but not enough to put King in his place. Once they take over Texas we’ll know the Alamo is lost forever and they will make everyone take naps after lunch. That is what happens. You can’t get anything done.

How about that corn crop? Easily over 200 bushels per acre. The pheasants are running for cover. You can hear the crack of the shotguns across the lake. But it’s actually been too warm for the German Shorthairs by 10 a.m. — in November.

Climate change is a hoax. People want to believe that. Especially in West Virginia. How can you tell a coal miner that windmills will be good for him once he gets a community college degree? How can you tell a guy in a small Midwestern town four hours from anywhere that he really does have a future ripe with opportunity if only we can open up export markets to Asia and ship them more of that corn he is shoveling at the elevator, the only job in town?

Boy oh boy that Storm Lake performing arts center is sure something. Brand spanking new. It’s a credit to the community.

Which reminds me that most rural Iowa schools are losing students, losing revenue and losing options fast, as the Iowa Legislature puts a stranglehold on education funding. It has not met the rate of inflation in recent years. A massive shift is underway in Iowa, away from rural places and toward urban centers, but the state continues to believe it is a land of yeoman farmers. Gov. Terry Branstad says he might shut down the last two mental health institutes, including Cherokee, and probably will meet no effective resistance in the legislature.

The creeks are still running. Subsoil moisture is excellent. We should be well on our way to another great corn crop next year. Tyson is expanding, rooftops are going up in Storm Lake.

My neighbor doesn’t know if she will be deported someday. She is a hard worker who wants to go to Iowa State, cheer on the Cyclones and move back to Storm Lake and make a difference. Elections have consequences. She knows.

Life goes on. The waves will lap. The leaves will fall. The dog will run.

And Iowa was likely to vote for Trump. He would make us great again. The Hawkeyes could win the Rose Bowl. If we could get rid of those Mexicans with special deportation squads, Storm Lake could be great again and half the size with an average age of 60. No more burrito carts. They can clog up a town. That’s what half of Iowa thinks. That was the main thrust of the Trump campaign. It’s what happens when you spend so little on education and dumb down an entire state. It’s what happens when the young people flee because we have so little to offer them. And the young people who do want to be here — like my Latina neighbor — half of us or more want to run them off by jackboots.

Someday I will write a column about how gorgeous Storm Lake is in the fall. It truly is. Looks can be deceiving under the leaves.