No, it's Iowa, which is pretty much the farthest thing from heaven in the winter. But it's spring now, and though any sane person would still never confuse Iowa with heaven, it's not such a bad place this time of year. It's a little greener and a little warmer than Minnesota, and I have an insatiable appetite for both.
What better excuse to head south of the (Minnesota) border for the first time since Christmas than a holiday weekend? Crossing into Iowa yesterday, I was greeted with the "Fields of Opportunities" sign. I can still remember when, years ago, that phrase narrowly topped "Where Excitement Goes to Die" in the vote for Iowa's official state slogan. Few people realize that the state is so flat that on the clearest summer days, eastern Nebraskans can actually see into western Illinois. Speaking of random Iowa trivia, did you know that 76% of people who enter the state do so by accident? That'll teach 'em to miss an exit...but enough about Iowa.
It's more than just a typical holiday weekend. Sure, it's Easter tomorrow, which means we'll be celebrating the 700th anniversary of the time Jebus slayed Goliath in the ultimate showdown of 1312 A.D. At least that's how I remember the story going....but Easter also happens to fall between my parents' birthdays this year, which means there's even more reason to celebrate this weekend. It also means that it was time to sharpen the old gift-wrapping skills and prepare to unload some food samples from work on the unsuspecting birthday beneficiaries.
Don't let the quality of the finished product deceive you--that's three pages of newspaper and about five pieces of tape holding those together. Conservation never looked so good. Grandma put a little more time and effort into the event:
Between the two of them, my parents would need more candles than we could ever light before the cake turned into a smouldering pile of ash, so we took the fast and easy way out and went with one candle, then doused it with lighter fluid and torched the whole thing. Saved us a good twenty minutes and a few boxes of matches. After the fire department left (kidding of course; it was delicious!), we started preparing for tomorrow's Jebus festivities:
I'd be a lot more excited about eating eggs every morning if my breakfast were always this colorful. After a cloudy and rainy start to the weekend, the sun made an appearance in the afternoon. And speaking of colorful, like I said before, Iowa definitely has a head start over Minnesota in the green department:
My family is the proud owner of the state's largest hill, located conveniently behind our garage. When this thing finally gets the recognition it deserves and the tourists start pouring in--and I'm certain they will--I'll be set for life. But in the meantime, it's a real pain keeping those pesky children with their sleds and snowboards away in the winter.
That's all for tonight...I have less then twenty-four hours remaining before I have to once again head northward. Now I'm off to grab my tranquilizer gun and man my lookout post; this is the year I finally bring down the Easter bunny and find out for myself if he is hollow or made of solid chocolate. I can't think of a finer way to honor Jebus's come-from-behind victory over Goliath all those years ago.