It started with baseball and incipient madness, like any good Americana event. My cousin Steve loves baseball, Twins baseball, and is now that guy who travels four hours to watch Twins minor league prospects. He suggested taking a weekend trip down to Cedar Rapids, IA to watch the Cedar Rapids Kernals, a low A-level minor league Twins affiliate that happens to have one of the best prospects in all Major League Baseball.
But let's backtrack first-I promised you a weekend of Americana. On Friday night, I went on a 2nd date that involved dinner, a movie, and drinks. I felt like a slick-haired boy on his way to a 1950's sock hop-we even ate at a deli that closes at 8 PM and has a proud collection of soda pops before going to the Riverview Theater, which itself is a 1950's style theater. This blog is not a goddamn Sex and the City monologue, but one has to admit such an evening is chock full of Americana, no?
Then came Saturday and Steve and I found ourselves descending, in early June, into the heart of Iowa. We stayed in Cedar Rapids, in a Best Western within easy walking distance of the downtown bar scene. We drank a couple of $1.25 draft beers in the hotel bar before setting out to the stadium, about eight blocks away. The scene at the stadium was festive and relaxed-Iowegians all set to let their blond hair down and watch some minor league baseball.
Not only did the game involve a chance family reunion, beer, cheeseburgers, and a 15-1 shellacking, but they had FIREWORKS AFTER THE FUCKING GAME. Fireworks! By this point I was basically channeling John Mellancamp. Then it was off to the surprisingly lively Cedar Rapids night scene, which provided some serious people watching, and stumbling home around 2 AM.
The next morning we hit an honest to good greasy spoon and feasted on "The Iowa Farmer" ham and cheese omelets and biscuits and gravy while drinking black coffee.
After breakfast, it was on to a second game of Kernels baseball. It was bring your dog to the park day and the appropriate amount of doggy madness ensued from that. Finally, we dragged our foggy selves into the car and drove home. We came back to St. Paul on 52 and witnessed a beautiful slow pink sunset over the freshly planted farm fields of Iowa and southern MN, mist lying low on the ground, the whole world turning blue as The Pines played on the radio, all of what's pretty good about America seeping through our cells.