In 2008, when Barack Obama was running for president, I had the opportunity to meet him in Fred and Lois Crane’s backyard in Mt. Pleasant. I got to feel the warmth of his handshake, look him in the eye, and ask a question. I didn’t care for the answer, but it was honest.
Fast forward to 2012: When I heard President Obama and Vice President Biden, along with their wives, were going to be in Iowa City the day after the Democratic convention, I jumped at the chance to see them. What a historic event, and compliment to Iowa--the candidates I had just seen the night before on television!
I didn't know it would involve standing in drizzling rain for four hours until my ankles hurt, but it was worth it. While waiting, I talked to some Chinese students. They told me that in China, they had never seen their president. They also commented on the digital camera that I carried. One student had a camera, but it was the film style. In China, they told me, there were places almost on every block where they could get their film “digitized,” but not in the U.S. It surprised me. I said that I thought China was more technologically advanced than the US. They assured me that China was not, except in high-speed rail travel. In China, very few people have automobiles. They travel mostly by train.
At this political rally, I couldn't get close enough to shake the president's hand, but a lot of people did. Iowa City seemed to wrap its collective arms around the crowd of 7,000, and embrace them with a warm complement of democracy in action—something we are so fortunate to have in the United States.
The very next day, I was right back in Iowa City for the annual Iowa/Iowa State slug fest. What an event! In the ticket line I was fortunate enough to see Marshall and Cindy Cotton from Mt. Pleasant who have two sons, Darian and Jordan, one on each of the Iowa and Iowa State football teams. Both sons are number 23! Get this, Marshall and Cindy Cotton, along with their families, were wearing number 23 jerseys that were half Iowa, and half Iowa State. What a scream, and what a celebration of the state of Iowa!
Which was typical of the way we were treated at the game. I'm an Iowa State grad, and we were wearing striped Iowa State bib overalls. Everywhere we went, we were treated with friendliness, courtesy, and smiles, even deep within the Iowa tailgating section.
That friendliness extended to the post-game walk to the shuttle train. Iowa State barely squeaked by Iowa 9-6, the same margin of victory for Iowa State last year. With a score of 9-6, you would think the only scoring came from field goals. Nope. Iowa State actually scored a touchdown on their opening drive, but failed on the point after. Can you believe it? But it typified the sloppiness of the game. It wasn't pretty.
But hey, it still goes down as a win for Iowa State, a win for the State of Iowa, and a win for Iowa City. The outcome may even be a predictor of the election: brutal slug fest, high anticipation on both sides, and a narrow margin of victory.
All showcased in Iowa City.
Have a good story? Call or text Curt Swarm in Mt. Pleasant at 319-217-0526, email him at firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit his website at www.empty-nest-words-photos-and-frames.com