116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
I like hoodies. They are comfortable, warm, and often celebrate an enterprise, a team or a place. I especially like the place ones.
My first place hoodie was Earlham. Belle Plaine, West Liberty and Lone Tree soon joined my closet. Waukon, Bellevue, and Montezuma may be next on my list. I'm just getting started.
The other day I bought a Coralville hoodie. In 2023, Coralville will celebrate 150 years. I was born in Washington and grew up in Iowa City. But for a short stint — only a few months, I think — my young parents, my older siblings lived in Coralville before settling a bit southeast of the Old Capitol.
Later on, I went to Northwest Junior High.
I don't remember attending the drive-thru movie theater on Highway 6 but I'm sure my siblings did.
Long before Coralville was known for shopping at Coral Ridge Mall and Iowa River Landing, long before Hayden Fry Way and Heartlander pucks flying across the ice, there were tasty, cheap and accessible dining options on the "Strip." As a kid I must have eaten more in Coralville than in Iowa City.
There was Green Pepper, Purple Cow, and Carousel. There was King's, where you sat in booths and ordered by phone. And on First Avenue, way out by the interstate, there was the comfort food of Myer's Truck Stop.
My nourishment and my education, to some extent, were procured in Coralville. I belong to Coralville. I am happy to celebrate it.
Most threads of my family came to the United States and Iowa decades before Coralville was born. They came from places I can identify — Scotland, Belgium, France, Germany, Ireland, Sweden. A DNA analysis adds relatives from Syria, Lebanon, or Jordan and from the Baltics. Family lore, and a scribbling (not entirely to be trusted) in a bible, says I am fractionally Lenape.
My Iowa ancestors settled in Wheatland, Andrew, Charlotte, Correctionville, Riverside, Wellman, and Parnell. Their descendants have spread the diasporic seep to Cedar Rapids, Marshalltown, Atkins, Hills, North Liberty, Melbourne, What Cheer, and — gasp — Illinois.
Why am I sharing my geographical and municipal reminisces? I really have no idea. Except it is a big, bright world and a brand-new year is approaching. Boundaries, categories, and other delineations have their uses but they are sometimes at their best when they are traversed.
Down the street, across town, even a few miles further along the highway, there are people to meet, things to do, experiences to have.
In Iowa, you can meander from Ainsworth to Zwingle. You can do it with Agency, Confidence, or Defiance. Your adventure will be Fertile and nourished with Gravity and Independence. You may find yourself in a Lost Nation but also in Jamaica, Panama, Persia, and Westphalia. You will never find yourself at a Last Chance to be curious.
Exploration and interaction may become your Avoca-tion.
I'll stop with the itinerant humor here.
Yet (ghosted) Bon Accord (good agreement) is just a few blocks from my home. Standing there, in a field now crusted with snow and dotted with cut cornstalks, let me wish you a Happy New Year.
Patrick Muller lives in Hills.
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