When I first met my wife, I asked where she was from. She gave me the name of a little Minnesota town. I told her I didn’t know where that was. So she named another nearby town. I didn’t know where that one was either.
Out of frustration, she asked if I knew where Iowa was. I had heard of that.
“It’s near there,” she said.
Now we live there and whenever someone asks me where I am from, I just say, “Almost Iowa.”
Because I write in the first person style, occasionally my readers are fooled into believing that what I write is true. None of it is. We do not have turtles who run down deer, nor do we live next to the Minnesota State Mosquito Refuge, though you wouldn’t know it during the summer.
All of my stories are fiction. They have to be. The population of my little town is 4 (counting the chickens) and since everyone knows everybody else and everyone knows everything about everybody, I have to write in such a way that they can say, “Hey, that’s me!” and at the same time say, “No way, that’s me!”
I am not from a rural area, which is a source of constant amusement around here.
Another source of local wonder is that I spent almost 30 years working in law enforcement (though not as a cop), which still surprises most of the people I grew up with. The first ten years was with the Minneapolis Police and the last couple of decades with the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension. Readers of the Lucas Davenport and Virgil Flowers series by John Sanford (Camp) will be familiar with both agencies – though my experience working for them was never that thrilling.
I am retired now, so I have the time to write. Something I always wanted to do. They say you should write about what you know, which is why I write mostly about my wife, my little town and my odd friends.
Beyond that, it is all imagination.
107 thoughts on “About”
Six months – no you, no Stan, no mosquitos. You’re missed. 🙂
Thanks for motivating me, Judy. I wrote you a Stan story.
You see, I am a compulsive geek and for the last several months (blame COVID), I have absorbed myself in a 50 year old style of programming computers. No lie.
It was a big black mental hole that I eased myself down into. Futile? Yes, but rewarding too.
You were flexing your mental muscles. I applaud that. 👏🏻 Every once in a while surface and let us know how it goes out there and give us a dose of your wonderful dry humor. 🙂
Was this you?
Yes, it was.
I love how you came about this title, “Almost Iowa.” It appears we’re “almost neighbors” because I live in “almost Chicago.” 😁
Oh cool!! I grew up a mile from the Iowa Border. In Minnesota. Which direction from the Spam factory are you?
West toward Moscow
MY neck of the woods!! Houston County
Hmmm . . . maybe I need to retire too. If only that would make me the writer you are.
I grew up in Minneapolis… which explains why I love Orlando. I will come back and read from time to time. Having served on the Mosquito Swat Team, I empathize with your struggles with the state bird. My mom lived south of the border (Baja Minnesota) for a time before she passed. I was glad I didn’t need a passport.
Wonderful anecdotes. You have a gift. I particularly like the one about the tire gauge. I can sort of relate to your fictional account because my daughter’s hobby seems to be collecting flat tires. Unfortunately her story isn’t fiction but fortunately she doesn’t have an all wheel drive car.
You are an exceptional writer! Love your stories… Glad I found your blog!
I am trying to figure out a way to let my husband also follow your blog, but it keeps asking for his word press password, which he doesn’t remember creating. (although he’s following my blog, so maybe he did?) Anyway, do you have a way to follow without being a part of word press? If not, no worries, we will just give him a new password. But I know he would enjoy your posts, so I want him to be able to get them, too!
Ann, sorry that it took so long to get back to you. I have been doing a bit of volunteering. I have not tried to follow a WordPress blog without signing into an account. I would be curious if clicking the Follow button (if it is one visible without logging in) would allow one to follow by email only.
Beyond that, a few of my followers use pinrss.com. I do not know a thing about the site, so I would hesitant to recommend it – but rss feeds are common.
Sorry I could not be of more help.
Your home sounds like bliss, and that view is awesome. I hope when we buy our own place next year it’ll be something like yours!
Keep in mind that the picture on my header is the view looking out over the pond at the Minnesota Mosquito Refuge. However, I have to say that due to weather condition, dry and cool, we have had very few mosquitoes this year.
Very nice House, I see you have written about almost everything at your house. Must Say Interesting page 🙂
I love this and your approach! So true..I’ve found this whole thing has made dating a bit more complicated…my dates are always fearful that they will end up ‘a blog’. I guess the fact that I write mainly about the world of dating might be a reason for concern. 🙂 I love your writing and playful humor, glad I found you!
Welcome! We do have fun on this blog as you can see by the comments. I must apologize, my blogging slows down over the summer. In Minnesota, we must make the best of summer – there is so little of it.
Don’t blame you at all! Have fun, we’ll be here waiting when you finally wear yourself out! 🙂
Great intro. My wife and I live in the middle of nowhere on top of a mountain in Virginia. I love the isolation, except when I don’t, but it’s far removed from my hometown in Southeastern Ontario. And you have chickens! What’s not to like? I look forward to catching up with your work.
I can so relate to this. I live up in the Panhandle of Florida. When I tell people where I live, their very first question is “Near Mickey Mouse (Disney World)?” No. Like 8 hours away. I tell them ‘Almost in Alabama.’ Your ‘About’ made me smile.
I know the area well. My brother was stationed in Panama City for years. His wife is from Mobile. I do not know why it is but when she says, “Mobile”, it always sounds like a question.
Just read “Wrong Number” and I loved it! I thought it was an actual event that happened…only to find out here on your About page that it was fiction?! That’s awesome! Great writing.
Oh, and your site title “Almost Iowa”? Genius.
Happy I found your blog 🙂
Actually that event was real. It took place in the late 1980’s while I worked for the MPD. But yes, much of what I write is truthiness. 🙂
Oh! 😂 No wonder… still great writing though!!! *claps*
Hey, thanks for the follow! 😁
Being a Midwestern myself, your wife is spot on with her explanation. I enjoy fiction. Happy to be referred here.
Enjoy the day, Almost Iowa
I was hoping this was all
because Dinner W/ Stan & your wife would be brilliantly interesting!
I look forward to your posts! Now you are following mine and I thank you for that.
I was dumbstruck when I realized that I was not following you. Fixed that right away
Hey there. The other day I realized I hadn’t heard from the best funny guy on that side of the Mississippi lately. I miss you and your common sense.
Hey Don, I am still lurking about but only occasionally. A little more than a year and a half ago, I set a goal of writing two humor essays a week. I met that goal and moved on to longer form writing. I plan to spend more time here once the weather turns – but we will see.
Look forward to seeing more of you.
I found your page by turning left on http://flipflopseveryday.wordpress.com/ page..dunno why I took that turn but sure am glad I did.
Gosh, I didn’t know I was to the left of anything 🙂 but welcome. We have a lot of fun around here in the comments section, I hope you enjoy it.
Almost Iowa reminds me of a joke about a couple who lived on the border between MN and IA. The border got re-surveyed and moved to the north side of their house instead of the south side. They were happy. They were getting tired of the long MN winters.
As with Melanie above, I am also not from IA, but IL. I now consider myself an Iowan.
Thank you for the blog. Those of us who live near nature have many advantages over those living in cities exposed to artificial information and entertainment.
Oliver K. Manuel
MO Almost Illinois
I am an Iowan. I knew it several years ago while in an antique shop in Kalona. In the basement hung a campaign poster for a candidate for governor, early in the 20th century. “My governor?” I wondered. My governor, Iowa’s governor, an Iowan’s governor. Yes. I did not grow up here, but I am an Iowan.
My husband Jim and I blog occasionally at Our View From Iowa. We each also have “special interest” blogs that get a little more attention. You are welcome anytime to drop by our place.
I love your writing style. It reminds me of Erma Bombeck. Thank you for sharing.
Thanks David, I like writing about the simple things in life… of course sometimes I veer off into the completely weird but that is fun too.
Same here. I started my blog last week to help motivate me to get my second book finished. Other writers are inspiring! Keep me laughing and I’ll have to give you a shout out in the book:)
There are a lot of great writers on WordPress. I would caution you though, WordPress is a million miles wide and a quarter inch deep. It is hard to get traction, so do not let it get you down if it takes time to fit into a community of writers. In the end, it will be worth it.
I appreciate that advice. After my first book was released to a universe of chirping crickets, I quickly caught on to the realities of building an audience.
Those are some pretty smart chickens, being able to read and determine if the story is applicable to them or not. I don’t think I’d want to live where the poultry can outrun AND outsmart me.
Being overrun and outsmarted by chickens isn’t so bad – it beats rush hour in the Twin Cities.
Hmm. Do you have those talking chickens- like the movie Chicken Run- does one of them sound like Mel Gibson?
Sure they talk – but it is Mel Gibson who sounds like a chicken.
Thanks for the look at my blog. I lived in “Almost Iowa”–in fact, in Mabel, Minnesota. I have stories to tell about Mabel and Decorah. Then, In Sanborn, Minnesota: almost Iowa, too. RSVP.
You are welcome. Sorry it took so long to respond. I was on vacation when you posted and haven’t been to my About page in a while. [Note to self, check these things.]
Hello! I’m a big fan of your blog and have recommended you for the Versatile Blogger Award. Please feel free to accept if you’re into that sort of thing, or just ignore it and let this comment languish away as it will.
Click here for more details. https://brandedexplorer.wordpress.com/2015/07/03/i-accept-is-being-versatile-really-a-compliment/
(Now, doesn’t this message sound like spam?)
I tried to ignore it but I am to impulsive to ignore anything.
Glad I found your site here!
Thanks for following me. I’m going to poke around here for a bit. I like what I see so far.
Greetings! I have nominated you, and you have won the Versatile Blogger Award as explained in the following link: https://thehabanerooftexas.wordpress.com/2015/05/13/the-habanero-of-texas-has-been-awarded-the-versatile-blogger-award/
I saw “Almost Iowa” at Silver in the Barn, and had to come have a look-see. I grew up in central Iowa, and had family (and plenty of vacations) in Minnesota. There’s the obligatory photo of me with Paul Bunyan and Babe, me stepping across the Mississippi headwaters, me sqealing at the leeches in Leech Lake. It’s one of my favorite states. A couple of years ago I made it to the Jolly Green Giant and the Spam Museum. What’s not to like?
I laughed at the comments about the Swedes. My paternal grandparents came from south of Stockholm in the early 1900s, on the same ship but without knowing each other. They met in Minneapolis, married, and moved to Iowa. And that was that!
I’m looking forward to having a browse through your blog. I do get homesick for the midwest from time to time (in Texas, now) and this will be a fine antidote.
Glad to hear you visited the Spam Museum, that’s a hop, skip and jump down the road. We live in a little ghost town not far from Austin. Me, I am from Saint Paul – but my wife is from here. I love this area but I am still getting used to it.
I like Texas too. We spent much of February in Port Aransas and plan to go back next year.
Port A is great. I varnish boats for a living, and spent a lot of time down there, sailing and working. The fishing’s exceptional, too. It’s gotten a little upscale of late, but it’s still a fun, relaxed place — and a good place for snowbirds to roost in February!
Now you got me all jealous. 🙂
Hello! I found you over at Ned’s site this morning and just had to chuckle. I’m from Kansas which seems like it’s almost Iowa. I’m guessing your wife and I are probably related 🙂
Very nice to meet you and I am already hooked on your writing style. I look forward to reading more.
Hey, glad to meet you, Michelle. I would have responded earlier but I was on the road. If you are related to my wife that is a good thing. Everyone else around here is, so I have to say that. 🙂
Came across your website in my journey to learn more about blogging. Love your still….and your post about your wife and the litter box….she and I are sisters under the skin, and married to the same kind of loving guy! Looking forward to your posts. ~Dosa
Hey Dosa, I hope you have as much fun with blogging as I have. I like to tell tall tales and WordPress is the perfect forum for that.
Funny, I’m from the same size town as your wife, but IN Iowa. But when I say I’m from Iowa, “they” usually say, “Oh, the potato state?”. Yeah, because Iowa and Idaho are the same. Anyway, saw your post on Milk and Whiskey, saw IOWA, and had to check it out. Because us Midwestern people need to stick together.
Hey, glad you stopped by. You are right, us Midwesterner people do need to stick together.
BTW, my last marathon was the 100th running of the Boston Marathon in 1996. These days, I just jog around the block. My block is six miles around.
The Midwest is a lovely place to grow up. Then you just want to get the fuck out.
I tried leaving, no where else worked. I guess I enjoy the things about the Midwest that everyone else hates. Because it is a lovely place to grow up, it is a lovely place to raise kids.
Winters though……I’d rather be somewhere else.
Hi, I nominated you for the Very Inspiring Blogger Award. Check out the post when you have a moment: http://suburbanhobo.com/2015/01/02/very-inspiring-blogger-award/
Happy New Year!
You caught me in an airport. I’ll be off the grid until the 19th. See you then.
Sounds good! Have fun.
Love the cabin (and the blog)! It looks like a great place to write with a good cup of coffee! FYI, I linked to you in my most recent post. I hope that’s OK with you. You came recommended by a fellow blogger who I interviewed 🙂
Glad you stopped by and tell Mother Hen I am a great fan of hers too. I like what you are doing with Brews and Views, be expecting me for coffee.
Thanks man! I appreciate it! I’m glad you stopped by!
How would you like to have a third Liebster Award? Just read that you were nominated in January and May! Can you have too many of those? I don’t think so! Or I’m hoping you don’t think so! I love the humor in your writing…and I’ve nominated your blog for the Liebster Blog Award! You can find out what it is (again) and what the rules are (again) here:
Gosh, I am flattered.
It’s a bad time for me though. Our farm is off the grid and I have to drive to town to gain access to the internet. It’s been several days since I have been able to do that. You should see our township roads. Me too. Our roads are invisible because of the wind and snow.
I like your about page! And your photo is awesome of a quiet place to write (even in the snow). Twenty Ten theme is what I use too. Nice clean lines! Looking forward to ready more posts.
Hate those typos! Looking forward to READING more posts!
I am trying to get out the word about WordPress’s campaign for internet neutrality. Thanks.
The American half of my family are Minnesotans. My Dad, born and bred in Marshall. We lived in Iowa too for a few years, Cedar Rapids and Ottumwa. Nice “About” page!
Marshal, that’s prairie. My wife says, it’s the kind of place where you can look into your neighbor’s window from six miles away. “There is just no privacy,” she complains, “I need the trees or at least tall corn.” 🙂
I am thinking of taking some writing classes in Iowa City next summer.
Hey, I’m a native of the southwestern Minnesota prairie, now living in southeastern Minnesota. If you didn’t grow up on the prairie, you can find the spaciousness unsettling. But I love it–the big sky that stretches into forever, the fields, the small towns. I grew up near Marshall, which is almost South Dakota and not all that far from Iowa.
Great name for your blog, especially with the explanation given for it.
I love your “almost Iowa” story. I was born and raised in Michigan and wrote about how – when asked “where?” – we could simply hold up our left hand and point to a spot with our right hand.
Gosh, I wonder how the “Upers” work it with the hands. 🙂 Upper Michigan is one of my favorite places. It’s far enough from everywhere.
Did you know they are called Yoopers, and that became an official Dictionary word in 2013? Here’s my post about it.
Upper peninsula yoopers call lower peninsula residents “trolls”.
Just a little Michigan trivia for ya 🙂
Hey we not trolls!!
Thanks. Love the title ! Thom.
What a beautiful place to write. I am very jealous. Emma.
You know how much I enjoy your blog. Found a similar soul. It’s called Funny Sweet Chocolate: Essays by Mark Coakley. http://markcoakley.wordpress.com/
Greetings to you, lucky blogger. I shake you warmly by the hand!
I am, hereby, nominating you for the Liebster Award.
All the information you need is here -> http://www.selfmadejournalist.me/liebster-award/
Looking forward to reading more about you!
Thanks for following my blog. I really appreciate it.
You are welcome, Don. I am on the road this week but hope to be more active next week.
Gosh, I am honored.
A great blog! Looking fwd to your posts. I’ve nominated your blog for the ‘Liebester Award’ here…
I’d be glad if you accept….
Mortified by my typo! It’s ‘Liebster Award’!
I just had to say how much I loved your Ikea piece, and the product names had me laughing out loud. “Finnish Ghost Towns” and “Swedish names even Swedes can’t pronounce” were two of my favorites, and coincidentally on my list of categories in a nightmare I have about being on Jeopardy! I also liked your message, which is absolutely true. Not the cheap furniture part, but never stop dreaming together part. Looking forward to your future posts. Cheers!
Hey, thanks Ned. One of the dark secrets about Sweden (there are a lot of them) is that the Swedes themselves cannot pronounce Swedish names. It is why they came to Minnesota. Minnesotans cannot pronounce anything.
Sounds like a match made in… uh… somewhere…
Austria is beautiful place. It’s has hills and mountains. All we have here to climb is septic mounds
You must be West of me!!! The gorgeous “Driftless Region”/Coulee Region/God’s Country is where I/we call home……30 miles due South of Winona and the same due West of LaCrosse. Living on a ridge gives a body all the challenges of driving switch-back roads w/o the elevation of “serious” hills/mountains!!! LOL!
My brother lives in Pepin (behind the cheddar curtain), it’s the same topography – stunningly beautiful. We live in the only “valley” in the area. It’s not much but it is enough to block micro-wave signals so we do not have access to broadband internet.
Major “ugh” on that one!!!!! Living on a ridge, the only interference I encounter is the steel siding and roof on our home!!! LOL!
https://wordpress.com/post/73629786/1397/ award nomination no pressure
Nice anecdote! Also, nice photo. I’m from Austria and it’s snowing right now. It’s almost Austria.