50 in 50

Kentucky: Pop Tarts and Post-it Notes. Baseball Bats and Disco Balls. But wait, there’s more…

…the whole blue valley spread out before us, and the monastery and all the barns and gardens standing amid the trees below us under a big blue sweep of Kentucky sky, with those white, incomparable clouds… —Thomas Merton,  The Seven Story Mountain Hot Pockets. Pop Tarts. JIF peanut butter. Coal. Thoroughbred horses. Houseboats. Tobacco. Bourbon. BowlingContinue Reading “Kentucky: Pop Tarts and Post-it Notes. Baseball Bats and Disco Balls. But wait, there’s more…”

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Kansas: There’s no place like home…

–Guest Blog Post By Suzanne Parsons Greetings, Dear Readers!  I’m Suzanne, Tina’s sister-in-law in Kansas–yes, I sew and quilt and make things.  My tools are sewing machine, needles and thread; my materials are wool and cotton.  It’s not a hobby; it’s something I need to do. If I showed you my sewing room–you’d think you’dContinue Reading “Kansas: There’s no place like home…”

50 in 50

Iowa: If you build it, workers will come.

John Kinsella: Is this heaven? Ray Kinsella: It’s Iowa. John Kinsella: Iowa? I could have sworn this was heaven. —Field of Dreams (1989) *** Did you know that in Iowa–yes, heavenly, heart-of-the-corn-belt Iowa–hogs outnumber people 4 to 1? That’s 12 million hogs to 3 million people, in case you’re wondering. And yet in 1978, whenContinue Reading “Iowa: If you build it, workers will come.”

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Simple Sorrows, Simple Joys

Autumn returned like an old friend. Oh, you’re back. I’ve missed you!  Evening temps dipped into the 40’s. Yellowing leaves rustled in the cottonwood trees. Apples arrived: in farmers’ markets, produce sections, on teachers’ desks. Don plucked a few from a 1950’s-era tree in his mom’s backyard, arranged them on our kitchen windowsill. I pulled oneContinue Reading “Simple Sorrows, Simple Joys”

50 in 50

50 in 50: Indiana: Popcorn and Movies from America’s Heartland

Couldn’t resist sharing Jim Gaffigan’s humorous take on Indiana (above). He was born there. He’s allowed to poke fun. For true Hoosiers–those who stay–Indiana’s more like this: Then there’s the Indiana portrayed on ABC’s The Middle.  The Hecks–Frankie (Patricia Heaton), a dental hygienist, Mike (Neil Flynn), a quarry supervisor, and their three kids–are a less-than-perfectContinue Reading “50 in 50: Indiana: Popcorn and Movies from America’s Heartland”

50 in 50

50 in 50: Illinois. Land of Lincoln. And Really Cool Hats.

I adore Chicago. It is the pulse of America.—Sarah Bernhardt Illinois, “Land of Lincoln,” truly reflects our country. Its complexities. Its challenges. Its uniqueness. In a 2007 analysis of Census Bureau data, the Associated Press looked at each state to determine how closely it “matched national levels on 21 demographic factors, including race, age, income, education,Continue Reading “50 in 50: Illinois. Land of Lincoln. And Really Cool Hats.”

50 in 50

50 in 50: Georgia on My Mind. Green Jackets, Blue Jeans, Pink Plastic Shoes.

My Father loved the ‘Woolen Mill’, it was his life. He especially loved the people he worked with…it was people working together, and living in a community that supported them, and they supported the community…He was happy there.  –Lawrence Head, Reader Comment, December 15, 2015, Pieces of…Our Past *** Last Sunday–as magnolias bloomed and the smell ofContinue Reading “50 in 50: Georgia on My Mind. Green Jackets, Blue Jeans, Pink Plastic Shoes.”

50 in 50

50 in 50: Florida: Rifle Paper Company

Rain threatens once more here in already-soggy Nor Cal. As the gathering clouds throw darkness across my laptop’s screen, a quick search shows it’s 80 degrees in Florida, the subject of today’s post. Scrolling through the 45 manufacturers listed on Made in Florida, I debate which product to feature: Tropicana orange juice? ValPak coupons? How aboutContinue Reading “50 in 50: Florida: Rifle Paper Company”