Coming In Hot

The Fourth of July was hellaciously hot in Iowa this year (as it was in much of the country, I know), so we decided that if we couldn’t beat the heat, then we might as well really wallow in it.

First, Marcia and I played a round of golf from about noon to 3:30 in 100 degree heat with high humidity readings. The downside: the heat was so enervating that neither of us were swinging the clubs very strongly or accurately. The upside: we pretty much had the course to ourselves, and felt justified in waving the beer cart down anytime it got within four holes of where we were playing.

After golf, we picked up Katelin, and went out to have a nice, long, leisurely dinner in the well air-conditioned Americana, which seemed appropriate from a thematic standpoint, given the day. I had their excellent truffled macaroni and cheese, with some tempura shrimp and a coconut chicken curry soup. Mmm!! Fully sated and hydrated, we then headed over to Principal Park to watch the Iowa Cubs game. It was still in the 90s, and the sun was beating down hard, when we sat down in the bleacher seats on the first base line. Lesson learned: next time, get tickets behind third.

Before the game, we got to watch a tremendously moving and powerful Citizenship Ceremony, watching a couple of dozen folks from around the world officially become new Iowans and Americans. The Honorable Judge Mark Bennett of the Iowa’s Northern District Federal Court made some spectacular remarks about the importance of diversity and immigration to our Nation’s past, present and future. It was great to see the crowd cheer him and our newest citizens, especially in an era when immigrants are most often viewed as job-stealing criminals. Well done, your honor.

And the I-Cubs? Well . . . not quite so well done. The game was pretty much over before the top of the first inning was done, as the Omaha Storm Chasers took a 6-0 lead before cruising to an 11-2 victory. The Chasers are a great team, one of the best in the AAA Pacific League, which is good, because they are the top farm team of the Beloved Royals. So at some point in the future, some of these guys will head up to Kansas City, have a great season, and then immediately be traded to the Red Sox or Yankees. Because that is the Beloved Royals way, world without end, amen.

Katelin bugged out to go hang out with friends indoors by the sixth inning or so, which meant she was spared the mortal embarrassment of having her parents featured on the centerfield scoreboard KissCam after the seventh inning stretch. (I’m thinking the cameraman was more interested in watching Marcia stretch than me, just for the record). We were then rewarded for our heat perseverance and excellent kissing skills with a great fireworks display above the Des Moines skyline, then returned home at around 11-ish or so, with the temperature still in the high 80s. Fortunately, our new house has two kick-ass air conditioning units, so at least sleep was comfortable.

Today is supposed to peak out at 102-degrees, and then we’re forecast to get a small amount of relief when the highs drop back to the low-90s early next week. Of more concern at this point, in a deeply agricultural state, is the lack of rainwater. We’re thankful to have bought a house with a very small lot, since it’s easy and not too wasteful to keep our little patches of grass and flowers going through the drought, but I suspect that if something doesn’t change soon, water restrictions are likely to be put in place in urban areas so that our farmers can be sure to have enough water to get the crops to maturity this year.

Speaking of crops: we had our first taste of locally-grown Iowa sweet corn last night and, wow, was it dynamite. The ears were perfectly formed, with dense, plump white and yellow kernels, which only had to be boiled for about three minutes to perfection. The taste and texture were easily the best I’ve had, with the possible exception of the fresh white shoe-peg corn that my grandparents used to get from prison farms in North Carolina in the early ’70s. I can’t wait to roast some ears now, since I suspect that make them even more perfectly flavorful.

I might not even need a grill to do it, today, come to think of it . . .

About J. Eric Smith
Executive Director, Salisbury House Foundation.

One Response to Coming In Hot

  1. gina says:

    Funny. Summer sweet corn is something people could easily fight duels over, I think. My MIL (RIP) insisted LI sweet corn had no peer and always insisted we serve what she brought when she visited us, even though we’d already prepared some from one of our local farms. My mother won’t abide any but that grown in the Catskills (a place where admittedly farmers have not had an easy row to hoe and indigenous peoples camped in but did not linger there). Once when my BIL was raving to her about the rich soil at the mid-western farms of his maternal family, she turned her back and sniffed “it’s got nothing on the Hurley Flats.”

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