The Midwestern Culture I Never Knew We Had

Happy Mother’s Day! It’s a cold, gloomy Mother’s Day but I’m forever hopeful that warm weather will indeed come and stay a while.

Anyway, I recently visited Boston for my niece’s college graduation and whenever I visit a different city or state I always take note of things that they’re doing that I think would be great to do here as well.

I particularly thought Traverse City in Michigan had a lively downtown. Yes, it’s a tourist’s area in the warm months but the streetscaping was attractive, the fresh foods market was similar to what you’d see in Europe, and they’re local root beer is the best I’ve ever tasted.

Usually, I’m not much of a drinker but I probably had four glasses of it. I don’t know what it was about it but man it was good! They also incorporated other local foods in their downtown restaurants. They’re very good at promoting their local flavors.

Wisconsin has attractive wrought iron railings for their bridges, at least in their small towns and it makes a statement. They add a lot of character and charm. I guess there’s more important things to spend money on but hey I noticed and they left a positive impression.

North Carolina has the most attractive Interestate highways. They’re landscaped with native and ornamental trees, flowers, and maintained by inmates. Yeah, good old fashioned “chain gangs” but the state puts them to work, gives them some skills, and makes those long drives so much more pleasant than they are in Illinois.

Oregon is the cleanest state I’ve visited. I don’t think I saw a single piece of litter anywhere. That’s probably due to their very steep fines. I’m thinking around $10,000 if I remember correctly. Oregon is also an environmentally conscience state. They care about their land and nature.

And Boston, well, so far it’s the only place I’ve visited in which I thought they should take lessons from Decatur.

I just wasn’t impressed. The traffic was horrible. I certainly didn’t care for the $40 2-hour parking! Ack! Many of the people I interacted with were rude and much of the city was kinda dirty looking.

Yes, I’m sure they’re are wonderful people in Boston and very nice areas but my overall impression was that I’m so glad I live in the Midwest.

Not to brag or anything but I think most of us are nice people. Southern states are known for their hospitality but in a more formal expected way. Their niceness is like a shotgun wedding. It’s a bit forced. You better always have potato salad, lemonade and porch swing at hand or you’re out of the club. We’re just friendly by nature without any expectations or traditions.

Several years ago the daughter of a neighbor I grew up with was back visiting Illinois. She was from Massachusetts and came to a cookout we were having at our house. She was just so taken in by how “midwestern-y” we were. She made remarks about our Midwestern culture – our foods, houses, cookouts.

That’s funny I thought. I didn’t know we had a culture here. Apparently, we also have accents according to Bostonians. Seriously?

Accents? Culture? Who knew?

I’ve always considered us the most blandest of people on the Earth. Now I wonder how others see us.

What is our culture? What the heck is our accent? I’ve noticed a little bit of a southern twang in the way we speak. Maybe that’s it. We’ve had people think we’re from Texas.

Is our accent a Central Illinois thing or just a general Midwestern thing? Now I’m really self-conscience.

Well, one thing that I did admire about the Boston area is their neighborhoods. Ranch style homes are dominant here but in Boston every home that I saw was two or three stories and worth an average of about $600,000.

How anyone can afford a $600,000 starter house I will never know but that’s what they go for.

They were all older homes and very well kept but considering how much they’re worth you’d be kinda dumb not to keep them up.

While their older historic homes are still being lived in and maintained, ours are being torn down due to years and years of neglect. That’s what happens when home values are low. They’re just not worth renovating because you’d never get your money back out.

That’s one of the biggest problems in Decatur.

So that was my impression of Boston. I didn’t really like it but the weather was lousy and that did throw a wet blanket over the whole experience.

I’ll stick with the Midwest and our bland homes, cookouts, and accents – whatever that accent is.



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