Joe: Is this heaven?
Ray: No, this is Iowa.
— dialog in the movie, Field of Dreams
Horace Greeley is supposed to have said “Go west, young man, and grow up with America,” but the context in which he supposedly said this is less well known… and the person Greeley supposedly said it to was listening. His name was Josiah Bushnell Grinnell, and he did go west and founded the town of Grinnell, Iowa. He also somehow engineered the move of Iowa College to his new town, which later became Grinnell College, in his honor.
Why do I bring this up? Because soon I’ll be moving to Grinnell and working at Grinnell College in a position that has little to do with writing or baseball, though thanks to W.P. Kinsella, Iowa and baseball fiction will forever be correlated.
My wife and I know that we’ll be happy in this little college down on the prairie. It has nice houses and trees that have grown old with Grinnell and America. You can walk to work and forget about most of the rest of the world, except every four years during the running of the lemming… er, politicans. For reasons not understood by naturalists, they well up in Iowa before scurrying off to New Hamsphire every fourth winter.
Even the cats are grudgingly accepting the change, when we tell them we’ll get a house with a four-season porch and scatter birdseed on the windowsills. “Leave the window open just a little,” Bertie says.