If you don't like the weather, wait five minutes
When home is where you enjoy more than one season’s wardrobe in a single day, consider yourself to be well versed, skilled and a Midwesterner.
We are masters of layering clothes, and it justifies having overcrowded closets. We have a closet dedicated to our outerwear. There's raincoats, windbreakers, light jackets, medium warmth coats, winter coats, Carharts, multiple hoodies, sweaters and sweatshirts. There’s a day set aside to put away the summer clothes and bring out the winter apparel. Being casual is wearing bib overalls, which are an accepted piece of anyone's wardrobe, as well as cowboy hats, baseball caps, belt buckles the size of saucers and boots topped with dried mud.
Where else could you live and be able to experience the vastly different kinds of outdoor sports activities? Sure it might be tough to surf at the local lakes but we can water ski in the summer and snow ski in the winter. You can experience freezing weather before the sun rises and be sweating by noon.
We have learned to be professionals on conserving water when it's a drought and 100 degrees as well as keeping water lines from freezing when it dips below zero. At any one time it can be hot enough to fry an egg on the asphalt or cold enough to freeze everything in your nostrils. We look forward to spring to thaw us out, and fall gets us ready for winter, although all the seasons run over and into each other.
Folks in our neck of the woods don't have to get back to the basics because we never left. We eat supper during the weekdays and still gather for dinner on Sunday. We can hear the church bells ring at noon, and waiting for a train to pass is an everyday occurrence. Tree frogs and crickets are our lullabies for a good night's sleep.
Radio stations are tuned in to hear the hog reports, goats replace lawn mowers, and horses are ridden down the main drag. Roaming wildlife, such as turkey and deer can ruin a paint job as well as Mother Nature when, at a moment's notice, decides to blast us with a hail storm. People in the Midwest are the most flexible because they don't know any other way to be.
I have lived in the same town my whole life, and to some it may seem boring, but I love being out and about and almost always running into someone I know. I love that I can share in the joy with longtime friends as we become grandparents, while watching the next generation follow in our footsteps.
It's small-town America, and it just doesn't get any better than this. We may not have palm trees, an ocean-front property or perfect tan lines, but we don't have to worry about shark bites or that our state could eventually break off into the ocean.
I would never trade my snow boots for flip flops, but that's the beauty of the Midwest. We can have both.
Sandy Turner lives in Independence. Email her at email@example.com.