Welcome to steerage!

I couldn’t help but stare at the word “RABBI�? embroidered in gold on the yarmulke of the man a row in front of me, cunningly concealed under a baseball cap bearing the words “New York.�”

“Visiting or going home?” I wanted to ask.

The plane took a running leap into the air, leaning and wheeling as the Mississippi scrolled past underneath. We seemed to barely be in the air before the wing outside my window sliced through wisps of clouds. Fog wrapped the world in whiteness as we rose until we reached the sunrise. We burst into clear sky with lumpy clouds below us like fresh fallen snow, unsullied by footprint, human or otherwise.

Actually, having a window seat with a view of the wing is no great shakes when you hit a patch of turbulence. Should the wing be jumping up and down like that? Why is that man on the wing?

Nemy and Boot (Marsha and Jeremy) said that I would be going to their home. New York City! In 2000 I was there and felt more at home than I had in the Twin Cities or Iowa. Iowa? Fort Dodge is thick with heartache for me – a place I hated and loved so completely – a broken city when I lived there, now slowly falling to pieces block by block. But New York, constantly rebuilding itself, too full of life to ever stop moving. How could I not love a town with friendly people and cheap food?

Let’s go home, then, you an I, where ever we are. Let’s pick the things that we love and celebrate them. I love fresh mozzarella and the stink of a subway. I love the surly staff at First Ave with their generous pours. I love walking amidst the thrusting skylines. I love the unrepentant ugliness of Saint Paul Central, the brick solidity of Duncombe, my elementary school in Fort Dodge. I love hot summer night and the terrible black coldness of January. Home is where you are, where I am.

Maybe I should take a nap – I only got like two hours of sleep.

One Response to “Welcome to steerage! ”

  1. Oh yeah, I wrote this longhand on the plane to New York, and typed it while waiting for the plane home.

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