I was born in Perry and lived in Guthrie Center before we moved away from Central Iowa when I was seven, and I do not recall making too many visits to the Capital City outside of getting a bunk bed for my brother and me, plus driving into Des Moines to watch Star Wars; A New Hope. That was the first Star Wars movie ever released, for those of you that are thrown off by George Lucas' choice of chronology in making stories four, five and six before making one, two and the upcoming third installment of his epic tale.
Like most kids my age at the time the first movie was released, I was blown away with what I saw on the big screen and probably believed more in The Force than I did in Jesus Christ at the time. I do not consider that blasphemy, as I was seven when I saw Star Wars for the first time (yes, it was still in theaters in 1978, one year after its original release) and The Force seemed quite real, since I saw it in the movies, where what I was being taught about Christ would come to bear later in my life. Thankfully, God's ‘force' won out in my life and Skywalker faded into being an enjoyable story.
So now as I have made my return to Central Iowa, one of the first ‘events' I will take part in will be attending Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith at 12:01am the first day it is released. I did not acquire the tickets myself, nor would I have done that had a friend not done that and asked me if I would like to join him. But I figured what the heck, it would be fun, I was going to see the movie anyway and it would make a good story at some point.
The irony of seeing this final Star Wars flick in the same city that I saw the first (or fourth) episode some 27 years ago and having not lived in this area for the same amount of time adds to the story and seems a fitting end for the Star Wars aspect of my life. (No, I have not been to, nor will I ever go to a Star Wars convention. Unless you were a kid in the 1970's, the lifelong connection to the Star Wars movies might be difficult for you to understand, but they certainly have their minimal place in my history, though they do have a small corner.
"Jon, how in the heck does all of this relate to the Hawkeyes?" you are probably wondering.
First off, this blog will not always be 100 percent about the Hawks, especially in the summertime. However, there will always be some Hawk segue to it, and here is this weak attempt at bring some relevance to what I just typed.
Episode two of the Star Wars saga was titled Attack of the Clones. I am sure that even the non-sci fi readers remember that, as it was ‘Attack of the Clones' here and there on the sports pages and websites in this state during the time, and ISU was actually ranked in the Top Ten for a spell back then.
In the week that I have been living in the Des Moines metro, I made a somewhat disturbing observation, and one that my friend Terminatorhawk warned me about prior to moving up here; there are a LOT of Clone fans in this town.
Again, that might be an obvious statement for many of you that have lived your lives in the Des Moines area, and ISU is less than an hour from Des Moines, while Iowa City is roughly two hours away. But my formative years saw me raised in West Branch, which is a stone's throw from Iowa City, and to see an ISU flag flying or someone wearing ISU gear was a rarity, as I remember it.
It has been a bit of a shock for me to see so many personalized ISU license plates, seeing so many ISU flags flying and meeting so many neighbors that are either ISU fans or don't have a dog in the fight for one reason or another.
None of that is to say that I have not seen at least an equal amount of Iowa garb or items around town, but not to the levels I am used to seeing.
The next ‘4CY' license plate combination will be the 200th I have seen in a week, I swear. ‘Clowns to the left of me and jokers to the right…here I am, stuck in the middle' has more of a meaning right about now. (All apologies to my new neighbors; I do not consider any of you to be jokers…it's just a poetic license thing.)
It would seem like there is plenty of work to be done here in Des Moines…a new call to arms to fly your Hawkeye flag on your front door stoop. Let everyone know what your colors are, and let's wipe away the illusion that the Hawkeye State's Capital City is this 50/50 split that some folks might have you believe.
I am only briefly saddened that I was not around here last year to see those ISU season ticket signs in people's yards, as I heard that was a bit of a hoot.
ISU fans; I have no beef with you, for the record. I just want to see more black and gold as opposed to Crimson and Gold on the streets where I live.
One of the things that I did for my wife for Mother's Day was to load our toddler in our minivan and hit the streets today, sans Mommy. That allowed Mom to read the paper, take a nap and get out and do some of the things she likes to do without me or the little tike in her hair.
So after hitting a pet store and the play area at the Jordan Creek Mall, I took Gracie into Scheel's for some programming. I asked her to let me know when she saw a Hawkeye (Tigerhawk).
We were about 20 feet from the Hawk area in Scheel's when she literally screams at the top of her lungs, ‘Daddy, there are some Hawkeyes! There are Hawkeyes everywhere! Hawkeye, Hawkeye, Hawkeye, Hawkeye!' she exclaimed, wildly pointing at all of the Tigerhawk emblems that were on various items in the store.
I asked her to count them, and once she reaches 15, every number thereafter is fifteen, or something teen (hey, she is just two and a half), and she stopped, turned around and said to me, ‘Mommy would be excited to see this.'
That made me laugh out loud, partly because of my astonishment at her sentence structure and usage of the language that floors me every day with her, and partly because of the statement itself.
It's good to be back in the homeland, and to pass on the Hawkeye fever to a new generation.