Michael J. Fitzgerald has been a journalist for 40 years, working as a writer and editor for newspapers, magazines and web publications. In 2014 he published the novel, "The Fracking War." In 2015, he published his second novel, "Fracking Justice." He writes or contributes to five blogs. He and his wife Sylvia Fox are the owners and principal partners in *subject2change Media, a multi-media firm involved in print, video and broadcast. He writes a weekly column, "Write On" for the daily 'Finger Lakes Times' newspaper in Geneva, NY. He was a journalism professor at CSU Sacramento from 1986 to 2011 teaching Newswriting, Column Writing and Magazine Writing.
SACRAMENTO, Calif. - I told someone last week about one of neatest little towns I have seen in my travels, a town in the middle of (HANG ON, KIDS) Iowa.
Iowa? Jaysus! Isn't that one of those places that everyone struggles to run away from at the first chance they get? Isn't it, like, in the Midwest?
Yup and yup.
But it was arguably the friendliest place I've been in many years. The clock's all stopped there sometime in the early 1960s. I could've moved there in a heartbeat. Well, except for winters that last 9 months.
We stopped in this place two summers ago when we did a cross-country drive in a red Miata convertible and because the interstate highways were sooooo freakin' crazy in the little car, we got off whenever we could and took the two-lane roads. That's where the small towns are where there are bars with names like 'Ed's' and motels with signs like 'The Welcome Inn.'
Last summer, in a quick trip to Detroit to visit son Jason and amigos Jim and Pam Carr, we passed through Niagara Falls (Remember the Three Stooges routine:'Niagara Falls! Slowly I turn, step by step...'). At the falls we saw this chewed-on Hershey Bar a block from the bridge to get over the Niagara River. It helped that we were stuck in the daily massive traffic jam (with the photo taking).
Traveling - fast enough to get places but slow enough to see things - is pure joy, something I finally appreciate. That's the beauty of sailing along the Mexican coast, too. The villages are all neat and the ocean always provides something interesting, like a green flash, dolphins or the occasional bad weather.
The name of that town in Iowa? Well, I'm afraid it's buried in my journal.