Thursday, July 23, 2009

Move Over, Piano Man

We took the Little Princess out to a camp by Indianola a couple of weeks ago. The ride out was classic: scenic Iowa by I-80. In other words, nothin' but corn as far as the eye could see.

I was reminded of the "Interstate 80 Iowa" song by Heywood Banks. If you haven't hear it, you simply must rush to YouTube -- after you finish reading this, of course. The lyrics are simple, yet painfully honest: "Corn, corn, corn...." If you've ever traveled I-80 through Iowa you can probably guess the rest.

I'm a big Iowa booster, but even I have to admit Banks' depiction is close. It would be better with a few "soybeans" at least one "dead deer." I'd also get rid of his "what's that smell? line." Iowa is not without aromatic treats, but if you can smell 'em while traveling down the interstate, you're driving too darn slow, and I'm probably behind you. Besides I-80 doesn't even go through Cedar Rapids.

Boring scenery aside, it was a lovely, green, relaxing Sunday afternoon drive. Much to my surprise, His Royal Highness the King, who is typically an interstate/shortest route/what's a scenic byway?-type of guy suggested taking the two-lane state highway 92 on the return trip. I was so excited I nearly wet my pants! (Or maybe it was the Big Gulp I drank on the way out there.) I figured this would be our chance for a little sight-seeing. We could see small town Iowa at it's best, view the rural countryside in all its charming farm splendor.

Wow. Was I wrong.

By the time we got to Ackworth (at least I think it was Ackworth) I was nearly comatose. The only thing more boring than seeing endless cornfields go by your window at 70 mph is seeing endless cornfields go by your window at 55 mph, up close and personal without a nice wide ditch between you. Traffic on the interstate was pretty heavy, obviously because no one else was taking the 2-lane road.


We were out there all alone, surrounded by all that green. Soon I thought I heard music. Hmmm, what was it? The dueling banjos from Deliverance? The "Duuhh dut' duuhh dut" from Jaws? The "Eeeh- eeh, Eeeh- eeh" from Psycho?

No, not this time. It was the "Corn, corn, corn, corn..." from "Interstate 80 Iowa" song.

In a desperate attempt to hold on to my last shred of sanity, I changed it up a little to create "Iowa Highway 92" song. The tune doesn't really matter, but if you absolutely must have music to go with your lyrics, think of the hypnotic whir of tires on a straight, flat, endless road. Enjoy.

Corn, corn, corn, corn,
corn, soybeans, corn.
Corn, corn, whew pigs! corn,
corn, dead deer, corn.
Corn, corn, soybeans, corn,
rusty farm implement, corn.

Corn, corn, soybeans, corn,
corn, whew cows!, corn.
Corn,, corn, mini mart, corn.
Corn, corn, soybeans, corn,
corn, dead possum, corn.

Corn, corn, corn, corn,
corn, church and cemetery, corn.
Corn, corn, soybeans,
corn, dead coon, ditto, ditto, corn.
Corn, corn, weed field,
corn, old school house, more corn.

Corn, corn, corn, corn,
corn, dead skunk, corn.
Corn, DEAD SKUNK!?, corn,
corn, SKUNK SMELL, corn,
still smells like skunk, corn.

Corn, corn, soybeans, corn.
corn, dead ...somethin', corn.
Corn, corn, soybeans,
corn, windmill, corn.
Corn, corn, corn, corn,
corn, abandoned house.
Oops not abandoned,
corn, corn, corn, corn.


  1. I totally agree with the corn fields as-far-as-the-eye-can-see while travelling the Iowa highways and byways. After just returning from a motoring trip out east and travelling through Blue Ridge Mountains (white-knuckle driving for me), and the bucolic horse farms of Kentucky my 13-year-old son said Illinois looked just like home. (I had never thought of him as the observant type.) He was so right! It did look like home and I couldn't wait to get there! - cornfields and all.

  2. Great song Jo. The Big Gulp ages you that was from our childhood. OK maybe high school.


  3. ages her???? Jo can't be more than 28 or 29!!!

  4. corn corn lol corn lol corn