My folks have been in town, just left this morning. They’re on the road to Rapid City with two teenage daughters, 89% of their sanity, and some cute bebe pictures in their cameras. It was good to see them, some health worries (one of the girls is allergic to pine trees, and my father has some kind of mysterious illness that might be allergies. Nobody knows; nobody admits knowing. More later on that subject) but otherwise everything went OK.

The bebe 1) learned how to clap so her hands make little clapping noises and 2) cut her first toofer in honor of the occaision. And she was good. She sat through her first trip to the restaurant with nothing more serious than a dropped spoon. Reacquaintance with Grandma, Grandpa, and the crazy aunts was accomplished; my brothers stayed home. The sixteen-year-old has a job. Andy. Andy has a job. It’s not that I’m getting old, it’s that…Andy has a job. At least it’s at a place called “Mad Mary’s.” And it’s a block from home. Mmmm. A good steakhouse, one of those places you take New York vegetarians to. “This is meat?” they’d cry. And they’d either break down and order a steak or kill themselves over the guilt, because baby cows are really cute.

They do mushrooms on the side, you know.

The only thing I miss about Iowa is…well, a couple of things. But the only relevant thing I miss about Iowa is the pork chops. You can’t get Iowa chops out here, man. And don’t lie to me, because it isn’t the same.