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City on the Edge of Yesterday

May 13, 2008 - Wes Burns
I know that I've used this blog more than once to decry living in a rural environment. People being pathologically nice, a general inability to perform the modest task of utilizing a four way intersection, and the bewildering lack of 9pm movie times during the week; all symptoms of small town life and all have been addressed here in “The Stranger's Opinion”. And yet I find myself today taking the other side of the argument; not so much that Marshalltown is a rural town drowning in its own unspoken rage and mediocrity but rather that M-Town is a modern American city that should expect all of the benefits therein.

I'm going to need to explain. Sunday night I had returned from Ames where I had spent the weekend at my friend's wedding. The ceremony was great, as were the following 9 hours of the reception. And while I worry about potential employers finding pictures of myself attempting to remember the words to “The Piano Man” (by William Joel) I had a phenomenal time.

Upon returning to Marshalltown I was quite tired. Sleeping on an air mattress at 6am only to be awoken periodically by the unwelcome slap to the face via my friend's dog's tail can instill a powerful need for sleep. After I got home I got a call from another friend who needed some help moving to Marshalltown. Now I was tired but still willing so I told her to call me when she got into town.

I arrived at her house about 11pm only to find that all of the work was already done. This wasn't really a problem for me so instead we sat for a while and talked. The reason I articulate this is that we are now at midnight on the time line of my day. I leave her house and have maybe 6 blocks to drive. Midnight on a Sunday in Marshalltown is a pretty quite time to be driving, especially down 6th street on the west side of town. That is until I got near the country club.

Deer. The bimbos of the animal kingdom, wandering across the road. Middle of the night, middle of a town, just walking as if they were crossing the great plains; except of course these “great plains” were illuminated mostly by the light a Kwik Star and the Ball Diamonds and contained irate drivers attempting to understand how these deer had avoided being shot.

Why? Why are they here? What is happening out in normal “deer world” (read: nature) that is causing this? I know that animals have a tendency not to understand a “stay off the grass” sign but I've lived in Marshalltown for a while now and I've never seen them come up past 6th street. How is this town supposed to project an image of being a modern city when a person can HIT A DEER inside the city limits? Could you imagine explaining that to an insurance rep?

Where does it end? Deer on the courthouse yard? Perhaps grazing livestock behind the Wal-Mart? How about letting beavers nest in the Martha Ellen Tye theater fountain? And what of the hunters? These bright orange clad, Kodiak dipping, pre-dawn warriors are supposed to be the guys who are bagging enough deer so that I don't have to do an emergency stop because of venison. What happened fellas?

I think its not the hunter's fault but rather the people that go to the Hunter's Feast pancake breakfast that are not hunters themselves. Those deer hunters need the all important pancake/sausage/orange-drink combo to fuel their hunting for the rest of the season. With all of the non-hunting “pancake enthusiasts” out there gobbling down the precious golden disks all our hunters are left with is cold coffee and the blaring volume of the local band playing indefinable big band music. Travesty.

Marshalltownians Unite! We deserve better than to have meandering deer disrupting our traffic and angering our bloggers. If you see a deer just do something to try and get it to leave the town. Loud noises, bright lights, gerrymandering, whatever is necessary. We have an actual town here people, lets try and keep it from turning into Green Acres.


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