It is a gift to be raised in the Midwest. I know that people stretched out along the oceans and coasts wrinkle their noses and feel sorry for us.
What they don't know is we wrinkle our noses and feel sorry right back.
When they call us "flyover states" we laugh and say, "Yep. Just keep flying."
What people don't know about the Plains States:
1. We are the nicest people on earth. We ask the woman behind us in line when she's expecting. We make friends pushing our children on the swingsets. We never honk at the intersections, and if we have to honk to get your attention we wave and smile to let you know there are no hard feelings. We pet each other's dogs and ask about one another's days. We either have a great story to tell you or we will sit with a patient smile while total strangers tell us their stories. And they don't even have to be good. We will pretend they are fascinating. Because we are nice.
3. We have style. People think we don't, but we do. Enough said.
2. It is beautiful here. I love going to see the ocean. I've learned to love the mountains. The first time I ever visited the mountains I squirmed, scratching against the car door like an animal who wants out of a cage. "What's wrong?" my father asked me. "I can't see the view," I complained. "The mountains are in the way!" When you get used to space and the curving earth and the open sky it is difficult to get used to anything tall hindering your line of sight. I've adjusted. But nothing feels like the open stretch of field bordered by broken, scrubby trees winding their branches together. Few things on earth calm me like a curling tendril vine crawling across a worn, forest path.
3. We like it here. The weather is hideous. We dream of vacations to exotic places. We wonder if we should move to Florida. And then we hit someone with our car and they give us a hug and say they've done the same thing and we think, "Nah. We're good. Right here."
So just keep flying over. We'll be right under you, smiling, complaining about the weather, and loving each other.