- Neutral Hero
The weather came down and across the plains. The temperature changed. Warm air rose above cool air and made clouds. Describe it now, the sky right now above, with a few clouds: They look to be sparse and high, generally cumulus, but also cirrus. They are wispy like cirrus but also cottony like cumulus. The blueness of the sky is general and brilliant, the luminous blue of the blue sky, could light the sky and the world by itself, completely unpokeable, like magic flat opacity, a thick sheet lit from within. Clean, unstoppable. And infinite blue. The sky looks down on us, and across us, beyond us. And it doesn’t belong to us. The air is crisp and fresh and clean and its breeze is chillier than before. Here is new air. The sun is high level and warms the sky.
The town has roughly two-and-a-half-thousand inhabitants. It exists because it’s on the Northern Pacific railway where the four-lane 10 meets the two-lane 78. As you approach the town from the south by car, you pass over 10 and down, landing at the edge of town. At the first stoplight, you see to the left and right sparsely populated commercial areas, on the left is a Dairy Queen, a Pamida store, a Wild Goose coffee and gift shop, and in the old Hardee’s® building is Jin Hu Chinese, and a Super 8® motel and a bank. To the right, the newer commercial park with the new Dean’s Supermarket. Also in this cul-de-sac, a drug store, a new liquor store, another bank, a spa, and a Crossings Inn and Suites.
Directly kitty-corner from where your vehicle idles is the old Dean’s location, still unoccupied. A sign ahead on your right on the grass welcomes you. The light turns green and you roll along into the heart of town. Coming up on the left is a mini-mall with a chiropractor, an attorney and Subway®. Further along you find the Community Center gym and pool. On the right is the county fairgrounds site with the fair dates painted on the old stone bldg. Next to it is a butcher and a feed store. On the left again is the high school and from here the houses start, several Victorian three-story homes set back from the road. One home on the left sells gifts and knickknacks and has pinwheels spinning and plastic animals in the front yard.
You find yourself at the second stoplight where the road has come to a T. On the left is the Service Food Market. Ahead, across a shallow parking lot, you find a wholesale/retail candy store next to a gas station. Taking a right will take you [End Page 78] out of town. Taking a left will bring you right into downtown. Take the first right, heading north again and crossing the tracks you see the skyway painted blue that is the Tuffy’s® Dog Food company. Passing under the skyway and heading north you will find the library, a small playground, and the County History Museum. Many more homes here, an apartment complex and wide lawns and younger trees.
Downtown you can find a White Drug®, at least two gift shops including Ma’s Red Barn Floral Shop, SPORTSPORT sporting goods, a tourist info booth, another gas station, the King Coin Laundromat, Karvonen’s furniture and appliance store, Accents Floral and Décor. Rolling down Main, parallel to the railroad, you have Gathering Grounds coffee followed by Richters Men’s Wear, Nadine’s Ladies fashion, United Community Insurance, Overland Insurance, Coldwell Banker Preferred Partners, Sorella’s Saloon and Spa, a printer, and other offices, insurance and attorneys, mostly on the second and third stories of these brick buildings. Also on Main, across the street, is the Station House restaurant, Greenspire Graphics and Magic Memories Photography. Further on is Ace Hardware®, Rae’s Shoes, and the Lakes Café. Next to the Lakes Café is a brick one-story bar. These and other South-facing establishments, like the Chamber of Commerce have a common parking...