I miss you. I never appreciated you enough. I miss your open roads, minimum traffic and the fact that it only takes ten minutes to cross from one side of you to the other. I miss knowing every road and not having to use my GPS whenever I go somewhere - even on the third trip. I regret not drinking Stomping Grounds mochas more - though many would say I drank them quite enough. I miss your third-best water in the United States and I'm crying over leaving my favorite Target (No, they are not all the same - always remember that Ames. Your's is the best).
Which reminds me, I even miss your mall. North Grand Mall may be old, dilapidated, almost vacant and unloved, but in it's heyday, it introduced me to dark wash jeans from Gap (perfect for minimizing my child-bearing hips, prominent even at age 15), and it kept me smelling like Bath and Body Works' Cucumber Melon for four straight years. Without that mall I would be stinky and naked. I owe it one.
I'll never forget the day you got a real Starbucks - that was the day the world acknowledged you were a tiny bit "hip" and was the best day of my life (just after getting married, of course.) When it came, I was a freshman in college - which makes me think of your university, Iowa State. Being Ultimate Frisbee Intramural champions for 3.5 years (Year four's scores were questionable, so I count it as a half.) was almost as good as the day Starbucks opened on Lincoln Way.
My dad would not approve, but I even miss your gravel roads. You know what a sucker I am for organization and I love how they are placed in one-mile grids. (Except when I was in cross country and I counted every millimeter from one intersection to the other. That totally sucked.) I miss seeing your farmland,watching the corn and soybeans grow, and eating seven ears of sweet corn for dinner. I think this might be why you made it in the top ten on the Top 100 Best Places to Live in America 2010 list. Congratulations - you totally deserve it.
But for all your wonderful qualities, what I really miss the most are your people, or as I like to call them - my people. Sorry to get possessive, but that's how I feel. I miss my people and come to think of it - that's probably actually why you made it on that Top 100 list. The people make you everything you are, you know that, right Ames? You'd better. Now give 'em a hug for me and tell them I'll always miss them, I'll always visit and I'll never replace them.
Much love from a 15-year Ames veteran,
PS. I'm happy to report that there is a Gap and Bath and Body Works up here, tons of them actually. I continue to wear pants, but I have put the old Cucumber Melon on the shelf for now - probably a good thing for everyone's nose.