That’s what the man with the cookie basket says as he greets you as you deboard the plane. “Welcome to the Midwest, forget your diet- it’s time to fatten up.”
And it’s no joke. I single handedly undid 5 months of dieting in 11 days in Indiana. And I have only one thing to say:
YUM. No joke- Fort Wayne was delicious, everything soaked in butter and salt, served with macaroni salad and French fries, oh my god- BLISS. Cakes and pies and donuts and you just can’t believe the things they made. Tate’s mom is a FANTASTIC cook, far and away the best macaroni and cheese I have EVER had. I mean, it was serious, holy lasagna and burgers and chocolate cake… and I mean what was I gonna do? Say no to Tate’s Mom? Aheemmm no. I asked for seconds.
It was great.
We left Fort Wayne this morning- and as is the case with certain places in the world, I can tell it is going to take a few weeks to digest the experience. But there are a few things I found particular to Fort Wayne that I have never seen anywhere else in the world.
For one thing- everyone still smokes- with the exception of Tate's immediate family- every other person I met smoked, and as you can still smoke in restaurants and bars- they all smoke A LOT. Secondly, everyone, when saying good bye says “be careful” I’m not sure what there is going on in Indiana that everyone is so cautious about… but the result of this is two fold- on the one hand you feel a heightened sense of fear- as there is something evil out there that needs warning against, but on the other hand there is a tremendous sense of kindness that is extended to you because everyone is looking after you… it’s kind. And the third and particularly strange thing I discovered in Indiana is that when you go to a restaurant they ask you, before the meal, how you would like the bill. Chase and Tate together, And Dave and Lori together, and Cory came alone so separate him… and this happens everywhere. At EVERY MEAL. It’s not that it’s annoying or bothersome, at least not to the costumer- would seem it would bother the waiter if anyone… but this is just HOW IT IS. Totally normal. And to me, it’s one of the strangest customs I ‘ve ever seen.
In truth it makes it easier, and it is fairer and cleaner and no complex math to do, but it TOTALLY takes the romance out of trying to buy someone dinner. All that “no I insist” at the beginning of the meal just isn’t the same….
I don’t know what that says about those Hoosiers- are they cheap, are they stingy and don’t want to pay a part of a friends beer? Or is it simply an easier way to enjoy a meal? All I know is I get the serious stink eye anytime I ask for a check to be separated anywhere else I have ever been… strange little place Fort Wayne.
I actually liked it a lot, I loved meeting Tate’s family and seeing the world he grew up in. I learned so much about him in a short amount of time- it was like cramming for a test- except um, without the test. And everyone was so kind and sweet and very REAL. No pretentious Los Angeles crap that is so prevalent out west- just good old real kind people. But admittedly there is a lot if ignorance going on there, just silly bigotry or comments about “fags” or some shit- and these people don’t mean it, they just don’t know any better. And that makes it frustrating- because to offer another opinion to some people is seen as an offence, or an attack on their way of life, and that can be sort of saddening and terrible frustrating. I spent a lot of time with my mouth shut, and smiling politely. Tate is not so good at that- he lets people know what he thinks, and I’m sure if it was my home town I would too, but it always stirs up the shit, and when your probably never going t o agree, sometimes its better just to stay quiet and just enjoy dinner. (ahha chase- for those of you that are longtime blog readers perhaps you will remember a religious argument that happened on these pages about a year ago where I was singing a slightly different song- my, how your tune has changed Chase…. Tisk tisk tisk)
Either way I had a wonderful time and was so grateful to be taken into Dave and Lori’s home and to be included in all of Tate’s family meals and outings… it’s was pretty great.
And my favorite part was Tate. Because he was pretty cute.