Anyway, this is the area I call home, the region I've always called home. It's the land of all 4 seasons, although when you live as far north as some, that summer may only be a month or two long. ("Hey, that's a long time," my father would say, the man who lives 10 miles away from the Canadian border.) It's the land where Chicago is the biggest city around and my love of the blues is decidedly from there. It's the land of Packer football, Tiger baseball, Red Wing hockey, and the Big Ten Network. It's the Great Lakes, the Mississippi River (while it's still relatively clean), Sleeping Bear Dunes, and America's Dairyland. It's the Midwest, where people are so friendly they say hi on the streets and wave from their cars (well, at least as you get away from the metropolitan areas - I don't think I've ever seen anyone wave from their car in Minneapolis, Milwaukee, Chicago, Grand Rapids, or Detroit).
I've visited other places, but most of my life has been firmly rooted in the Midwest, amidst its open spaces, friendly towns, and down-to-earth attitudes. I raise my family here and am proud of the region, but still long to visit more exotic places - you know, like Buffalo, New York; Scranton, Pennsylvania; or Stockton, California.
I like the Midwest and the space we have to build and raise family. I like its lower cost of living. I enjoy all four seasons as much as possible and don't mind too much that I regularly drive through snow to get anywhere in the winter. I also raise my kids with an excitement for the larger world and with dreams of visiting as many places as they can in their lifetime. Maybe they'll even take me with them - to London, Paris, Rome, Beijing, Tokyo, Delhi and Seoul. Maybe if I'm lucky I might even make it to New York or even San Francisco.
So go ahead, all of you on either sides of the country, and call my home region the "Fly Over Zone." In reality, it doesn't bother me. I'll enjoy our less populated land and dream of visiting your home - just never living there.