About 12 miles north of Keokuk Iowa sits a little river community between Keokuk and Montrose Iowa. In this little community sits my grandparent’s house and right next door, my aunts. A few feet from the shoreline of the Mississippi is a 20ft tall pole with a small American flag. No matter which direction you look, up or down the river that little flag is in view. The view is beyond beautiful, it is what I personally call “My Paradise”. I have been to the Florida Keys, Gulf Shores, and countless picture worthy lakes but, there is no place on earth where I can find the peace I get when I am at my grandparent’s house and I look out and see that little American flag. When I make the drive up to Iowa and pull into the driveway of my grandparent’s house I do two things. I go in and hug my grandma and grampa and shortly after I go outside and stand and look at the river that made me the river junkie I am today.
Now to every American, the flag is one of the most sacred symbols that remind us of the freedoms we have, this is instilled in our heads and we show our love for our country and our flag. To me, that little flag reminds me of the same things but it also reminds me that I am home. Looking at the Mississippi River through the Lilly pads and watching barges slowly move up and down the river is calming to me. I get to look out at the river and that flag and see the freedoms that flag has given us and the river in which gives my mind the freedom to wonder and reflect and reset my mind. When I turn away from that flag I get to look into the windows of my grandparent’s beautiful home and I get to see love and laughter. Think about it, look one way, freedom and clarity, look the other way, love and laughter. To put it simply, “It’s Paradise to me”.
Let’s just face it, grandparent’s are the coolest people on earth, they raised your parents, your parents instilled discipline, life skills, to care for others and learn the real world. Grandparents have one job with many parts, Spoil their grandkids with love, laughter, funny stories about your parents and food, oh yes, the food. To me there is no one that can cook like a southern belle sweetheart who’s goal at dinner time is to ensure their babies bellies are full. Between my grandmothers baking and my grampa’s grillin, it’s hard to stay on any form of diet when you look forward to the literal downright home cookin’ the is cooked with love and the goal to make their kids happy with comfort food. I have been blessed with these grandparent’s and after my belly is full I make that trip outside to look at the river and that little American flag. Everything is right in the world when you are lucky enough to have a little piece of paradise to let your mind unwind.
This is a short little post I wanted to write because it was on my mind and reminded me of how much I miss and need a little time with my grandparent’s and the little American flag. Paradise is what you make it, to some it’s palm trees and sandy beaches, to others it’s the mountains and beautiful trails, to me, it’s that little American flag on the shores of the Mississippi River in Iowa. If I could choose anywhere in the world to spend my end of days, it would be on this little piece of land I call….. My grandparent’s.