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Iowa Small Towns
by Tom Morain

Pickup trucks are parked outside a cafe in Anthon, where farmers meet for breakfast and morning coffee. Photo © David Thoreson Festival of American Folklife 1996

       Jefferson 20, Perry 7. It was Ames over Marshalltown, 42-6. Lake City 14, Rockwell City 13. Lamoni 20, Leon 0. Winterset shut out Indianola 13-0...." And on and on the scores continue in a geographic litany every Friday from football through basketball and into spring baseball season. From these radio broadcasts Iowa children learn the names of towns before they have any idea where the communities are. Unlike the elitist weather report that acknowledges temperatures in only the major cities, as if there were no weather in the small towns, Friday night sports scores are the great leveler: any town that can field a team earns the right to march in the parade. And so the list goes on. "...Fort Dodge 21, Mason City 6. Panora-Linden 14, Dallas Center-Grimes 0. Storm Lake 15, Cherokee 12."

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