A few months ago, I changed day jobs. I took nearly an identical role with a company based out of Des Moines, Iowa in cybersecurity. Because of the pandemic, I worked for my old company for about 18 months and visited the office twice. Once to pick up my work laptop and once to drop it off when I left. For obvious reasons, my current job is remote as well – otherwise that commute up and down I-35 would be hell every day.
Normally, I work with either people from Kansas City or with folks outside of the Midwest – usually New York or even globally, like India and Australia. I’ve never worked with another group of folks from another Midwestern city before. Boy, do these folks in Iowa like their corn.
I suppose every city has “their” thing. We have BBQ, naturally. But Des Moines is all about their corn. I just listened to nearly a month of folks talking about the Iowa State Fair where they had a giant corn cob made of butter. We watched last month as my company made a big deal out of the Field of Dreams game in Dyersville, Iowa. These people are goo goo about their corn cobs.
It made me think about towns that might not have “a thing.” Every town has to have something, right? Pick a random city – let’s say Scottsdale, Arizona. Well, they’re known for their golf. Nashville, Tennessee is known for its music and so on and so forth.
There’s even a city in California called Slab City. They are known for…not having a thing. It is an unincorporated city with no mayor, no laws, no zoning, and no rules. Urban roughers use it as an RV park during the winter months. Even if you’re known for nothing, you’re known for something.
Cities in Platte County are even known far and wide. Riverside was once a mecca for car racing, and now they are home to the Kansas City Current professional women’s soccer club. Parkville is known for the national university Park U. And Platte City is known for… uh. Um. The Pool Hall? The dunk tank on the Fourth of July? One of the longest consecutive running newspapers west of the Mississippi? Is Platte City just a town next to a highway?
Have we stumbled upon a town that doesn’t have “a thing?”
Come on, Platte City. What is YOUR thing? And no, the orange water tower doesn’t count.
It seems Platte City is an amalgam of all of the things around it. We have an LC’s now–no, not anymore, but at least we used to. We’ll soon have a Whataburger somewhat close–on Ambassador Drive in Platte County. Platte City is home to a QuikTrip and a great high school football team. But we have to share Jesse James with Kearney. And we have to share the airport noise with Kansas City.
What is our thing, Platte City?
In the meantime, I’m going to work on my corn recipes to show my new friends in Des Moines. There’s corn cobbler, corn puddin’, corn hash browns, fried corn, dipped corn. Maybe we can come up with some Platte County corn.
(Get your corn recipes and maybe some fertilizer from Chris Kamler on Twitter, where he is known as @TheFakeNed)