Sunday, November 15, 2009


Fort Dodge, Iowa
was never a big city.

It was and remains
a smaller community
in the grand scheme of things
but is huge
if you are from Rockwell City
or Yetter
or Somers.

It is just big enough
to have buildings
over four stories high
in the downtown area
that traps
the heat
and smells
of summer.

The smell of diesel fuel
from the trucks
and buses
and the smell
of people
and food.

When I first moved
to New York City
in 1960
I was struck by the fact
that New York City
smelled like Fort Dodge
and not my home town
of Rockwell City.

It was
the smell
of diesel,
the people
and the food f
rom the street.

Nanci Griffith
wrote a song
a few years ago
about Woolworth's,
"Love at the Five and Dime." (Listen)

She said
that they all
smelled the same
whether they were
in Texas or London.

She referred to it
as the smell of popcorn
and bubble gum
that is stuck on your shoe.

Some things last forever.

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