Magazine article Out

From Ear to Eternity

Magazine article Out

From Ear to Eternity

Article excerpt


"If we leave now we can be at the Corn Palace by 9!" Holly's shrill voice pierces my sleep. There is no reason for her to be up this early. We're in a motel in Sioux Falls, S.D. More important, I may still be drunk.

"Did you know it's the only Corn Palace in the worldV Holly rushes us out of the motel. What would the world do with two? We've heard a lot about the Corn Palace, but I'm not sure it really exists and, if it does, why. And that's the beauty of travel - making surprise discoveries like the world's only Corn Palace. It's hard not to judge.

It's the fourth day of our trip from New York City to Mount Rushmore. The town of Mitchell, which is on the way, boasts a Corn Palace. The palace dates to 1892, has its own festival, and (we think) must be made entirely from ears of corn, since the Dakota landscape is dotted with billboards extolling its wonders: From Ear to Eternity!

The car speeds over splattered red chunks of roadkill as we remember fragments from last night. We began at a Sioux Falls bar called Bucks, where the men's bathroom was labeled Goobers and Gomers. Afterward, we went with a group of locals to the Fryn' Pan, where I nodded off into aplate of sirloin tips.

Holly made out with some guy (Duane?) who constructs fire engines for a living. He promised to take us to Laura Ingalls's hometown. Whatever happened with that? Did I pay for my sirloin tips? Is that a siren behind me?

The police pull us over. "You were going 72 in a 65," says the officer, taking my license. "But that's only seven miles over the limit," I say.

"In South Dakota, we have a no-tolerance policy." Tell it to my liver, officer. "We've got no-tolerance signs posted all the way from Sioux City," he adds.

He is lying. I would have noticed the signs along the highway. …

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