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Sunday, May 1, 2016

Gray Matters : A Rather Frustrating Phenomenon

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Today I am about to describe a phenomenon which I am experiencing in Iowa for the first time. In fact, I am not even certain just what to call it. Perhaps "sectionalizing" would be the most appropriate term.

While spending our winters in Texas my late husband and I had become aware of the process. We lived in the central part of the state, the Hill Country.

The majority of winter Texans travelled a good bit farther south to The Valley, the area near the banks of the Rio Grande River. We had friends in the Oil Patch, which was an informal moniker for West Texas.

Others lived in the Panhandle or in North Texas, the area just east of the Panhandle. Then we always drove through East Texas, often called the Piney Woods, on our way to visit our Louisiana relatives. So I was aware that such a situation existed, but this is my first encounter with it in Iowa.

I try not to make it an issue on a personal level, but the local media leave me a bit frustrated. The Cedar Rapids Gazette is a paper similar in size, format and coverage to The Sioux City Journal, and as in Sioux City, there are also several radio stations and TV channels. I have been tempted to contact some of them and point out that, when someone calls Iowa "the land between two rivers" he/she is referring to the Mississippi and the Missouri, not the Mississippi and the Des Moines!

It may be excusable during the regular sports seasons, although I am not even sure of that. Unless my memory is totally failing, I am almost certain that, while living in northwest Iowa, I was able to keep up with the regular swimming and baseball activities in which my Cedar Rapids grandsons participated when they were in high school. And I know when it came time for state swim meets, state-wide playoffs and tournaments, those events were always meticulously covered. But that's not the case here. Recent announcements of semi-final high school football results and the naming of the teams qualifying for action in the Unidome, included only those from eastern Iowa in all of the media but the newspaper. The Gazette's feature articles followed that same pattern, so only when I took a fine tooth comb to the very last page of the sports section was I able to ferret out which western Iowa teams would be participating.

I find it hard to believe that there aren't others like me who have moved from the western half of the state or who have relatives or friends living west of the Des Moines River. Listening to radio and TV in other areas is not possible unless you are some sort of cyber-guru, which I am not, but subscribing to two newspapers seems a bit ridiculous. Of course, I will make an exception if your western Iowa choice is the Cherokee Chronicle Times.

Thank you for listening to me letting off a bit of steam. I feel much better for it.