Well Wisconsin, we've had a good run.
I don't actually know if all good things must come to an end, but it is true that this particular good thing is coming to an end. A job opportunity has come up that will take me away from my adopted hometown of De Pere, WI and back to my actual hometown of Mesa, AZ. Since the opportunity involves a promotion, it's a bit much to ask anyone to feel to sorry for me, but over the last eleven years I really have come to think of Wisconsin as my home and I will be sad to leave.
The sun shines 350 days a year in Arizona, but not one of them will compare with those mid-summer Wisconsin days that seem to last forever. The days when the sun seems to linger just a bit longer than it should, everything is green, and the air is thick and warm. On these days the frozen landscapes of winter hardly seem real.
They are real of course, and in due time summer's green is replaced by the bold reds and golds of fall, and then eventually by the gray and white of winter. Winter has its own special beauty that too many Wisconsin natives are quick to dismiss. Perhaps that is understandable given the harshness of winter temperatures.
Absence of winter will certainly be noticeable after this move, but I fear that something even more important will be lacking. The people of the upper Midwest, to my mind, are some of the most genuine you will find anywhere in the country. I don't mean they represent the only real Americans, I mean they are just real. They let their yea be a yea and their no, a no. This straightforward nature is in too short of supply in too much of the rest of this country, and we are the worse for it.
When I tell people in Arizona I spent the last eleven years in Green Bay its certain that I will be asked either about the winters or about the Packers. My answer will be that I miss both. Many people outside of Green Bay know the Packer name, and that is a good thing. What they don't understand though, is that the team reflects the city just as much as the city reflects the team. It is true too much of Green Bay's identity is wrapped up in the Packers, it is also the case that much of the Packer's identity is drawn from the city.
I could go on and on about my adopted state, about how they give directions and their curious use of prepositions. I won't, except to say that I'm already looking forward to some strange looks when I use the expression "horse a piece."
When I'm back in Arizona it will be tempting to introduce myself as being from Green Bay. Since I didn't grow up here it's not true. Pretending that it is would be thoroughly un-Midwestern. Instead, I'll just say that I was born in Mesa, but spent the last eleven years in the great state of Wisconsin.