Tuesday, August 18, 2009

I’m as corny as Kansas in August?

So sang Mary Martin in South Pacific on Broadway, and Mitzi Gaynor in the movies. That’s all well and good, but Kansas is more of a wheat state. The corn in the photograph is not from Kansas. It’s Iowa corn, courtesy of our blogger friend Jeannelle of Iowa, not to be confused with Eleanor of Aquitaine, mother of Richard the Lion-Hearted.

Corn is not just a food. It also makes great building material. Here’s the Corn Palace in Mitchell, South Dakota, in the year 1907.

The building itself has changed over the years, but it is still going strong. According to the Wikipedia article on Mitchell, the building is used for several purposes, including a basketball arena, the local high school prom, trade shows, staged entertainment, and the Shriners’ Circus.

Nebraska may be called the Cornhusker State, South Dakota may be the home of the Corn Palace (God help us all), and lots of states grow corn (Illinois? Ohio? Minnesota?), but I still think of Iowa when I think of corn. Maybe it’s because my Dad grew up in Iowa, or maybe it’s because of this scene in Kevin Costner’s 1989 film, Field of Dreams:

What’s that you say? You rarely, if ever, think of corn? You must be kidding!


Sam said...

Did the cows eat the corn palace??

Pat - Arkansas said...

The most delicious sweet corn I ever consumed was grown in Maine, of all places.

Unfortunately, when I think of corn (which I seldom do), I don't think of the enjoyment of eating it, but of the hot, back-breaking work of thinning acres of newly sprouted corn, then pulling dried ears from the stalks (a very itchy task,) then shucking and shelling it for animal consumption! Nowadays all labor has been mechanized, but in the 50's, it was a child-labor task! Is it any wonder I was sooooo ready to leave the farm?

Deb said...

Yes, we had corn in Illinois! You better believe it.
Knee high by the Fourth of July...as my Gramma always said.

Dr.John said...

Is that a swastika on the corn palace?
The only time I think of corn is when I eat it.

Ruth Hull Chatlien said...

We still do have corn in Illinois.

When I was 19, I did a summer study program in England. And with all that gorgeous English countryside, what I missed was the fields of corn that I grew up around.

I still miss it if I'm away from it too long. I'm a prairie girl at heart and always will be.

rhymeswithplague said...

Sam - Of course the cows didn't eat the Corn Palace. It's still standing, isn't it?

Pat - It makes me tired just reading about all the work corn required in former times.

Deb - Welcome all the way from Sandy Springs! (via Illinois, of course).

Dr. John - You are right; it is a swastika. I hadn't even noticed. I checked an encyclopedia and found that some native American tribes used the symbol, that it comes in clockwise and counter-clockwise versions, that ancient Asian religions used it, and that by the early 20th century it was widely used worldwide and was regarded as a symbol of good luck and success. Since the photo was made in 1907, I don't read anything dire into its use. You have sharp eyes.

Ruth - One more Illinoisian heard from! One thing for sure, we grow a lot of corn in this country....

Putz said...

oh i'm as corny as mollasses in august, high as a mite on the fourth of july...