One-year reflections

Jam of the week: “Dream House” by Deafheaven

Deja vu is something I’ve rarely encountered in Webster City. While I spend a lot of my time in some of the same areas of town, I’ve had just over a year to experience Webster City.

Last year, shortly after I arrived in June, Webster City hosted RAGBRAI for a night. I think we all have our own fond memories of the town as crowds of people poured in. That was a unique experience that I don’t think will return for quite some time. However, after RAGBRAI, one of the first big events that I helped cover for the paper was the Hamilton County Fair.

Just yesterday, I was out along Second Street taking photos of the parade. I weaved through people up and down the road getting photos of people waving from cars, children as they clamored for candy, rows of people watching the parade that had reserved their spot at least an hour in advance and have probably attended the fair for many years, and much more.

I also had the chance yesterday to get out to the fairgrounds. As I pulled into the parking lot, I recalled sitting in my car after the fair queen coronation waiting out a severe storm that my childhood friend’s mother would have called a “ripsnorter.” I walked the grounds toward the pavilion, reminding myself how lucky I was to be walking in about 80 degree weather instead of the blistering heat of last year. Memories came back to me as I smelled the unique mixture of dust, livestock and food being prepared.

I remembered my unease as shuffled around to find an inconspicuous spot to take photos at during the fair queen coronation last year. I remembered going down to the Hamilton County Speedway and meeting Nancy Kayser for the first time as I got as close as anyone would feel comfortable to the roaring racetrack to get photos.

It was strange to recall these memories as the fire engines came slowly rolling by for the parade. I could scarcely believe that a year here in Webster City had already gone by for me. A year of meeting new people, a year of weathering the weather, a year of finding stories in Hamilton County.

Rather than looking at this passing of a year as a reset, I hope to continue to move forward in Webster City. Despite meeting many people, covering what I think have been many interesting stories, and working in the community for so long, I think there’s still much I have left untouched and unnoticed.

I’m really looking forward to making this next year better than the last. I might not interview any major politicians. I hopefully won’t be getting more fire photos at Electrolux. But, I can’t wait to find out what will happen next.