If the directions are so accurate, why am I so lost?
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If the directions are so accurate, why am I so lost?
By Jerry Wadian
Last week South Winn was in Mason City for a Substate baseball game.
Since Ossian Bee sports editor Becky Walz’s father had just died, I was asked to go to Mason City.
No problem. Go to Google, get directions, and start early, just in case.
The directions to Mason City were simple and accurate enough. The directions to Mason City High School were a classic example of cyberspace’s sense of humor.
What started as an accurate map of Mason City, Iowa, quickly turned to a map of a Mason City from another state, conceivably from another planet.
Before I got too lost, I stopped at a gas station/convenience store. The clerk was not only very nice, but actually knew a simple way to get the “eight miles” to the high school. It was only four miles, but he was spot-on accurate.
The only problem was that my car was the only one there! The school and athletic complex were a study of empty.
I could see the end of the athletic complex, but not the school. Perhaps they put the baseball diamond on the other side?
Before I knew it, I was on a four-lane to New Hampton, when I spotted the last business on the right – a bowling alley.
I should have known better. After all the years working for Jerry Blue, I should have realized never to ask for information from people crazy enough to invest in bowling alleys.
There were three guys at the alley, so you can imagine how many different answers I got.
They did agree on two things: the baseball diamond was at the high school, and no one knew anything about a Substate baseball game.
When I asked if there was a city park for baseball, I got a “yes,” “no,” and “maybe.” However, if it did exist, no one knew where it might be.
That left Mason City Newman. The three bowlers directions were spot-on. No problem covering the three to four miles as the crow flies – six to eight miles as the cars jam.
I found the school, there was plenty of time, and the parking lot was full. Great!
There was no one in the stands! No fans, players, or other signs of sensate life, not even an umpire!
I was now running a bit late. Perhaps I should call Mrs. Walz and let her know. Then I realized my wife used the phone on her trip a few days ago and still had the phone! I was betting Walz was busy muttering muted threats and trying to add exotic animals to my family tree.
Little did she know that so many former students have already done that, so even a pomegranate seed wouldn’t fit.
Off to a nearby Casey’s, where neither of the two clerks or several customers knew anything about a baseball game or any stadiums – except the empty one next door.
One person offered, “There might be another school named Roosevelt somewhere on Kentucky Avenue after Highway 65 ends.” The person thought I should turn north out of town after 65 stops.
Even withmy meager knowledge of Mason City – pretty much limited to the McNeider Museum, one of Iowa’s artistic treasures – I knew not to follow those not-so-spot-on directions.
So, it was back to the senior high school to check in another direction; perhaps the baseball field was farther out from the athletic complex.
It wasn’t. I mean, I found plenty of fields, but all were growing things. Even the most avid soccer player wasn’t going to play on them.
On the way back to the high school, I pulled into a small park because I saw an elderly couple on bicycles.
Would you believe they knew where the stadium was?
According to the gentleman, “Go to the next light and turn right. The next light after that is Kentucky Avenue; turn right and take another right when see 15th Avenue and you’ll run right into the stadium.”
What he meant to say was Kentucky was the second light and turn left!
While the misplaced information was quickly corrected, I was running a bit more than late.
But after a left and a right, I found the stadium, parked, and rushed to find a way in.
Nothing there but stands and high fences.
I saw people down the right-field line, and there was the game – right behind a tall fence.
Fortunately, there was a pre-Columbian artifact masquerading as a bench. The lady shooting photos from the bench warned, “It’s a bit rickety.”
A forgivable euphemism. However, I got on and started shooting. On the other side was Walz with her camera. From the look of her moving lips, I think she was busy adding animals to the family tree, but the look on her face indicated she had discovered how full the tree was.
At any rate, it was the top of the fourth, SW was up 1-0, and I got some photos.
The good news out of all this is that over the two innings I shot, SW scored 10 runs to win, 11-1.
Perhaps I’m the Warriors’ good luck charm? I’m certainly glad to sell my services, should the coach, AD, or principal meet my modest demands.
Just one condition: I’m never going back to Mason City. I will miss the McNeider, but it’s a small price to pay to keep what little sanity I have left.