Hmmmmmm. Is it Des Moines' unmistakable gold-domed capital that so often twinkles in the dusk like those cliched shots of cornfields everyone uses to establish the fact that "Hey, we're in Iowa now!" Is it the Travelers Insurance sign lighting up downtown at 5th & Grand which, every time I pass by it, briefly makes me believe I'm in a Model T on my way to the speakeasy to get blotto? Is it RAGBRAI (i.e. Register's Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa) that draws people from every walk of life and corner of the world each summer to take to their bicycles to pedal from the Mississippi to the Missouri or vice-versa?
Nope. Sorry it's none of those things. I mean, Iowa's got a whole lot more going for it, don't you know?
Iowa's got the 31st President (i.e. Herbert Hoover) and the 33rd Vice President (i.e. Henry Wallace) and Capt. James T. Kirk (born, of course, in Riverside, Iowa). Iowa's got Glenn Miller and Frodo Baggins (i.e. Elijah Wood) and I suppose it's got Marion Morrison (i.e. John Wayne) but Cinema Romantico would prefer to have Montgomery Clift instead. Iowa's got Tom Arnold…..wait……withdrawn! Iowa's got Grant Wood and his American Gothic (okay, actually Chicago has American Gothic at its fancy-pants Art Institute, but still…). Iowa's got the Field of Dreams and those covered bridges down there in Madison County. Iowa's got the Writer’s Workshop and the Caucuses and The World’s Largest Truck Stop (shoot me in the face). Iowa's got Nile Kinnick’s Heisman Trophy and Shawn Johnson’s Gold Medal and Shawn Johnson’s Dancing With The Stars Championship Belt (shoot me in the face again).
Yeah, Iowa’s got all that, but you do know what else Iowa’s got? I’ll tell you what else Iowa’s got.
Iowa’s got Donna Reed’s Oscar.
And that just ain’t any ol’ Oscar, homey. That’s the Oscar Ms. Reed earned for playing Alma “Lorene” Burke in “From Here To” Freaking “Eternity.” Ya dig? If there are levels of worth of particular Oscars – and we all know there are – then Ms. Reed’s Oscar is as righteous as Mother Teresa.
Donna’s our girl and her Oscar’s our guy. Literally. The statuette itself was bequeathed at her request to her hometown of Denison, Iowa following her death in 1986 where it remains displayed at the W.A. McHenry House.
Thus, in my completely unofficial and totally subjective capacity, I hereby declare Donna Reed’s Oscar to be Iowa’s Greatest Claim To Fame. Word to the New Congress Club.