We have most types and variations of ladders here in the Midwest, barring those that rise and reach to monumental success and notoriety. We like our ladders comfortable and not too lofty — step wise. Sit down around the fire, six feet apart, while I tell you about the Midwestern Ladder.
We will first discuss the most common ladder, that of the Christian ladder owned by most middle class fathers in towns like Grand Rapids, Michigan or Cedar Falls, Iowa. If you need to borrow this ladder, you just need to ask — you’ll get a humble and kind affirmative reply. The ladder will be shabby, yet sturdy. It’s from the local Mendards or kept second hand from their father who served in Korea. The sentimental ladder has been preserved and coddled, climbed by the oldest and youngest kin. When you use this ladder you feel its religiosity, its ancestral quality. It doesn’t have any special accoutrements — no technical enhancements. In fact, it probably has a quirk that has to be quickly explained by the owner when borrowed — a step that needs particular care when stepped on. After using this ladder, its generally known and observed that one must sit down to a chowder with oyster crackers, and play some euchre with your beloved family. It is a good, not unpleasant ladder.
The next ladder is that of the Betsy Devos type. These are few and far between — grade A quality and in Bristol fashion — privatized to their owners liking. A few Midwesterners get ladders like these, and they keep them to themselves. The private ladder is climbed by Louboutin’s and Clarks, and can be found either at the casida shed or the lake house shed. It’s a bit like breaking the glass ceiling if you get your hands on one. The question after it’s been used and climbed is not “How might we efficiently use this ladder later?” but “Where do we get our next, new, shiny ladder with which to climb?” Bright lights shine on the ladders dwelling at night, spotlighting its gilded metal. Shrouded in eves and flora and fauna indigenous to the area, its precious beyond measure and acquired by 1% of Midwesterners. Lest we forget, this essay is about ladders.
The third Midwestern ladder, and last one needed for this specific ladder discussion, is the “Every Man” ladder. This ladder kicks ass. Underestimated for its generic looks, it does the job and stays put. The vast majority of midwesterners has obtained this ladder by any means necessary. If you bought it in Sioux City, it will stay in Sioux City for years to come. Its theme song is “Hot Cross Buns.” Tried and true, used and loved, generous and tax-paying; a ladder for the masses.
The ladder game is strong here in the Midwest. We welcome many other ladders, especially famous ones. As the “city” sees a general decline right now, we welcome you to the great frontier, the John Steinbeck dream. Climb the Midwestern ladder, and at the top, be greeted by creamed corn and a blitheness of life.