Daily Archives: July 19, 2010

Another bucket list item about to be crossed off: A pilgrimage to a cornfield in Iowa

Going to Iowa today.
Couldn’t be more excited about it.
There are moments when you are absolutely, 100 percent sure that the man you’ve always believed to be your father is definitely your father.
When you both have the exact same vision, living hundreds of miles apart, of something that would be the ultimate dad-kid experience.
A few months ago, I heard that the cornfield in Dyersville, Iowa that was used for the movie “Field of Dreams”  was up for sale. Since the 1989 release of the movie, the field, owned by the Lansing family, has been kept just about exactly as it was in the movie, and turned into a tourist destination. People go there from all over the world, play a little baseball in the impromptu pick-up games that are always going on, walk in the cornfield, and re-capture the memories of how the film made them feel.

Since “Field of Dreams” is by far my favorite movie of all time, I thought news of the possible sale might spur me into taking action on fulfilling my two-decades old dream of visiting it one day. So I wrote this blog post about it, and then spent about an hour researching, theoretically, how much it would cost for my wife and I to fly to Iowa this summer, spend a day or two at the field, and come back.
“Wouldn’t you rather go with your Dad?” she asked at one point.
Of course that had occurred to me, but this is a man who lives on Long Island and thinks it’s too much of a schlep to drive into Queens. I figured there’s no way he’d want to go.
Anyway, I put the possible trip out of my head, dismissing it as not practical at this point in my life.
Literally the next day, my father emails Julie, before he’d read my blog post. He asks her to call him when I’m not around. So she does, later that day while I’m at work.
“Do you think Michael would want to go to Iowa this summer … ” he began. My wife, of course, began freaking out, screaming “Are you kidding me? We were JUST talking about this last night?”
And so, here I sit, a mere seven hours before my father and I begin our pilgrimage. We’re flying from New York to Chicago, then driving three hours to Dyersville. Going to play baseball on the “Field of Dreams” (I’m smiling just writing that!) Monday afternoon. Sleeping over there Monday night, going back to the field Tuesday for another look, then driving back to Chicago. Taking Pops to his first game at Wrigley Field that night (I’ve been once, it’s a shrine), then flying home to NY Wednesday morning.

It is the kind of trip you always read or hear about other people taking, and I’m exceedingly lucky and excited to be going. I love that my Dad wants to experience this with me, and that he’s up for adventure.

No, I don’t expect Ty Cobb or Mickey Mantle to walk out of the cornfield while I’m playing second base Monday. And I’m pretty sure James Earl Jones won’t be saying “Ray, people will come” when we drive up the road to the farm. Yeah, I know it’s a film set.

But the thrill of this movie, to me, has always been the idea of holding onto your dreams, and making them come true. And to me, getting to walk on the hallowed ground in Iowa is truly a dream come true.
I’ll let you know how it goes tomorrow, as well as what else I find in the tiny town of Dyersville.(Got to be a few cool things, right?)