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As I was setting out this morning on a fishing expedition, my neighbor gave me a vial of bait he had purchased but hadn't yet used. To my initial surprise, it was produced, mirabile dictu, in Fort Atkinson, Wisconsin.
As the initial surprise wore off, however, I settled into the realization that a Wisconsin fishing product showing up in New Jersey made perfect sense. Let's face it, everywhere in this country, people look upon Wisconsin as a pristine and pure place where the cheese is infinitely better, the trees must grow taller, the fishing, certainly, but even the beer is better.
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But this got me to thinking.
"Made in Wisconsin" has a cache about it that many other states must envy.
I mean, there are other states with a claim to fame, to be sure.
Florida Orange Juice!
And "Made in Detroit" might not mean what it once did, but at least people do understand the reference.
But "Made in Wisconsin" somehow impresses people around the US, whether the product be beer, dairy, bait, or who knows what.
And so, inspired by this experience, I'll be making a series of posts on this topic. Wisconsin is truly special place that occupies the imagination of this country dramatically more than its population should have predicted. And there are a lot of stories to tell.
I sadly don't live there currently, but I'll always be from there. And I will never be from anywhere else.
I was "Made in Wisconsin," as well. And I'm so proud of it.
Keith Massey was born and raised in Madison, Wisconsin. He has his doctorate from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in Biblical Hebrew, with a minor in Arabic. After 9/11, he served as an Arabic linguist at the NSA. He is currently a Latin teacher at a public high school in New Jersey.
Keith is the author of Intermediate Arabic for Dummies. His fiction novels follow the adventures of Andrew Valquist, roughly patterned after himself--a man born and raised in Wisconsin who gets pulled into the world of international intrigue.
Keith's novels are A Place of Brightness, Amor Vincit Omnia: An Andrew Valquist Adventure, Next Stop: Spanish, and In Saecula Saeculorum.