The Alvin Straight Story – Weirdness Wednesdays June 22, 2022

Here’s a positive post for this week’s Weirdness Wednesday post: Longer article.

By Mike Lunsford Mar 17, 2015

LAURENS, IOWA – As Joanie and I drove away from this industrious little town last June, a pheasant — as big of one as I have ever seen — leisurely strolled across State Highway 10, bringing our car to a screeching halt. In no hurry, and despite a honk or two, he made his way from one wet soybean field to another, then disappeared.

Laurens — pronounced LAW-RENZ — has about 1,300 people, a very tall grain elevator, a wide main street, a great public library, and a wonderful story — “The Straight Story.” The latter is the unlikely tale of Alvin Straight, a cantankerous former truck driver and laborer, who at 73, arthritic, and nearly blind, took it upon himself to make a journey of nearly 250 miles from here to Blue River, Wisconsin, and he did it at about the same pace as the aforementioned pheasant, for he drove his lawn mower all the way.

There is no statue on the town square commemorating Straight, and had I not stopped at the Pizza Ranch Restaurant along its main drag, I’m not sure I would have spent much time in Laurens, despite its nickname as “The Busiest Little Town in Iowa.”

But the good people I met in Laurens eventually helped me understand why Alvin’s story — as Hollywood director David Lynch portrayed it in 1999 — is such an appealing one, no bronze plaque needed.



About Wichita Genealogist

Originally from Gulfport, Mississippi. Live in Wichita, Kansas now. I suffer Bipolar I, ultra-ultra rapid cycling, mixed episodes. Blog on a variety of topics - genealogy, DNA, mental health, among others. Let's
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