I don’t know how else to put this. It’s not you. It’s me. It’s really, really me. I’ve never met a state like you, and I’ve been to almost all of them. You are truly beautiful, in not only your appearance, but your people, your ways, your Beer. You’ve taught me so much in these 33 years we’ve been together. You’ve taught me how to appreciate cold, snowy winters and good IPA’s. You’ve taught me how to love the Brewers and be a true fan through the good times and the bad. Mostly bad. Like really, really bad. You’ve taught me to look forward to the smell of manure in the breeze, silos on the horizon and the color red in your barns, the Badgers and burning autumn leaves. You’ve taught me everything is better with cheese. And that if you can eat it, you can fry it. Even candy.
I will never forget the hundreds of miles of countryside we’ve bicycled together, the rolling farmlands washing all my worries away. Or the endless weekend road trips you inspired me to take. And the rainbow of colors your little peninsula proudly radiates in October. Oh, and the Beer. I don’t care what anyone else says. Not only do you make great Beer, you come up with creative excuses for your people to frequently consume it, and that my friend, is a gift. A gift, I tell you!
Remember when I made you my Valentine? That 14th day of February I committed myself to you forever. We will literally never part. And while the pain of your outline on my ribcage made me want to punch you in the face, in the end, it just made our relationship stronger. When the artist asked me if there was a special reason, I just blinked at him. Like you need an explanation.
Thank you for your intense thunderstorms, aromatic lilac bushes, clear lakes, quiet forests, and your beautiful bovines. I am super into those cows. Thank you for your football fans and the drunk college students who basically put me through school via their way-too-easily-influenced-by-boobs cash money tips. Thank you for Milwaukee. Thank you for La Crosse. Thank you for Wausau, Minoqua, Mercer, Florence, Superior, Hayward, Door County, Eau Claire, Chetek, Rice Lake, Cadott, Rhinelander, Conover, Mineral Point, and every small town I have ever joined you for a Beer. You are so beautiful, you don’t even know it. Have you ever wondered why everyone from the southern border state owns vacation homes on your lake shores? Why those FIBs drive up eight hours every weekend to escape into your luscious forest and lake-filled arms? Because you’re the best.
Just like Minnesota has their Nice, you have Wisconsin Love. On Wednesday, when a Tornado bartender I had never met overheard it was my last Tornado Late Night meal of delicious scallops and my beloved only-Tornado-can-make-it-this-good wedge salad, he swiped his own credit card with his employee discount, signed the receipt and put it in front of me. I love you because those are the kind of people who live within your ridiculously awesomely shaped border.
That old schoolyard taunt, “if you love it so much why don’t you marry it?” could never work on me. Because I would. I would marry you and have millions of your babies, and watch as they slowly invaded Illinois and Ohio and Indiana, three of the worst states ever. Eventually the whole country would be one giant Kowalski-Wisconsin, not so commonly referred to as Heaven.
Other people, non-Wisconsinites, they just don’t understand. When they ask me where I am from, they say it’s no wonder I am leaving you, what with all the cold, the snow, the “midwesterness,” the people…all of the things I adore about you. Every stereotype out there about people from Wisconsin (for a fairly accurate verbal tour, Sh*t Wisconsinites Say pretty much sums it up): we fry everything, put cheese on everything, we’re drunk all of the time, our phenomenal accent, the cows, it’s true! It’s all true! And it’s spectacular. And for 33 years, I couldn’t have painted a prettier picture.
But it’s time. I’ve known this for a while, and I think you feel it too.
Just know this: it doesn’t matter where my mail gets delivered. You will always be my home.
P.S. Please don’t get mad at me if I eventually move to Minnesota. My sole purpose is to spread Wisconsin love, I swear.