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The Commute - Minnesota Nice


Fri, Nov 15th, 2002
Posted in Columnists

What exactly is Minnesota Nice? Ive heard it referred to quite often lately in the national media. The phrase brings with it a vision of crowds of people with normal bodies but big, yellow, smiley- face heads.

I grew up just assuming that we Minnesotans were unusually nice. I didnt give it much thought at all until I found myself not living in Minnesota. At the end of our first week in Michigan, my husband and I turned to each other and said in unison, People are so darned friendly here!

From the post office clerk, to the McDonalds worker, to the voice on the other end when I called for phone service, all the Michiganders we encountered seemed abnormally friendly to us because they talked to us. We werent used to this and were admittedly a little suspicious at times.

This is the point at which I began to question Minnesota Nice. Could Minnesotans really be that friendly if my husband and I, newly sprung from the Land ONice, were practically in shock from the warmth of Michiganders?

Part of the friendliness of our new fellow-citizens included curiousity: Do Minnesotans really talk with that funny accent, like in the movie Fargo? Did they really elect Jesse the Body for governor? Is there really such a thing as Minnesota Nice?

No. Yes. And, well, Im not sure. My obsession with exactness made me want to be able to tell the truth about Minnesota Nice.

Well, its not exactly nice. Its more like, we dont get into your business, and you stay out of ours, and everything will just be fine. Its more of a...politeness. Yes, thats it. Minnesota Politeness.

I blush to think of all the people I confused with that lame explanation. But the subject wont leave me alone.

Recently, a young woman from Iowa told me shed always been baffled by the term Minnesota Nice. When she and her family vacationed in Minnesota each summer, they found the natives to be rather quiet and standoffish. They basically ignore us, she concluded.

I think I can clear that up. What you dont understand, dear Iowan, is that when we ignore you, we ARE being nice. Let me try to explain:

If we were to converse with you, maybe ask how you doing?, that would lead you to feel like you had to answer (Fine!). In return, wed feel compelled to answer the sa .....
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Notes from a Country Kitchen

Fri, Nov 15th, 2002
Posted in Columnists

Seems like everybody goes for coffee breaks, and I wonder how much coffee some people drink in a day. I remember years ago how we made coffee especially at church doings or Ladies Aid suppers. We used those big coffee pots and we would add 1-2 eggs ( ..... 
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Notes from a country kitchen

Fri, Nov 8th, 2002
Posted in Columnists

Yes, we have had some cold weather for October and now into November, but I guess all of us older ones will never forget November 11, 1940, our terrible Armistice's Day storm. There is one thing in life that none of us, not one person can change and ..... 
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Journal Writing Project - Eric Leitzen

Fri, Nov 8th, 2002
Posted in Columnists

An excerpt from the diary of Corporal Peter Swenson, of Red Wing, Minnesota.

How much Longer will it last? Three days I have laid here in this dug out hole, this muddy, barbed wire studded bunker that has been my home for the p ..... 
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At Home in the Woods- Abby's World

Fri, Nov 8th, 2002
Posted in Columnists

The Lanesboro library was our first stop. She found the children's section immediately, picked out a book with an elephant on the front cover sitting in a bathtub drinking tea. She sat at one of the small chairs and began to turn the pages. I picked ..... 
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Notes From a Country Kitchen

Fri, Nov 1st, 2002
Posted in Columnists

One of these Days

One of these days, I'll be free  to do everything that pleases ME!  I'll eat popcorn with a spoon  Or, lie down to rest at half-past no ..... 
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Township Roads- The annual 4-H hayride

Fri, Nov 1st, 2002
Posted in Columnists

Soon after we got our new fifty-two-year-old tractor, I threatened our sons with a hayride. I suggested that they could invite all their friends over and we would hitch the Farmall to our sheep trailer and go for a hayride over the pasture and throug ..... 
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Journal Writiing Project-Andy Wolter

Fri, Nov 1st, 2002
Posted in Columnists

I was sitting in the computer lab, idly tapping the keys, trying to generate ideas for an article I had to write. I had procrastinated for days thinking up a decent topic to write about. Now I had two days left to write, revise and edit a piece on so ..... 
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Notes From a Country Kitchen

Fri, Oct 25th, 2002
Posted in Columnists

Last month at Circle we had roll call and the question was "What job do you hate the most?" I believe almost everyone, including our Pastor, said it was washing windows. I remember years ago it was hard to get the men folks to help get the st ..... 
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