Thursday, August 2, 2007

Minnesota Nice

It is said that tragedy brings people together, and brings out the best in human nature.

You could see it in the Okies when the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building was attacked.

You could see it in NY and Washington D.C. and on an airplane over PA.

You could see it in Minneapolis last night.

The thing is, in Minnesota, we really didn't need a tragedy to bring out the best in us. It's actually a bit of a joke about the "nice" Minnesotans, but for the most part it's true.

We'll ask the person next to us in the grocery store to grab something for us off the top shelf even though they clearly don't work at the store. And that person will automatically oblige without a thought.

We ask one another how we're doing and we get the response "oh purty good" even if the person's life is in a shambles. "Can't complain; could be worse."

We "complain" about the weather but in the same breath will say something like "it may be 30 below, but hey, at least it's not 40 below!"

We get stuck in a snow drift and have a stranger at our bumper pushing us out with a wave once we are on our way again.

We find our car battery is dead and find a stranger who is ready with jumper-cables to get it going again.

We come to a 4-way stop intersection and cheerfully wave the other person to go first, and they will wave back for us to go first instead.

We're already nice.

Our pastor gave a sermon this spring that brought from the congregation that agreeable laughter that says "yep, you're sooo right." He was talking about the Minnesotan goodbye.

It goes something like this. You say "I suppose we'd better get going" then continue to sit and talk for another half-hour. Then, you make the move for the door and stand in the doorway for another 10 minutes of chatting. Once you move outside, you stand next to your car to chat for another 15 minutes. Then, you get into your car but promptly roll down the window so you can chat for a bit longer.

By the time you finally leave, it's at least an hour later than when you said you were going to leave. Such is the Minnesotan Goodbye. We hate to leave, and hate to say goodbye.

We didn't need a tragedy like this to make us appreciate one another. We already do.

6 people like me!:

wayabetty said...

I was thinking about you and Jeff when this tragedy happened!

We all could learn a thing or two about being nice like you folks!

Sorry I haven't been around, it's been hectic around here with 7 kids running around!

Sandy said...

You forgot to mention that once you get to the car, we ask you to come back inside for some quick hotdish or some bars for dessert!

Yeah, we are pretty nice, huh?

bethiclaus said...

I have to say, my Minnesota family members are among my nicest. Although the rest of us are from California, so I guess we're probably not setting the bar too high.

My prayers are with you.

Damselfly said...

I have totally done the Minnestoan goodbye!

The whole country really feels for the people in the bridge accident. And we know that could have been us, because there are bridges just about everywhere are structurally deficient.

Gunfighter said...


You could have been describing Virginia with everything you said! (except the part about the temperatures... here in Virginia, we talk about the heat).

Heather said...

Good to know that people are nice in other states too!

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