It's Our Turn: The marvelous makeup of Minnesodah
Our goodbyes last a half hour — at least — as we progressively inch closer to the door while reminding one another of new talking points to discuss. Our universal, "Well, I s'pose" conveys, "I've run out of things to say," in which we finally part ways until texting our counterparts that we've made it through the blizzard and home safely. Unless the pickup needs a jump. All the more reason to stay for supper!
That's right, folks: Once you tell Toto that you're not in Kansas anymore, you'll realize that you've wandered into beautiful Minnesota (the birthplace of Dorothy herself, no less). And with it comes a fairly sized set of cultural quirks that we've embraced as our norms.
In Minnesota, it doesn't matter if you bump into somebody, they bump into you, or anywhere in between. A reflexive "sorry" or even some odd resemblance of the noise "ope" will have you both on the way to your respective ice houses without a hint of dreaded confrontation.
The weather will soon be cold enough to induce a daily "oofda" once we step outside, but we grin and bear it because Grandpa's "Back in My Day" rant is ingrained in our memory: uphill, both ways. It wouldn't be so bad if it weren't for the wind, anyway. Schools and buses are running on time, too, and you'll always receive a "you betcha!" when a friendly stranger helps you scrape the ice off your windshield after the aforementioned blizzard. Turns out, they're also Scandinavian!
We call it supper, not dinner. And we eat hot dish for supper. "Tater tot casserole" doesn't roll off the tongue like "tater tot hotdish" burns it.
It's called pop.
Driving is a breeze on the icy roads, at least once our dormant instincts kick in after the first snowfall. During that glorious mid-winter stretch when Minnesota forgets it's January, it's actually warm enough to wear a T-shirt and shorts outside. Not that we don't run out and start our cars in the same attire, anyway.
Hockey is always the talk of the town. And speaking of towns, it's second nature for us natives to correctly pronounce the likes of Wayzata, New Prague and Shakopee. No, the Mall of America isn't in Minneapolis, and neither is the nextdoor Ikea we've all gotten lost inside. We know "The Cities" is technically meant for Minneapolis and St. Paul exclusively, but it's more accurately designated for anywhere within a 30-mile radius of them.
Aside from road construction, Minnesota summers are really quite beautiful. But since summers here are short, so is this paragraph.
The infamous Vikings are a blessing and a curse. There's no better way to come home from Sunday church, eat some hot dish and grow frustrated than to yell at this year's helpless kicker, who may just cost us the season. We hold out hope that this will be the year, that this will be the year, that this will be the year. At least we'll always have Adam Thielen.
We've got 10,000 lakes and just as many festivals. And probably just as many corn mazes. We'll deep fry anything at the State Fair but still subtly shake our heads at the inflated prices (though not enough for the vendor to notice) as we pay for our cheese curds with a soft "tsk" of disapproval. However, we would fork over our life savings for Sweet Martha's Cookies, certainly the biggest reason why anyone ever goes to the State Fair.
When it comes to animals, we hunt them religiously. Blaze orange and camouflage are more popular than Prada, no matter the season. And we fish just as often, since everyone owns a lake place (or at least knows someone who does). When little Junior proudly reels in his first sunfish, Mom hurriedly takes out her iPhone from her capri pocket for a picture and exclaims, "Oh ferr cute!" as she tries to remember how the darn thing works again.
Minnesota sure is a doozy of a state. Those who have never had the pleasure of a summer night bonfire or an overwhelmingly white Christmas are surely missing-oot. We pronounce "bag" like "bayg" and we do so proudly. And you're in our state, so quit calling it soda. If ya don't like it, well, sorry there, I didn't mean to offend ya.
Well, I s'pose.
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"It's Our Turn" is a weekly column that rotates among members of the Echo Press editorial staff.