The last question I have left to answer from my sleep-dep night is, "I'd like to hear about why you relate to Minnesota(ns) so well." And I think in many ways, the answer is, because I choose to, and in other ways it's not so much of a choice.
I was raised by
I choose to take delight in the vowels, in the weather, in the communicative silences. I choose to blow a kiss to the skyline whenever I cross the Mendota Bridge. I choose to have picnics at the Falls and walk around the lakes and keep track of what's thawed and what's still frozen over. It is an utter pain in the ass to have to throw salt on the driveway at 5:15 a.m. on my way to taking markgritter to the airport. But it is my own utter pain in the ass. There are interesting artists of various kinds elsewhere, but more of the ones here feel like mine. There are festivals and events elsewhere, but these hit the rhythms of my blood. The words sound right in my ears, Aquatennial and Fest, Holidazzle and Winter Carnival. The air smells right, shifting temperatures off standing water. It hits my blood and my bones, and here I stay.
Not every Minnesotan shares every experience of Minnesotanness, and that's okay. Tonight, not every "real" Minnesotan is thinking of how Kirby Puckett used to bob around like a little ballooon on the field, or how funny his legs looked motoring around the bases when he pulled it out for them in the 9th again; not every "real" Minnesotan's childhood prayers featured Kirby. Not every "real" Minnesotan had childhood prayers at all. Not every "real" Minnesotan eats lefse or herring or wears Dale of Norway sweaters while shopping at malls that all end in -dale. Not every "real" Minnesotan has had all-you-can-drink milk for cheap at the State Fair. Not every "real" Minnesotan has spent alternate weekends at Fest dusty and hot, then muddy and freezing. But these things all go into a pool, and we draw out what we can, and put in what we can. And some of us look down when we dip into it and say, look how clear the water is, look how cool, look how sweet. "But other lands have sunlight, too, and clover," as the song says; other places have their own pools. But this one's mine, and I have the right rings to get in, but I'm not sure I have the ones to come back, and I'm not sure I want them.