MPR News Commentary
By Steve Harris
Steve Harris is director of philanthropic communications for the YMCA of the Greater Twin Cities. With his wife, Susie, he is owner and innkeeper of Anna V’s Bed & Breakfast in Lanesboro, Minn.
Are Minnesotans welcoming to newcomers? Over the last four decades I’ve “moved back” here four times, so I can offer an opinion. My answer sounds, well, Minnesotan: “Yes, kind of.”
MPR Story covers Steve’s first 3 moves “back to MN” and Lanesboro, Mn was his 4th MN move. Read the whole story
My fourth Minnesota move was three years ago, to the little village of Lanesboro in southeastern Minnesota. Small towns (all towns?) are built on family connections. But even a small town has places where you can find friendliness and friends. It takes time. But it will happen if you work at it.
How do you do that? You volunteer at the Beer Garden at Buffalo Bill Days. You eat breakfast with the locals at the “Chat and Chew” restaurant. You walk your dog in the park and shop at the Farmer’s Market. You get out there and keep smiling and keep “visiting.” Minnesotans like that. And they will like you.
Sometimes they’ll even surprise you. A few months after we moved in, while on an out-of-state trip, we got a call from Dean, our new neighbor (whom we really didn’t know yet), telling us that a big storm had knocked down our large maple tree.
“We’re returning in a few days,” I said. “Can you call someone to take care of it?”
“Sure,” he said.
We returned to find the tree mess entirely cleaned up, and learned that Dean and his wife had done all the work themselves. When we offered to pay them for time and labor, they refused. “We’re neighbors,” Dean said. “That’s what neighbors do.”
Are Minnesotans friendly to newcomers?
Generally speaking, yes, but not in an overly expressive way. A unique combination of ethnic roots, family-centered culture and climate color that. But there are good people here, helpful and kind people, who are ready to do what they can for others, even the others they don’t know yet.
Maybe that’s why I keep coming back.
Read the whole story