An Old Friend in Minnesoooda
pulled into Minneapolis pretty late that night, but Mark and Jayne had stayed up
waiting for me and greeted me with tired smiles. Mark is one of my oldest friends and we met in 7th grade
while debating the upcoming Nixon-McGovern election each day during lunch period at our Junior High
in California. McGovern fared as poorly in that
election as I did in the debates, but Mark and I became friends
high school, Mark, I, and other friends (including Troy and Carole, see
News: June 14, 2001) played endless games of poker, Monopoly, and Risk and
occasionally engaged in puerile, ill-conceived pranks that I won't delve into
here. Mark, Troy and I also played a lot of baseball, tennis, and golf,
and every Friday afternoon,
we would invade the local bowling alley and harass the ill-tempered, red-haired
woman at the counter whom we so ingeniously dubbed "Big Red" before bowling
a few games. Mark and I also worked a lot on our high school's newspaper, which
we both agree was the highlight of our high school experience. That tells you
something about our high school experience.
college, Mark moved back to his home state of Minnesota and met a wonderful
woman there named Jayne who had attended
the University of Wisconsin and therefore possessed a superior intellect. Jayne comes from a huge family and, as you walk around
Mark and Jayne's house, you'll trip over hundreds of framed pictures of close
relatives, distant relatives, and total strangers. No, actually it's nice
to see someone who appreciates family as much as Jayne (take the hint,
Mark). Jayne also loves cats while Mark has a "Cat Free Zone"
sign posted on the door of his den. Anyway, they're a great couple
and are lots of fun to be around. Their two kids are also lots of fun.
my travels across America, I'm constantly fascinated by the accents found in the
different parts of the country, and I have fun trying to guess where a person is
from just by hearing them speak. So far on this trip, I've contended with
the Cajun accent of Louziana, all the y'alls I could handle in Tennessee, and
the "caahs" and "focks" of New England. Of course now
that I was in Minnesota, I had to adjust to the Midwestern accent which is
Back in New England they have trouble with the letter
"R," but here in the Midwest they do funny things to the letter
"A," often adding an "E" in front of it. For instance,
a "chair" here is actually a "chear" -- or even a
"cheer" in Illinois -- and a "salad" is a
"see-alad." As you move into Minnesota, they start drawing out
the letter "O" so that it's pronounced "Minnesooooda," and a
simple "no" turns into the much more-involved
"noooooh." As you move into northern Minnesota and eastern North
Dakota, the Canadian influence becomes apparent and they start tacking on an
"eh?" to the end of every sentence whether it needs it or not, as in,
"So where ya from, eh?" Of course, us folks out in Oregon don't
speak with any kind of accent -- it's everyone else in America who talks funny.
with chuckling over the Midwestern accent during
my four-day stay at Mark's house, I got to visit with his parents, Doug and
Kay, whom I hadn't seen in 24 years when Mark and I still lived in California.
During our conversation I learned that Doug had once dated my mother's cousin in North
Dakota back in the 1940s. Considering that I didn't meet Mark or his
family until the 1970s, and that was in California, I found this coincidence
totally amazing. Of course, if Doug had married her, Mark
would be my second cousin. With that sobering thought, I left Minneapolis
left: Mark is one of my oldest and best
friends. Here's that goofy guy wearing his Ross Perot Ears. That's
his wonderful wife Jayne on the right. I spent four days visiting Mark and
Jayne and their two terrific kids.
center: Mark grilling steaks for dinner (oops, this is the Midwest
so I mean
right: Don't those steaks look gooood?
left: Riding on the freeways of Minneapolis.
center: A couple of old photos: Here's Mark and Jayne during
my visit in 1995.
right: Mark's car got pummeled a few years ago during a hailstorm,
which are pretty common in the Midwest. Here's his pock-marked roof. But
like a good neighbor, State Farm was there.
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An Old Friend in Minnesoooda