About This Website   |   Who Am I?   |   Site Map   |   Music   |   Contact Me










An Old Friend in Minnesoooda

(Reprint from News: August 14, 2001)

August 11, 2001


I 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 nonetheless.  


Throughout 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.


After 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.


During 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 totally different.  


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.


Along 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 heading west.



Above 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.

Above center:  Mark grilling steaks for dinner (oops, this is the Midwest so I mean "supper").

Above right:  Don't those steaks look gooood?



Above left:  Riding on the freeways of Minneapolis.

Above center:  A couple of old photos:  Here's Mark and Jayne during my visit in 1995.

Above 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.



Home > Travels (2001-02) > Story List > U.S. Stories > An Old Friend in Minnesoooda