Thursday, April 21, 2011

Community Living

Since it seems I am always writing about food these days, I will start this post by saying that for dinner last night we enjoyed six free pizzas from Punch Pizza, thanks to their Pre-Easter Feaster coupons.  As you might imagine, there were quite a few folks there for free pizzas, so the kids and I waited in line (some of the time in the chilly rain) for nearly an hour.  At least the day had improved from a morning that looked like this:
Standing in long lines at neighborhood restaurants and events is actually kind of fun for me, and it is just the thing for analyzing a cross-section of the people living around us (or at least the ones who are in the know about free food deals).  The pizza-fest last night was very similar to Ben & Jerry's Free Cone Day, which we never miss for obvious reasons.  It seems the entire town is there, and it is really just a big social event.  And it is one of the few times that Minnesotans just stand around and have a chat with total strangers.

"What?" my southern friends may be saying, "doesn't that happen every time you wait in any line for any thing?"  Nope, not really up here.  Now it may not be hard for you to guess that I often initiate conversation with strangers in line at the grocery store, because that's just me.  But, as I've mentioned, I do not always fit in so well here.

This brings me to my point, however, and that is this: I am starting to feel like we belong here.  After all this time, I have begun to understand Minnesotans better, I have gotten to know some of them personally, and I have become a part of this place.  The cashier at the grocery store knows me.  The tall guy at Chipotle recognizes our Tuesday lunch group and knows we order salads.  We know and love our neighbors.  We always go to the big concert with fireworks near July 4th, and we see people we know there.  And this is good.

This same sense of community is a bit wider-spread when it comes to the beloved Minnesota Twins, the hometown team.  Our family went to this season's home opener at Target Field, and it was such a fun thing to be a part of.  (We even saw someone we know there!)  It felt like the whole state was paying attention.  Everywhere we went that day almost everyone was wearing Twins shirts, hats, jackets, you name it.  And that continues on a somewhat smaller scale every single game day, even though the Twins are struggling a bit.  Even in the pizza line last night we were not the only ones following the game on the cell phone.

It does seem that some of the things that really did not matter as much to me when we were still in the moving around mode have started to matter more.  We have always enjoyed the close-knit community of our church family, and are so very thankful for that.  But it is gratifying to enjoy the larger community as well.  If only some of these nice folks could do something about the winter weather!

Back to food:  One of the bits of conversation I had last night was about cooking over a camp fire, a piece of Minnesota life that we really do enjoy around here.  A lady told me how to fry doughnuts in a coffee can, and I can not wait to try it!  She was somewhat surprised that we had never done it, though the kids piped up that we had roasted powder sugared mini doughnuts on a stick over the fire, so that made her feel better.  If anyone out there has actually fried doughnuts in a coffee can, I would love to hear about it!

Psalm 16:5-6:
The Lord is my chosen portion and my cup;
you hold my lot.
The lines have fallen for me in pleasant places;
indeed, I have a beautiful inheritance.

1 comment:

Gail said...

You know I would give almost anything to have all of you much, much closer. Last week, with Holt, I thought a lot about it and how much fun we could all have. Having said that, I am so very thankful that you feel a part of community and are beginning to understand and love the people where you live. Minnesotans that I have met seem a very generous,considerate, and caring people and there is much to really like about the state (the weather excluded).