Speaking Minnesotan

My wife has a heart as wide as the horizon. I have the emotional range of a turnip. While my wife disputes this, many others have confirmed it. I think I know at least part of the reason. While my name may be French, my blood seems to be Scandahoovian.

You see,

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I was born, raised and lived in Minnesota until I went away to college. Even though my mom was from the South and my dad from the Northwest, the Land of 10,000 Lakes seems to have left a deep impression on me.

I don’t have a distinctive accent (the suburbs can do that to you), but I have noticed a phrase or two I often voice that betray my upbringing. And these offer a small window not only into my soul but into that of many others with my background.

When I really like something and think it is absolutely fabulous, I say, “Not too bad.” And when something is completely terrible, disgusting or goes horribly wrong, I respond with, “Not so good.”


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man on the moon. The Twins win the World Series. The new Star Wars movie is actually good. The absolute best clam chowder I’ve had in my whole life. “Not too bad.”

The stock market crashes. I total my car. The house next door burns down and ours nearly catches on fire. The dinner I made tastes astonishingly similar to dirt. “Not so good.”

Is it the Minnesota winters? The Vikings always losing the Super Bowl? Or the fact that the Norwegians never became a world empire? Who knows.

But I still love Minnesota, the kind and honest people, four very distinct seasons, the appreciation for the arts, the wonderful outdoors. And do I give it the highest praise I can utter? Do I say, “Not too bad”?

Ya, sure. You betcha.

Images: rochestermn.gov, nps.gov

Author: Andy Le Peau

I've been an editor and writer for over forty years. I am passionate about ideas and how we can express them clearly, beautifully, and persuasively. I love reading good books, talking about them, and recommending them. I thoroughly enjoy my family who help me continue on the path of a lifelong learner.

4 thoughts on “Speaking Minnesotan”

  1. I attended seminary in Minnesota, and know just what you’re talking about. Coming from the West Coast, it was a bit of a culture shock. A shock, yes, but a positive one. Loved the people, and survived the winters!

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