In the Yard

Rhonda Hayes is a garden writer, photographer and blogger. She also volunteers as a Hennepin County Master Gardener. Rhonda chronicles her gardening adventures and advice at her award-winning blog, The Garden Buzz. She is a frequent contributor to Northern Gardener magazine and the Star Tribune Home + Garden section. At Your Voices, she writes about life around the city lakes, occasionally veering off the garden path with essays on the silly and serious issues of the day.

Discovering Minnesota....Nice...After All

Posted by: Rhonda Hayes Updated: December 27, 2012 - 3:50 PM

 Last year I wrote that even five years into living in Minnesota I hadn't found Minnesota, or to be more exact, Minnesotans all that nice. They weren't not nice. They were more a pronounced neutral.

Then there was that warning about the myth of Minnesota Nice and all those passive aggressive nuances involved. 

And it didn't help that I was now spending part of the winters "down south", where I was routinely called sugar, darlin' and honey-pie by total strangers who seem genuinely interested in how I was doing, at least for time we interacted in social or commercial situations.

But then something changed, actually we changed something, our location. Then suddenly there it was, niceness. Do I dare even say it's more like Minneapolis Nice? How do I share or compare this newfound nice without dissing the old place a mere fourteen miles away? Yet the difference was so stark.

Is it the physical closeness of the homes? Is it the lack of cul-de-sacs? Is it the parking arrangement, more detached or sometimes nonexistent garages leaving your comings and goings exposed to a possible neighborly greeting? Is there a more complicated explanation for this spirit and pride?  

Here I hear my name from a neighbor often. Here I see the same folks out and about, we smile, pet dogs, exchange tips, attend block parties. Were we just in a tiny, nice-less space and time warp before while everyone else was nice-ing about, even in the burbs? Or are the burbs just too busy because they're driving all the time?

Now a study claims that Minnesota Nice truly does exist. There appears to be a "we're all in this together" attitude, no doubt partly due to the cold weather. It seems that Minnesotans definitely believe in banking good karma.

I found out first hand the other day. My husband was out of town during the big snow. I got all bundled up to go shovel snow, as good as a California-born gal can shovel, but the neighbor and his snow blower had beat me to it. Maybe nothing new to many of you, but for us it was a first since moving here.








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