Dear Auntie Amazon,
Thank you for the package! You sent exactly what I wanted. The printer paper is perfect and I love the pink dog-poop bags. I’m glad you’ve stopped sending me novels. I did not want to hurt your feelings but I prefer going to the neighborhood bookstore.
Dad tells me you are thinking of buying another home. Congratulations. I’m glad to hear your work is going so well. Will this be your real home or your vacation home? In which home will your dog live? The timing for a move is good. I’ve been so worried about you with the threat of earthquakes, tsunamis and forest fires. Mountains and oceans are nice but you’d enjoy gazing at the limitless prairie sky. Auntie Amazon, remember your visit last October, just before the sun set when the wind picked up and the soft light illuminated all the treetops and everyone stopped to stare and breathe? Me, too. It is like that now. Today, as I biked downtown to a business lunch, past a flock of migrating juncos flitting among the branches of a red cedar, I thought about how much you’d love to live here. My friend Jim says the bike expressway to downtown Minneapolis looks like the way to Oz — the goldenrod and tall grasses woven into a yellow brick road.
Auntie Amazon, have I thanked you properly for all the support you offered my beloved Loft Literary Center? Your donations of $25,000 helped immensely and bolstered the organization during the economic crash. You have some experience in philanthropy, and if you move here you’ll want to invest in ice skates, fat tires for your bike and a membership to the Minnesota Council on Foundations. Feeling shy? Don’t worry, I’d be happy to help organize a welcoming mixer with a bunch of nice development directors. Everyone will welcome you, especially if you bring your sense of humor and your yummy unrestricted general operating grants.
Auntie, do you remember when I used to work at Best Buy? I loved that job because my cube-mates were supersmart and sometimes we were given iPods and once, the Black Eyed Peas sang in the lunch room. If you move here, you’ll need to make new friends. Maybe we could host a big-box ball or a supercompetitive masters of technology/retail broomball league. You mentioned you’ll eventually expand the family to 50,000. That sounds like a lot of people, but I guess we can turn Thanksgiving into a potluck.
Text me if you want to hear more. I’m off to walk around the lake before my next meeting.
Jocelyn Hale, Minneapolis
The writer has worked as executive director of the Loft Literary Center and manager of Twin Cities giving at Best Buy Children’s Foundation.
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Good for Gov. Mark Dayton (“State bid to Amazon is ‘modest’ $3 million,” Oct. 18). I applaud him for telling that pirate Jeff Bezos that Minnesota can’t be bought. It’s time that these wealthy businessmen start paying their own way instead of sucking more money out of the pockets of the states they are pretending to help. Let him spend his own billions to expand his companies. How many billions does one person need, anyway?
Ethel Marx, Stanchfield, Minn.
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Minnesota has gone a different way in terms of attracting businesses. We have made a decision that providing a great quality of life is the best way to attract new business. That’s why we have things like the Vikings and the Twins, the Guthrie and the Minnesota Orchestra. All of them always within the proverbial 20 minutes from anywhere. I am all for being receptive to businesses like Amazon. Let’s take them out to dinner when they come to town and we will pick up the check. But subsidizing Minnesota as a great place to live and work happened earlier and elsewhere. What we need to do is just remind companies looking for places to expand that if they come to Minnesota, they will be making the right decision for their employees and their business.
Jon Miners, Crystal
Would this change be the start of a full accounting? Probably not.
I know it is not politically correct to say anything against the Lake Calhoun name change (“Spirited push to rename Lake Calhoun,” Oct. 18). I totally respect the Native Americans for wanting to change it. But let’s get our reasons straight.
If we are going to pick off holiday after holiday and statue after statue and name of things after name of things, it would sensibly follow that we seriously consider changing the names of things after people who have been accused of sexually misconduct, like Bill Clinton and John Kennedy, who have schools and airports and who knows what else named after them.
We could then search down the list on the president or famous person that has one or more mistresses.
But no, alas, women will be the last issue paid attention to in this debate.
Nancy Hone, St. Paul
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Forget the hearts of blacks and natives, hearts that crumble at blatant signs and inscriptions to slavery and genocide.
The white hearts accustomed to a name that doesn’t affect them, hearts that don’t feel like pumping blood to brains to so much as calculate the energy and cost of scrubbing the name of a super-pro-slavery guy (let alone the people affected by such horrors), trump all.
No need to compare the pain of the gleeful, celebratory, nonstop remembrances to horrific things with the irritation of inconvenience — simply align the melanin of each heart bearer and award emotional acknowledgment and legitimacy by pastiness.
The alternative plan to rename the lake after the late U.S. Sen. Paul Wellstone is about making sure that whites feel as though they are the rightful heirs to all they see, ensuring the lake remains theirs.
Giving it a native name like Bde Maka Ska would remind them, in the same way current-name defenders wish to uphold a reminder of slavery and genocide (is white shame even a thing?), that whites are not the only people worth considering, that white people don’t own everything.
Solomon Gustavo, Roseville
It’s good to see it mentioned that ‘one side doesn’t fit all’
Bravo to Shannon Watson for her Oct. 18 commentary “One side doesn’t fit all” with advice in overcoming the dysfunction of our binary political system. For the majority of us in the middle, we are multiparty. We are not rigid partisans. The world is too complex; issues too nuanced for one-party solutions to everything. Watson deftly notes our inability to listen well and understand other perspectives. To quote Atticus Finch in “To Kill a Mockingbird,” “You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view … until you climb into his skin and walk around in it.” But just wait until the next political election. I challenge anyone to find a home with lawn signs of candidates from more than one political party.
Charlie Corcoran, Stillwater