by Shirley Drew
I do not dispute his experiences, especially since I have not traveled as widely across this country as he did. But I do travel deeply. Every summer I spend five weeks in the Northwoods of Minnesota, right on the boundary waters. And my experience of Minnesota has been anything but bland or boring. I look forward all year to July—to taste the walleye fresh out of Larch Lake and the service berry pies my husband makes as soon as he can gather them from the bushes outside our cabin. I look forward to the sounds of the loons in the late evenings and again in the early mornings. I look forward to the Gunflint Lake Canoe Races, the Fisherman’s Picnic and the view of Lake Superior from the patio of the Dockside Fish and Seafood Market or The Angry Trout Cafe.
And as much as anything, I love the sound of the regional dialect. But then, I have always loved language—the sound of it as well as the magic it can create. What writer doesn’t? I love listening to the elongated vowels, especially the “O's.” Many people will use “V” in place of “W” turning "Well" into "Vell.” The speech has a musical lilt, which contributes to the reputation of the people as open and friendly.
So the next time you travel, near or far, listen to the people around you. Really listen. Listen to the cadences of their talk, notice their mannerisms as they speak, and pay attention to what they talk about. In Travels with Charley John Steinbeck said that "There are two kinds of people in the world, observers and non-observers...”
What about you? Are you an observer?