by Charlie Leck
We had guests over the weekend from Luxembourg. Actually, they have homes in both Luxembourg and France. They were in awe of Minnesota. It was 10o below zero last night. They had never experienced such cold. They wondered, almost to themselves, why people live in such places. They find it hard to believe that there will be far colder nights than this during our winter season.
I, of course, had to do my usual boasting about this place in the north. I ticked off all the positives – always beginning with the quality of the people, the level of education, the steadiness of the economy and the dependability of the labor force. I told them about the lakes and the land, the parkways and trails, the theaters and museums, the sunsets and the bigness of the harvest moon. My refrain usually plays well with folks from Des Moines or Elk Horn. It didn't resonate with the same richness to folks who live in central Europe, near Paris and Brussels and the Rhine River.
Our visitors found it difficult to visualize that some of the great cities of Canada lay quite far south of us. They were relieved. They have friends in Montreal and worried that they, too, were subjected to utter pain in such weather. Minneapolis lies at 44o latitude and Toronto is way down there at 43o and the Canadian city is far more temperate than Americans understand. Naturally, a lot of differences in the severity of our weather compared to Toronto, Montreal or Vancouver have to do with currents. These three Canadian cities all experience much warmer winters than we do here in central Minnesota.
The grand city of Luxembourg lays several degrees further north than Minneapolis; yet that great city never experiences the severe cold that is simply routine for us. When I told our guest this, they virtually imploded with surprise. "Mais, non! Mais, non!"
"Mais oui!" I shouted back at them.
They spent three days here. When they left – I tell you truly – they were in love with Minnesota.
The response to my blog about leaving the Earth in such sad condition for my grandchildren was very well received. I've had more than two dozen responses. It's also going to be reprinted in the local paper. Thanks to all of you who made such spectacular and beautiful responses. I'm currently compiling them for a blog in the very near future.