Minnesotan Goodbye

Martina Weary, Editor

Well guys, I’m outta here. I’ve never been one for tearful goodbyes; I’m not one to gush or blubber over partings big or small, permanent or temporary. That’s not the way I do things, and I suppose that I’m like that because of my family. I come from a strong Midwestern background– lots of farm folk and people living on the lakes, some thick Minnesotan blood and mannerisms. One thing that my family brought with them to the Southwest is the notorious “Minnesotan Goodbye.” It goes like this: a gathering ends, and the friends are walked to the door, where the host will chat them up for about an hour. Then the friends go out onto the front walk, where the host continues to converse with them (for about another hour.) The guests get into their car, where the hosts talks with them through the car window– another hour gone by. The car begins to drive away, and the host will shout at the car as it goes down the street, and continue waving to the car until it is out of sight. You may think that’s a bit of an exaggeration, but it really isn’t. My family did the very thing with all of our guests and my playmates when I was a child, until my mother realized that literally no one else around us performed the ritual. I can still remember waving to my old friend’s car as his mother took him home after a long day of play and late night of conversation. And I went out onto the driveway at the end of every night with my mother to talk and wave.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that I don’t cry during goodbyes because that would interrupt the conversation! How are you supposed to finish your most important discussions if you’re all choked up with tears? It’s not time to go until every line of conversation is all dried up, and it’s past midnight, and you’re so tired that you’re falling asleep where you stand. I know that I can’t leave this place before I’ve taken the time to finish every story, and sum up the seven new anecdotes that spawn in the process. I want to feel my mouth dry out from all the talking and laughing, until I can’t possibly go on. I won’t give any tearful goodbyes, because I can’t give short goodbyes.

In truth, I’ve been saying goodbye since the year started. I haven’t felt the end of this year as some abrupt, jarring shove out into the big, wide world; I’ve been easing myself into it for a while now, and it feels like a natural, easy movement up and out. I’ve been trying my best all this time to get all my stories out, get all the talking out, make myself feel somewhat satisfied. Mostly, I’ve been trying to give everyone a good memory of me. With all the words that come out of my mouth on a daily basis, surely a few of them must have stuck with the people I’ve met. That’s the best kind of goodbye I can give, or at least the one I hope for. I hope that I’ve made some good kind of impression on you guys; I know that you’ve all touched me, and I will always remember our conversations as the greatest goodbye. Every story and experience you’ve shared with me is valued and treasured.

I will be saying goodbye to you soon, but I know that it won’t be the end of our friendships. I’ll see you in the weeks, months, and years from now, and you can bet that we’ll be able to get right back down to talking again. And we’ll have so many things to tell each other– so live big lives, live happy lives, and make sure to save up lots of good stories for when we meet again.