Dancing in the park

It’s summertime, and that means dancing to live music in Hutchinson’s Library Park. It’s fun activities such as this that make summer a short but sacred time in Minnesota, as Missi-sotan columnist Cam Bonelli has discovered.

Missi-sotan columnist Jack Hammett, who is also my fiance, is no longer writing for Crow River Media, but the good news is I can continue to document our misadventures as Mississippians-turned-Minnesotans for your entertainment.

Coming from the Deep South, I’ve noticed that as soon as the weather’s warm enough, Minnesotans truly love the summertime.

Whereas in Mississippi, it’s hot enough (and humid enough) to warrant staying inside all year long in front of an air conditioner on full blast, Minnesotans appreciate the summer months for the endless activities it brings. Seeing Minnesotans (and me living here for the past two years) enjoy summer has given me a new appreciation for the season.

As soon as the weather warms to bearable temperatures, Minnesotans can be seen out on bikes, hikes, runs, walks, fishing, swimming and doing almost anything outdoor related. Minnesotans’ appreciation of the sun brings a renewed sense of belonging and appreciation of everything outdoors. I’m thankful to see a community so endeared by the warm weather and the nature that surrounds it.

In Mississippi, I used to take for granted the fact that if it got to 60 degrees in February, I didn’t want to go outside and do outdoor activities. Living here, I’m lucky if I can endure being outside for two minutes from October to sometimes April, especially after the polar vortex we all lived through. If you haven’t already enjoyed the outdoors this spring (soon to be summer), be sure to get out and enjoy the 90-160 days of bearable temperatures Minnesotans are lucky to see.

A quick Google search of how long a Minnesota summer lasts may give you a good laugh and an idea of why so many people are out and about. “Does Minnesota have a summer” is one of the results that pops up, and “What are the seasons in Minnesota” is another. I’d say the seasons look something like this: fake spring, kind-of-spring, brief summer, not-quite-fall-at-all, almost-winter, scary-cold-winter and when-is-winter-going-to-be-over?

In Mississippi, the seasons are: pre-summer, summer, wet and hot. Winter is a fable that is only spoken of in stories. If anyone predicts that it will snow, the entire state shuts down — no joke. And if we do get half an inch, it turns into Defcon 1 status.

No one knows how to drive in the snow in Mississippi. You’ll see about 20 cars on the side of the road if a flake falls. Snow is a myth: snow cones, on the other hand, are quite the good treat that provide excellent hydration during months of pre-summer, summer, wet and hot.

This past week, my fiance and I had to put in our window unit air conditioners as temperatures in the house climbed into the 90s. However, I’ve been confused by how drastically the temperatures change overnight. One day its 90 degrees and the next its 60 degrees. It’s starting to remind me of home.

I can’t wait to enjoy the rest of brief summer. I’ve been itching to get out on my bike and ride some of these winding roads. To all of y’all who’ve already been outside, I salute you. I’m hoping not-quite-fall-at-all doesn’t come early this year.

Cam Bonelli is editor of the Litchfield Independent Review and a native-born Mississippian who moved to Minnesota about a year ago. To help her learn more about her new home, and give readers something to laugh at, she is exploring different events and opportunities that are distinctly Minnesotan and writing about her experiences. If you have a suggestion, email bonelli@independentreview.net.

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