Stranger In a Strange Land

Sometimes the words we choose show where we come from as clear as a license plate on a car. You can take the girl out of the Midwest…

Growing up in Michigan in the 60s and 70s meant warm summers and snowy winters. The day to day weather was routinely surprising, much like the “winter” weather we have had in Cleveland this past week. Don’t worry about shoveling the driveway; it will melt by tomorrow, right? Not the usual winter, is it?

People from the Midwest know the wind can switch in an instant which means it will be blowing from the northeast and some kind of storm would probably be coming with it. This phenomenon is intrinsic to us as ice scraper, rock salt and red pop are to our vernacular.

Having recently relocated back here, I am rediscovering certain things that I had forgotten were so important when I lived here before. I thought it very amusing when people differentiate “good” boots from regular boots. “Don’t you think you should wear your good boots to shovel?”

A couple weeks ago my family and I were downtown walking to a restaurant after a Monsters hockey game. It was bitter cold and I hadn’t brought my gloves. “Here you can wear my gloves, Jenny,” said a friend. “They are really good ones.” There is that differentiating adjective again, “good.” He was right, my fingertips never got cold, unlike what happens when I wear my furry gloves I left at home. And what a difference they made.

When I first moved to Los Angeles back in the late 80s, I vividly recall a midweek conversation with a group of friends one mild and sunny afternoon. One sailor in the group was telling us about his boat and how he had just finished putting a new coat of stain, varnish, shellac or whatever it is they put on all that teak.

“I’m going sailing this Saturday,” he said as he was leaving. “Bye, I hope you have good weather,” I said. Everyone in the room turned in unison and looked at me as if I said I hope your boat sinks. They were just aghast -like the time I used the word “highway” instead of “freeway,” which I did but that’s another stranger in a strange land story.

What in the world was going on?

I hadn’t lived in the City of Angels very long, at least not long enough to realize that the weather is always the same; 60 degrees, hazy with a slight breeze. My roots were showing and they all had a chuckle at the expense of this Midwestern girl.

Fine. Be that way. Go ahead and laugh, I can take it. Just don’t ever ask to borrow my good gloves.

Quote of the Week: “You can take the girl out of the Midwest, but you can't take the Midwest out of the girl.” – Jennifer Huard.

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Cheryl Everett January 29, 2012 at 08:53 PM
From another Michigan girl: The best "gloves" are mittens. I still need them when I'm out jogging on chilly NM winter mornings. (Cheryl E, Rio Rancho)
Cheryl Everett January 29, 2012 at 08:54 PM
PS - Miss you, Jennifer.
Jennifer Huard January 30, 2012 at 04:07 PM
Hi Cheryl! I am a mitten girl too. My fingers get cold in gloves. Glad you found me here.
Jennifer Huard January 30, 2012 at 04:08 PM
Hi Joe- you are right. At least I know I didn't jinx them in LA!
James Thomas February 18, 2012 at 03:14 PM
Delete James Thomas 9:39 am on Saturday, February 18, 2012 Even Joe the Plumber is not as biased as you John. I'm calling you out on this one: .John Meola 8:10 am on Monday, February 6, 2012 Ten things conservatives hate: 1. Facts 2. Logic 3. Women's equality 4. Gays 5. Blacks who aren't subservient to whites 6. Poor people 7. Hispanics who like to speak Spanish 8. Non-Christians 9. Universal health care -- unless it's Medicare for today's senior citizens (tomorrow's seniors, well....you're out of luck) 10. The environment


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