Austen is pretty gregarious…but the first time someone waved to us as they drove by, we were both startled.
Austen (picture above with the author) is one of the most well-known and well-liked personalities around town. He’s also one of the most fetchingly handsome and recognizable dogs along the Root River. But he’s way too modest to admit any of that.
The first time someone waved to us he looked at me with that confused expression he gets when there’s something unfamiliar to him.
It took both of us a long time to realize that it’s customary for people in Lanesboro to wave to each other even if they’ve never met. It’s fun to be acknowledged.
Twin Citians who visit Lanesboro seem totally startled when someone waves to them, implying some sort of connection, some sort of familiarity, some sort of friendship. Twin Citians come for a day, or a weekend of bicycling, expecting to be totally anonymous.
People actually strive to be reclusive.
When someone waves, a man will turn to his wife and say: “Martha . . . . who is that? Is that someone we know?” But then it happens time and time again until he begins to realize that she couldn’t possibly have that many boyfriends in southeastern Minnesota.
Twin Citians are easily recognized because they rarely acknowledge people walking along sidewalks in urban areas. And they are easily recognized, not because they don’t wave back, but because they wear trendy madras golf shirts from J.Crew with coordinating bicycle shorts from REI.
They also come with their $200 bicycle locks for their recumbent bicycles, not knowing that it’s been 150 years since someone has stolen a bicycle in Lanesboro.
There are exceptions among people who are surprised by ‘the wave’. One exception, for example, are the bikers who arrive on Harleys. They have their own unique wave.
Another exception are the visitors from Cresco who are more familiar with the wave mostly because life in a small Iowa town is not such a culture shock for them. In addition, people wearing feed corn seed caps automatically get the wave.
So, the next time you travel to Lanesboro for the weekend, and you see someone standing next to their car waving to you, it’s not because their car broke down. Chances are, they’re just saying: ‘Hi’.
Richard Wolfgramm began journaling in 2006 shortly after he and Louise bought a house in Lanesboro. Austen was their constant companion while exploring this new, very walkable, community.