Thursday, August 14, 2008

A slice of life in the City of St. Paul

Unfortunately, I had to run over to St. Paul this morning to go to confession. Fortunately, Nativity of Our Lord has confession before the 8:15 Mass on Monday through Friday. Fortunately, there wasn't a long line and I did what needed to be done. Thank you, Lord.

St. Paul and Minneapolis are called the Twin Cities. But I think that rather than being "identical cities", they are twins with different fathers and different mothers. Culturally there are a lot of differences. St. Paul is more "family style", laid back and conservative, although a strong DFL core of voters keeps it in the blue column, generally. Unless they work there, most people in St. Paul don't visit Minneapolis more than once every ten years, if that often.

Minneapolis wants to be like Boston or San Francisco. Enough said about that. (Although there are some St. Paul-like neighborhoods). Many Minneapolitans do get over to St. Paul to shop or dine on Grand Avenue or in many of the other neat locales.

Of course, as often as not, they get lost, because of the ridiculous street address system. The numbers go to 99 before changing, thus the 800 block might be three or four blocks long. (The original system was created after water meters were installed. Some genius thought it would be neat to give houses the same number as their water meter.)

I was struck as I drove through the Saintly City towards my destination to see four people at a bus stop in a single family residential neighborhood, standing in a row, each about six feet from the next. Nobody talking, not even reading a paper. Maybe they all had one of those music thingies in their ear. Not very neighborly, I thought; St. Paul must be changing. Lots of unfriendly types moving in.

Then, as I swung around the corner at my destination and lurched out of the car, I glanced down the street about a block, there were ten young women, late teens to early 30's maybe, all walking closely together in a group, and sure enough, headed towards Nativity, 30 minutes early for the Mass and maybe a rosary first. A few others joined them later.

I guess St. Paul hasn't changed. Thank God. It's too crowded in Minneapolis. If they started coming over here to shop and dine, the lines would be too long.
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