Posted by: Jim E | January 26, 2011

A Minnesota Goodbye…”How ‘Bout A Sandwich To Take With You”…

I know from vast experience about the Minnesota goodbye…Oh, probably this may happen all over the country…but I know it happens in Minnesota..our home was one of the worst/best examples…I put worst/best, because there are many who would defend this questionable behavior…this behavior may have come about because Minnesota has such cold winters and people didn’t have much company…but how does that explain this happening all year round…let me try…

To put it in a nutshell a Minnesota goodbye is what happens when people come to visit, whether for coffee or a meal or a holiday…it doesn’t really matter…and when that person has to leave the festivities…they may say something like this, “I guess we have to go.”…and then the Minnesota goodbye starts…the discussion goes on about leaving for sometime, even before they get up to go…then they may be walking toward the door, where talk goes on for some more time…as the party begins to leave…then there is the compulsory questions of, “Can I get you a sandwich before you go?” or “Another cup of coffee?” or “Do you want some leftovers to take with you?”…the host may at this time bring out a game for the kids to see…and for some time they talk about how the game is played and how much it costs…and the next time we get together we will play…or the host begins a discussion of a relative’s surgery or the weather this year…that’s when the host brings out the unwanted leftovers in a covered dish… and the talk then goes between the two about how they didn’t need to do this and how they can ever thank them enough…and they take it anyway…they stop and talk about when they will return the covered dish…and the host talks about how she got the dish for their wedding and who it was from…and how they are related…and what the colors were at their wedding…and on and on…

Finally they open the door and step out to leave…the host steps out too!!!…the conversation continues, with the door held open, because the rest of the host family are at the door too, saying goodbye!!!…they talk about when should they get together again…and what date…they set a date…they dig in their purse for their calendar and write it down…of course all this time they forget it is 20 below zero and snowing…all the while, the door is open and they are standing in the house and spilling out on the step talking…finally they make it to the car…the hosts following close behind…carrying a couple of sandwiches and some hot coffee to sustain them on the trip home…as they enter their car, they roll the windows down and continue to say goodbye…and continue talking about how great it was, how wonderful the tuna salad tasted…the host runs in the house and gets the recipe…out again into the cold…the guest say how wonderful it was that she got the recipe for them and when they are going to try it out…the host gives them tips of how to season the salad…and asks them what kind of tuna they use…and gives them the name of the one she used and how good it was…

Putting the car in gear…and starting to move…the windows are rolled down to help in continuing the conversation…thanking them for coming and how nice it was…making sure they drive carefully and understand what the roads are like…and like a GPS, the best road to take home…the hosts talk to them through the window for as long as they can and “slowly” the car drives away…they yell back and forth for as long as they can still hear…then wave as they disappear down the road…and then the hosts turn to one another and say, “Now wasn’t that a nice visit.”…

That ladies and gentleman is a short version of a Minnesota goodbye…there are many variations of this peculiar cultural behavior…and I basically refuse to take part…on the other hand, Judie is a consummate player in the art of the Minnesota goodbye…she can pull more subjects out of thin air than anyone I know…she is an artist…and works in the art of the Minnesota goodbye, like an artist works in oils or water colors…I love to stand back and watch this master at work…

My stance on it is when it is time to leave I say something like, “It’s time to roll.”…and I do…I thank those involved and walk out the door…that to Judie, ranks up there with the biggest faux pas of them all…and so I end up waiting in the car…aah, for some time mind you…that is the price you pay when you reject “playing the Minnesota Goodbye game”…Oh, don’t worry, Judie now realizes, after almost 50 years, that I am going to leave when it is time to leave…and I am willing to wait while the one who loves and is at the highest skill level in playing the Minnesota Goodbye…plays on…


  1. Dear Rovin Reporter…. I love your stories…keep it up!
    signed……a RR fan!!

  2. Hi Jim!
    That’s wonderful and I’m glad there’s a name for it. Our Church has a cafe, bookstore and atrium. After Church every Saturday night, my girls and I have dinner and spend time with some wonderful friends of ours (more like family). There’s usually 9-10 of us. The time between the first person saying “well we better be going” and the time actually pulling away in the car could easily be 30-45 minutes. We too, get up, put our coats on together, gather our dinner leftovers, hug everyone goodbye, walk to the cars together, hug some more, all the while continuing our conversations without missing a beat. Then as we get into our cars, we all laugh at how long it actually took us to say goodbye and leave. This happens every week and it’s great. Now I can tell them what it’s called. It’s good to know we’re not the only ones doing this. Give Judie a hello, a hug and a goodbye for me (as long as it lasts a good 45 minutes!) and tell her we’re “Minnesota Goodbying” here in Ohio every week.
    Take care,

  3. Wonderful post! As a “blogger courtesy” I wanted to ask for your “ok.” I’d very much like to share this post with friends/family, perhaps on my own blog- changing some details to incorporate things peculiar to our area/families. I would of course print it with credit probably reading, “Adapted from (link to this post). Used with permission”

    • Laura…I’ve never had that request before…but I guess it’s okay with me…I enjoyed writing the post…and happy you enjoyed it…and so letting someone else enjoy it would be a good idea…I’ve had others share a post on their FaceBook page, and though this is a little different…give it a try…Jim E

      • Great, thank you very much! I’ll post a link here soon when I post it…

  4. It’s so true!! I’m only 16 and noticed this! I was at a friend’s house the other day and we were in the doorway for over an hour saying goodbye!! I love it and hate it at the same time lol

    • Megan…thanks for the comment…Oh yes, it is true…I suppose it happens other places too…but Minnesota is champ when it comes to goodbyes…as I write this…right now…my wife is at the door with a friend who is here right before going to work to drop something off…and though she has a time limit…they are at the door talking away…though they were sitting down just minutes before “talking away”…but it never finishes until finally she gets pulled away by not being late to the next appointment…and as I look out the window from my desk…they are on the sidewalk moving toward her car…but still “Minnesota good-byeing”…thanks for the comment, enjoy all the years of Minnesota goodbyes…Jim E

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