Wendy Cartwright: Midwest wonders: Make like a banana and split


By Wendy Cartwright

Guest columnist

Have you ever gotten home from a visit with family, a neighbor or friend and realized you stayed much too late?

Maybe you have work in the morning. Or maybe you have to get the kids up for school the next day. Regardless, it’s 10 o’clock and you meant to be home by eight.

Here in the Midwest, we tend to linger. Most of the time, it’s due to “long goodbyes.” We just seem to have a hard time letting go. We know we need to, but something in us says, “Just 5 more minutes.” We’re like toddlers fighting sleep.

We have great affinity for family and friends and love to spend time with each other. Life gets busy. When we find the time to spend a few minutes with each other, those minutes tend to drag on.

I wrote last week that as a child, my father loved to strike up conversations with people in the store. He still does. He has the virtue of “long goodbyes.”

Side note: My name is Wendy because when my parents were deciding what to put on the birth certificate, my granny spoke up and said, “You ought to name her Wendy after her dad.” Of course, she meant “windy” because he talks so much. I love you, Dad.

My husband and I spend a lot of time with friends. I often catch myself in the parking lot of whatever place we have been, a church or restaurant perhaps, following behind them continuing to talk after we have said goodbye. If I were to count the times I say a goodbye phrase in each situation, it would usually total five or more. I just can’t let go.

I also feel compelled to “walk people out” who are visiting me at home. They will say they need to be going and I say, “Let me walk you out.” Again, I follow them out the door, sometimes stopping on the porch and sometimes all the way to their car continuing to talk. It’s common for someone I’ve been visiting to walk me out, as well.

It seems I’ve inherited the trait of “the long goodbye.” That’s OK. I’m not alone.

Why do we do this? I don’t know. Maybe it’s our friendly nature. Or maybe it’s that we live in a slower culture and aren’t really that concerned with time. I’m sure it will be a Midwest wonder for many years to come.

Welp, I hate to run off, but I best be going. Give my love to the family. Don’t be a stranger. See you next time.

Wendy Cartwright hails from the North Vernon area and has lived there most of her life. She is 43 years old. She has a love of sharing her thoughts on growing up in the Midwest and other stories from her life. She spends her days reading and writing in the home she shares with her husband and chihuahua. Send comments to [email protected].

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