One of our sons was traveling around the US, partly to scout a location for his business.  On Facebook, he said, “The parts that stand out from my traveling aren’t just the weather and driving conditions, but the friendliness and manners of the locals. I think it will be fun to grade the places.”

For example, he rated Clarksville, TN an A- “for effort.” New Albany, IN got an A. Minneapolis, MN received an A+ (we have 10 loved ones living in Minneapolis.) Burbank, Vermillion, Yankton, and Sioux Falls, SD got a B- “for no effort.” Columbia, MO was “right in the middle” with a C.

Today, a Utah writer seemed to answer, even though I am positive the author never read our son’s Facebook entry.

HendricksMark Saal opined, “I just spent a couple of days in one of the smallest towns I’ve ever had the pleasure to explore, and I can’t stop thinking about the experience. This is not to disparage big cities everywhere, or even the medium-sized ones out West to which I’m most accustomed. But I have fallen completely and utterly in love with small, Upper Midwest towns. Towns like Hendricks, Minn. — population 713.”

I had to look it up.  Hendricks is on the edge of Minnesota, right next to South Dakota.  Miles from nowhere.

” . . . in the interest of full disclosure, I should tell you that my wife’s people hail from Hendricks, and she’s still got an aunt and uncle living there. But aside from that, there’s something special about “The Little Town by the Lake,” whose population wouldn’t rival that of most medium-sized high schools.”

Like Minneapolis for us, does Hendricks appeal because of relatives?

Saal reports that he can throw a rock from one end of town to the other.  People don’t lock their doors.  Everyone knows your name.  And one great point for my stargazing, “A place where it actually gets dark at night. And I do mean dark. Not to mention quiet.”

Saal used to have a goal of writing for a big-town newspaper like the New York Times, but now, he says, “Someday, I’m going to write for the 800-circulation Hendricks Pioneer.”

What is YOUR favorite place in America?

MARK SAAL  article.


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