No Pausing in Central Wisconsin

For the past four days, I’ve been out of our Madison offices and in the great beauty of Central Wisconsin. I’ve been blessed with four days of sunshine and clear roads, and with a reminder of Wisconsin’s ethos: cold weather but warm, friendly, and fair-minded people.

Monday I had a busy day with a meeting in Marshfield at a member couple’s lovely home and another in Stevens Point at the UW. These meetings function as the start of organizing committees that community members lead to educate and inform the broader community about the harms of the amendment that would ban civil unions and marriage.

Tuesday I took a detour out of Central Wisconsin for a planning meeting in Green Bay. We started our statewide training project in Green Bay over a year ago; our first Training to Stop the Amendment was a great success thanks to the leadership of Green Bay supporters. We look forward to holding another well-attended training (what will be our twentieth!) the evening of March 8th.

Wednesday I turned back west and made my way for the first time ever to Wausau. For those of you who live “below the crease” in Wisconsin and who have never made your way up there, do it! This town is lovely—the downtown is surprisingly large for a city of 70,000— old brick buildings and piles of churches line the streets.

The local weekly paper City Pages is filled today with Valentines poems from local couples; it also has a local columnist called Mother Nurture explaining the origins and meaning of the northern expression ‘n-so’. She begins the column explaining the possible linguistic twists on “and so?” or “ain’t it so.”

As I read the column this morning I started to get in a huff about my meetings. Despite a large meeting Wednesday night here in Wausau where everyone was quite eager to get moving on the issue, I didn’t once encounter this northern expression. Even with some real Northerners from Minocqua in attendance, I didn’t hear anyone show their support for the local campaign with what I picture to be similar to a southerners’ “amen!”-- although perhaps up here more subdued “nnn-so, nnn-so” –while we discussed the need to talk with our neighbors here in Central Wisconsin.

At the end of Mother Nurture’s column, she finally concludes that the expression is likely to just be a vocalized pause used by northerners. Aha! The meetings we’ve been having here in Central Wisconsin leave no room for vocal pauses. With 20 folks from all over central and north Wisconsin packed in the room last night, ideas and comments were bouncing off the walls. Nancy and her husband from Merrill are going to start outreaching to social justice groups in local Catholic parishes; Linda will be talking with supporters at the UW Marathon County; Joni will talk to the American Association of University Women; and on and on.

It has been a treat to work with such excited and dedicated folks in Central Wisconsin. I know these local groups are only going to grow and grow. I look forward to returning again next month for the March 11th Training in Stevens Point. I also look forward to returning this summer, hopefully to take it a bit slower for a weekend and enjoy the beauty of the area. I’ll be sure to work in to my summer weekend retreat some more slow-paced conversations where there is plenty of room for some nnn-so’s.

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At 12:19 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Enjoyed your story, Linds. Nice photos! Nnn so, I'll talk to you later.


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