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Monday, June 10, 2013

Northeast Ohio: land of the great

It happens every time our family travels anywhere outside of northeast Ohio; the grass is naturally greener.  We have fanaticized about living in the south, where the sweet tea flows as smooth as the chatter from a belle sitting through the afternoon sun on a front porch rocker.  We have dreamed of living in the mountains, where only the tougher than nails survive.  We have even dreamed of living at the edge of the ocean, where beach bums, millionaires, and fishermen redefine harmony and all sing Jimmy Buffet songs.
But at the end of the day, we are still born and raised northeast Ohioans.  And the truth is that maybe living in northeast Ohio isn’t so bad.  I dare even think that, if we put the time into it, it could be as romantic as the place where the southern mountains meet the ocean.
Northeast Ohio has great things and great people that make our part of the world something absolutely wonderful.  We get to experience all four seasons, which the rest of the world may know as spring, summer, fall and winter, but we know as mud, humidity, colorful, and cold.  Our weather is always changing and keeping us on our toes, and we all know that if the weather one day does not suit, one simply has to wait until tomorrow.  Our general lack of sun saves us heaps of money in sunblock and sunglasses, and the other days of lousy weather sends us back inside to work to be the ultra productive people that we are.
It’s true that we here in the heart of the country have a tremendous work ethic.  We are the steel mills, the farmers, the businessmen and women.  If there’s ever a task that you want done, a good Ohioan will make sure it’s done the right way and done quickly, mostly with the help of a neighbor or two.  We are a folk so friendly, I dare say that people from other parts of the country would be a tad intimidated if they experienced how we strike up conversations and make connections with complete strangers.  Before too long, those strangers become friends and we’re inviting them over for some of the greatest food in the whole world: Ohio cuisine.
I’ll tell you from experience that you will not find a decent pierogi, ring of kielbasa, bratwurst, fry pie, or plate of mashed potatoes and meatloaf south of the Mason Dixon line to save your life.  Solid, standard foods like sauerkraut aren’t on every corner, and if you want something to drink, my word, do not ask for a pop.  (The rest of the country will never quite catch on to the correct terminology for a carbonated beverage.)
We have clambakes and buckets of salt in our garages next to our cans of bug repellant.  Our cars aren’t afraid to drive through the snow and we are not afraid to admit to using the air conditioning and heat in the same 24-hour period.  We say things like “you guys” and stand by our sports teams through the thick and thin because we are committed to ourselves and our home.  And above else, unlike our neighbors to the south, we are never “fixin’” to do anything.  Chances are much more likely that we just do it and get it done because there is that slightest chance that tomorrow might bring warm, sunny weather, and we would much rather be outside grilling our brats and drinking an ice cold pop with our pals from down the road than doing whatever it was.
The rest of the world may never understand the majestic ways that we have, and maybe that’s how it was meant to be.  We don’t need to be glorified by the media or across the silver screen, and I don’t even need to ask about what makes this home of our so great.  I already know the answer:  you guys.


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