Friday, September 24, 2021

Stuck In Ohio

 A Mr. Cranky's 'hood column. What are the four seasons of Northern Ohio?

👀 Mabel Amber, who will one day from Pixabay

This is: A weekly column consisting of letters to my perspicacious progeny. I write letters to my grandkids and my great-grandkids — the Stickies — eventual selves to advise them and haunt them after they've become grups and/or I'm deleted. Reading via monitor/tablet is recommended for maximum enjoyment.  

Warning: This column is rated SSC — Sexy Seasoned Citizens — Perusal by kids, callowyutes, or grups may result in a debilitating intersectional triggering. Intended for H. sapiens that are — in the words of the late, great bon vivant and polymath, Professor Y. Bear — "Smarter [and cooler] than the av-er-age bear." 

Erratically Appearing Hallucinatory Guest Star: Dana — A Gentlereader 

"There are seasons in every country when noise and impudence pass current for worth; and in popular commotions especially, the clamors of interested and factious men are often mistaken for patriotism." -Alexander Hamilton 

{I see what you did there.}

Dear (eventual) Grandstickies and Great-Grandstickies (and Gentlereaders),

Fall (aka, almost winter) has come to my corner of Flyoverland and I'm still Stuck in Ohio (there's a bumper sticker...). I've been temporarily living here for 36 years. I was born and raised in Western Pennsylvania and all but one of my six siblings still live there, four above ground and one below. 

My big brother Ed was the first one that I remember calling Ohio the Flatlands after I landed here, and promptly got stuck. He was living in southwestern Pa., not far from the West Virginia panhandle at the time. He's now on the West Virginia side of the border — same difference. 

Lots of hills and lots of economic stagnation. Lots of relatively cheap houses too, but prices have risen in the more desirable spots. Ohio's no slouch when it comes to economic stagnation but we do have Columbus, which is rockin', and which is flat. 

I left Pennsylvania for Texas in the fall of '84 seeking a geographic cure for a broken heart. Pure serendipity; an opportunity that appeared when I needed it. 

I had the best year of my life there (so far) that included meeting my wife and stepdaughter. The bad news is that it culminated in getting stuck in Ohio, a long story that I will spare you.

{I think I speak for all of your gentlereaders when I express my sincere thanks.} 

You're welcome, Dana. My apologies to those that like living in the Flatlands. It's not you, it's me. If it makes you feel any better the woman that I ran to Texas to try and forget (I'm not foreign legion material) used a variation of that classic line on me. 

Also, Texas (with the exception of the mind-melting heat), with one of the world's larger economies and a legislature that only convenes for 140 days every other year (by law), is a tough act to follow. 

{You should've joined the circus.}

Oddly enough, Dana, that never occurred to me. Ironically enough, a bit of research revealed that the Cirque du Soleil started up in 1984. I coulda been a star! Why are you laughing? Anyways, speaking of panhandles, Ed, you ain't seen flatlands if you haven't seen the Texas panhandle. But I digress. 

{As your gentlereaders have come to expect, if not necessarily love. Will this column be returning to Ohio anytime soon?}   

Fall is my favorite season in Ohio. Spring (aka, still winter) is often wet, cold, and snow-covered. 

{Living southeast of the Lake Erie snow machine might have something to do with that, you should move to Southern Ohio. Milder weather.}

Hmmm... the Cincinnati side or the West Virginia side?

{Well, a lot of West Virginia's really pretty, almost... heavenly.}

I once knew a guy that said he was going to wait till the last person moved out or died and then make an offer.

{Are you trying to offend as many gentlereaders as possible?}

Sorry, offended gentlereaders, it's not you, it's me. Summer in Ohio this year (aka, construction) was construction in the rain this year. On the other hand, gnats and mosquitoes had a hell of a summer. 

{Geesh, I'm outta here, go for a walk or something will ya?} 

In the name of sucking it up Buttercup, let me unequivocally state that fall in Ohio can be amazing. 

It never rains every day, even in a year like this one. And even though the Stickies are wearing masks again, and even though there's already talk of reviving the unmitigated disaster called remote learning, migrating geese will soon begin staging in the parking lot of the recently abandoned nursing home across the street from Casa de Chaos.   

It warms my calloused heart to see all the trouble people go to in these parts to avoid disturbing our temporary guests even though they often leave unwanted souvenirs behind and even though I'm jealous that I'm not headed south for the winter. 

I heard my first distinctive HONK just the other day, the same day I saw an eagle, first one in a while, patrolling overhead in search of breakfast when I was on my morning walk.

Soon there will be that perfect morning or three when the sun melts the light frost covering the Kool-Aid-colored leaves and renders the resulting water drops as diamonds dripping from the many tall, old trees in old Mr. Cranky's neighborhood.  

Wouldn't it be cool if the hair of H. sapiens of a certain age turned various bright colors instead of grey or white (but didn't fall out)?

Poppa loves you,
Have an OK day

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