Monday, July 11, 2011

A Bright Shining City

The other day we went to Youngstown, Ohio, for the university's art festival and the Greek Church Festival. Since it was well past lunch time, we rushed to the Greek Festival. We're no experts and I almost hate to order that I sound not initiated. I point to the food, saying the English description, like Greek cheese pie or spinach pie- yum. Mary Ellen and Katie do say the Greek words. At the table, we try each other's treat. We can hardly wait for the Greek pastries, oh, heaven. Baklava, a creamy Baklava(well, that's what we called it), spun philo covering nuts, honey and cinnamon and Greek doughnuts. Oh, my.
The sun flirted with puffy clouds and though hot, there was no humidity. I know I'm crazy, but I love Youngstown. A feeling of that's my own city every time I look down Wick Ave. to Federal Plaza. I love rounding 680 with the view of downtown from the interstate, too. It's not a big city. It has a bad reputation, but the downtown just shines to me. I have felt called to this city since 2001, when I first started working there. I even loved the East side, although I only go in the morning. Driving past McGuffy Plaza that is mostly abandoned, now, with Elder in his bright suits and hat, holding up a paper and he sports shades. I always wave to him, not sure if he remembers me.
When I first started over there finding my way by studying a map and falling back on memory, I had a front plate that loudly declared,"I 'heart' Jesus" and most people smiled at me. Families respected the home health nurse, watching out for me in "this bad neighborhood." Now, I don't go there as often, because my territory changed, but when I'm there, I drive a daisied VW bug through all the sides of Y-town.
We crossed Wick Ave. to the campus, strolled a little way to a path to the Festival. If you know us at all, you would not be surprised we soon got hung up at the Maag Library book sale. I found several treasures for a donation. I'll write about the book tomorrow!
An Indian girl danced over behind the Butler Art Museum in the background. I loved the metropolitan aura. The leaves danced with the sun as it was quite perfect in the shade. I finally pulled myself away from the books.
I absorbed the different people, the crafts and displays, even though not hungry, the smells from the food booths and the sounds. Drawn to the concert in Kilcawly plaza to a young sound, more shade and people mulling around quietly. I enjoyed the dogs, a poodle and two chihuahuas, greeting each other.
I had never realized driving past YSU campus how beautiful and delightful it is, a hidden gem in the city. The Vindicator, which I have read for 5 years now steady, has reported on it. I'm sure perusing this paper every day has increased my love for this city.
And to top it off, Handel's had $1 ice cream cones that day, once a year to thank their customers. Which we parttook as we left the city out 193, with all the Northside! Well, I may exaggerate about that, but not the special feeling I have of Youngstown.
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