“I love Cleveland,” said Malia, looking up Ninth Street.
We were walking with the crowd streaming out of the mid-day Indians-Rockies game, on our way to the downtown Heinen’s supermarket for a quick step in and look up at the amazing rotunda.
And, just as Malia said that, I was thinking the same words: “I love Cleveland.” It’s gritty and vibrant, proud and personable, accessible and familiar.
The rushed Heinen’s stop was homage to Grocery, by Michael Ruhlman. His final chapters recount how the Heinen brothers refashioned that glorious old bank into a unique downtown grocery store. Read the book. Visit the store.
We’re here for just a few short days, fitting in that baseball game with Uncle Butch, and then a reunion with Erin’s family on the shores of Lake Erie, before we zip back to North Carolina to make final arrangements for short-term tenants to move into our house on the four acres. That house has been a lot of work, and it’s satisfying to stand in the yard as darkness falls and the owls start hooting.
The last few months have been a whirlwind.
The Zuiker Family reunion was in Tennessee, with sing-a-longs and game nights, tubing down the Pigeon River, hiking on the Appalachian Trail in the Great Smoky Mountain’s National Park, a cousin’s wedding, alpine slides, a primer on solar eclipses, my dad’s (labor-intensive) meatball dinner, lots of photos and conversation. So much fun.
Then, Nick, my brother, gathered family and friends for his wedding on the beach in Cancun, with Carolyn. Erin and I had just 40 hours to enjoy the Grand Velas Playa del Carmen resort, enough time for the 12-course molecular-gastronomy tasting dinner at Cafe de Arturo. And enough time for piña coladas at the pool bar. We could have enjoyed a few more of those if we’d known that our plane would need its brakes repaired (and that the U.S. Immigration and Customs desk as Charlotte’s international airport wouldn’t open for another hour, which kept us waiting on the plane). Next time, we’ll stay in Mexico until America is open.
Then, more work on the house. And busy days at our day jobs. And kids to camps. But not much excercise because of a couple of toes broken during Sunday soccer a few weeks ago.
Sure, politics has been an undercurrent, at times a riptide trying its best to pull me under and out to sea. I want to ignore the chump who is acting as president, and his band of misfits, but I know I can’t fully disengage.
Today, in Cleveland, I woke up next to my lover in the house where 21 years ago we danced in celebration of our own wedding. And now I’m about to step out of Phoenix Coffee here in Ohio City and drive to meet up with Erin and the others in Sandusky, where they are riding roller coasters.
© Anton Zuiker