Monday, March 20, 2006

Where Pop is Pop and not a Soda...

This is the third part of my series of articles, the first and second, detailing what it's like for a city person to move to the country. In this article I list reasons why I love Pittsburgh:

Pittsburgh can try a good man's soul, what with its provincial attitudes and outrageous traffic patterns. I mean, how can it possibly take longer to drive to the airport than the time needed for your flight? All the same, I wouldn't leave this city for the world. Lots of good reasons come to mind, some big--some small. Here is a sampling:

1. I cringe every time someone calls "pop" a "soda." (It is just so wrong! It makes me nuts. How can I live where they would do that!)

2. I haven't yet figured out what "Protestants" are. (I've always assumed Catholics and Jews were all there is.)

3. I like being part of a local cult with its own (yinzer) language and nurturing Giant Eagle. I mean, who doesn't consider the Iggle a part of the family?

4. I love watching the city grow. When I was coming up, this was a shot and beer town. From grubby steelworkers with lunch executives, software researchers, health care personnel--I can't believe in my lifetime I've watched Pittsburgh evolve a whole new persona.

5. I love the city for what it used to be, too. This weekend, I was traveling with hubby through the neighborhoods. All afternoon cruising up and down the streets, I studied century old buildings and houses. I gazed at churches and schools along the way and old store fronts, many now closed or abandoned. The ghosts of earlier days still linger in those old  brick and frame buildings surrounded  by narrow cobblestone streets and alleys. Those worn rough textures reach out to remind us that  hard-working people lived here once whose sweat built a strong city and whose steel mills built an even stronger country. In those weathered homes with pretty shutters and ornate details, families were whole, engrossed in each other, and God-fearing. The schools meant business and the churches were everyone's haven in times of both need and joy. The Church was everything in that time of brutal living.

How our predecessors would scoff at us today--we've forsaken their values of family, education,  community, and church, abandoning them to neglect. I'm sure those people would ask, "Well, then what do you value?" How would we answer...from this disposable society that rushes to keep up with itself, getting nowhere fast? No time for neighbors,  no time for the kids! I love the fact Pittsburgh was built by immigrants who came here, work ethic intact, and built their dreams. And I'm grateful their homes and buildings, in all their elaborate, patiently constructed beauty remain, to remind us to build a similar permanence and meaning into our own lives, physically and spiritually. 

Copyright 2006 JO Janoski

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