Wednesday, April 09, 2008

West Side Bingo

My boyfriend, who is not from Cincinnati, but who works in Western Hills, is constantly amused when I run into people who grew up on the West Side, and we engage in a game of West Side Bingo:

"Oh, you went to Seton? I went to Seton!"
"Did you know so-and-so?"
"Well, I knew her second cousin twice removed, she..."

You get the idea. At a recent dinner party, one of my guests and I went about three degrees of separation, down to "lived across the street from my best friend" level. Pretty impressive.

Say what you will about the West Side, and I often make fun of it (I grew up in Delhi, I'm allowed), but it is a very tightly knit, middle class community. You can generally rely on your neighbors in times of trouble, and the community never fails to lend a helping hand to those in need. West Siders, as a whole, are fiercely loyal and incredibly respectful of those in law enforcement, fire fighting, EMS and the military.

Watching the WLWT aerial feed of the procession, seeing neighborhoods that are incredibly familiar to me lined with people pausing in respect of Robin Broxterman and Brian Schira, I can't help but be incredibly moved. These were born and bred West Siders-- one an Oak Hills grad, the other a La Salle grad-- who were motivated to help out the communities that raised them. That's admirable and heroic.

On Monday night, I had to call the CFD because of some smoke near my apartment. I couldn't help but think about their roles as firefighters-- sure, they're told it's just a smell of smoke, but every run could be so much more-- and I made sure to thank them and tell them to be safe. In the same, selfless manner of every firefighter I ever met, one said, "No, you be safe. We know what kind of crime goes on around here. Don't ever hesitate to call us."

I won't dwell on the cause of the fire-- rumors abound of the homeowners delaying because of some illegal activities in the basement, plus the construction issues many new homes have-- but instead think about the selflessness of firefighters, who go to every run, no matter where it is or who called or what the circumstances are, with the sole purpose of helping someone, and with little regard to their own safety.

And thank you to the citizens of Colerain, Green Township, Delhi for being so stereotypically close knit. It's times like these that this is appreciated.

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