Sunday, April 05, 2009

What's Familiar May Not Be Common

Growing up in Buffalo, I knew that some things were particular to that city.  Everyone knew that Buffalo wings were invented in Buffalo (and weren't really available outside western New York twenty years ago), and that beef on weck was something you could get only in Buffalo.  (If you're ever in Buffalo, by the way, try a kummelweck roll; decades after leaving the city, I still crave the delicacy.)

But there were some things I thought were universal that, it turns out, were only regional favorites.  Until I moved away, I'd assumed you could find sponge candy or loganberry (a fruit drink actually bottled by Pepsi in Buffalo) anywhere.  I'd grown up with them; it just seemed natural that everyone else did, too.  I think just about every city has things like that:  items or events that locals take for granted, but about which the rest of the world is clueless.

Cincinnatians know goetta and a chili-like concoction on top of spaghetti are uniquely Cincinnati, of course.  But as my ninth Opening Day in Cincinnati arrives, I wonder whether native Cincinnatians know how  unique our version of Opening Day is.  Do people who grew up here realize that if they were to drive tomorrow to Pittsburgh or Cleveland or even Chicago, Opening Day would be greeted just as any other Monday?  Do you realize that people in other major league towns haven't been paying attention to spring training games?  And that most cities won't have a parade that closes most of their downtown (unless, perhaps, their team won the World Series last year)?

Since I've become a Cincinnatian, Opening Day has become one of my favorite events.  I don't have tickets to the game this year, but I intentionally refrained from scheduling any work events.  So I'll watch the parade from somewhere near Fountain Square, watch the game on TV, and hoist a few beers (unless one of our beloved readers has an extra GABP ticket they'd like to share).  And I'm not the only lawyer who treats the day as an unofficial holiday:  it will be remarkably quiet in the Hamilton County Courthouse Monday afternoon, save for the sound of fireworks emanating about ten blocks south.

So have fun tomorrow, and do so remembering you're probably having much more fun that folks in other major league cities.

Feel free to use the thread to talk about either Opening Day, or to write about the things you'd miss most about Cincinnati if you moved elsewhere.

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