Fulfilling the American Dream

July 7, 2013

Just on the heels of this countryís celebration of freedom, I think itís important to focus more on what unites us rather than separates.

Like you, I felt the lump in my throat last week as the fireworks exploded and the patriotic music played. As neighbor greeted neighbor and joined in celebrating July 4th independence, I loved the fact that for at least one shining day, we were all one country-loving people.

However, itís no longer July 4, and Iím a little peeved at a Travel and Leisure magazine survey that listed Americaís snootiest places to live.

What bothers me is not that the list is yet one more way to divide people. What really grinds my bones is that not one city in Ohio made the list.

Yeah, who wants to be pretentious, I know. But, surely we have more going for us than this survey showed.

You see, the magazine chose 35 metropolitan centers and asked people to vote for the pretentious-level of each, based on things like trendy eateries there, the attractiveness of the citizenry, coffee shops and boutique centers nearby.

Not one Allen County town was listed. Nor Putnam, Auglaize or Van Wert. Hardin didnít make it either, nor did Hancock or Mercer. Nothing.

I feel we were overlooked, once again. Normally we bow to Columbus and Cleveland, but alas, they were not snooty enough to make the list either. Poor babies.

Iím tempted to call this slight to the attention of the magazine editors. I know it had to be a computer glitch somewhere that didnít list any Ohio towns among the snootiest. We have just as much reason as any other place to look down on people.

Have these list makers ever seen the Lima Mall? You canít get better shopping than that.

If itís the boutiques or trendy eateries, how about Luluís? Or head to Bluffton for an abundance of quaint eating places, or Wapak for some wonderful small-town shopping.

Art can be found at ArtSpace/Lima. Or the galleries in Wapakoneta or Van Wert. Or any school district that still puts kiddie drawings in the hallways.

Good looking people? Iím from Columbus Grove, and I see plenty of them every time I drive through town. Iím sure wherever youíre from, youíve seen many eye-turners walking your streets also. This area has multiple cultures and ethnicities, each with a beauty all their own. I dare anywhere else on earth to beat this.

And seriously, if coffee shops are a voting point, let anyone outdo the Meeting Place on Market, or Patís Donuts and Creme, or Panera, or wherever you get your morning Joe.

So, do you want to know the cities that shoved northwest Ohio to the side?

San Francisco topped the list.

It was followed by New York City; Boston; Minneapolis/St. Paul; Santa Fe tied with Seattle; then Chicago; Providence, R.I.; Washington D.C.; and Charleston, S.C.

Seriously? Iíve been to many of those cities. Never noticed especially good-looking people in any of them. I did get quite a few good meals, but Iíve gotten lots of good food around here, too. And typically itís a lot less expensive.

Before I begin sounding like Joe Lepo (God rest his soul), I must confess I realize few people would put Northwest Ohio on the top of too many lists.

Yet for those of us who call this area home, itís a great place to live. And raise a family. And get to know your neighbor. And attend one of many area churches. And cheer on the kids at local school ball games. And sit on your porch on a summer night and watch fireworks.

Truth be told, itís a comfortable place to find our own version of the American dream.

Turn our noses up at others? Sure we could, but itís not who we are.

Thatís probably the main reason we would never make a list of pretentious cities. Weíve got good-looking people, great shops, and wonderful spots to eat.

Just not snooty people.