There was a time in my life when I wished I lived somewhere else. So many of the people I’ve met personally and professionally are transplants to Rochester. Friends and family have moved away. How come I got stuck here? Thankfully, I don’t feel that way anymore. I love living here.
My city, Rochester, New York, is east of Buffalo, west of Syracuse and sits on the southern shore of Lake Ontario. We are part of the beautiful Finger Lakes region. The Genesee River, which flows north, bisects the city. And, although we are a melting pot of diverse cultures and thinking, a parochial attitude persists about which side of the river offers the best living. If you live here, you know what I’m talking about. If you don’t, enough said. I’ve lived on both sides of the river, and frankly, I think it’s all nonsense.
We complain about our gray skies, but we are pretty lucky to be spared the worst of mother nature’s wrath. We get snow and lots of it, but we don’t have to worry about hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, earthquakes and the like.
Today’s weather was spectacular! With something less than an average of 70 sunny days per year, we tend to get a little crazy when the sun shines. Moods soar, energy is abundant. My windows were wide open today, and the sound of lawnmowers was music to my ears.
Frank was gone all day with our granddaughter, Ella. I enjoyed my alone time. The last few weeks have been pretty busy, and I spent much of the day cleaning. With the sun shining through the windows, cleaning was more a labor of love than a dreaded task.
This afternoon, my sister, Donna, my friends, Roz and Tom, and I connected and decided to meet downtown for dinner. Our destination, Alladin’s Natural Eatery on Monroe Avenue, specializes in Mediterranean cuisine. I ordered the Souvlaki plate. Yum, delicious, a personal favorite. Tom chose Melanzagna (vegetable lasagna made with eggplant). Donna chose Verdura (a pasta dish with veggies and shrimp) and Roz copied me with Souvlaki .
Since it was such a beautiful evening, we lingered outside after dinner and continued our banter. The street was alive with activity. Local businesses were open, and store signs invited passersby to stop in. We stood between the restaurant and a smoke shop. We could see into the shop, and we noticed lots of interesting items for sale. We joked about going in to shop. All of us grew up in the City, and the sights and sounds around us revived our spirits. It was a great feeling.
I absolutely love being downtown. I grew up in the city, and like most, have lived most of my adult life in the suburbs. I work downtown. All of my jobs, except for one, have been downtown. I remember riding the bus downtown in the seventies. The ride afforded me thinking or reading time. There were no cell phones or Ipods in those days. Lots of interesting people rode the bus. I felt connected to a bigger world.
Tom said he’d consider moving to a downtown condo and I agreed. We would be walking distance to theaters, fabulous restaurants and, of course, Frontier Field, the home of the Red Wings, the Triple-A affiliate of the Minnesota Twins. And let’s not forget our Public Market, now a popular tourist attraction, but a place I frequented as a child with my father where he purchased produce and wholesale food for his grocery store.
It’s not always easy to “unplug” from the chaos that is my life. It’s mostly good chaos, but nonetheless, it is chaos. That’s why today was so special. It was quiet, the weather was spectacular, and the City I have always called home, held me close.