Wednesday, October 6, 2010

There's No Place Like Home!

I have lived in the south for nearly 30 years.  Three years in Pensacola, Florida and then 26 years in Dallas.  Dallas is home.  Dallas is where I met the love of my life.  Dallas is the place I gave birth to our three children.  Dallas is the location of many memories Joe and I have created for our children and each other.

But after spending the weekend in  my hometown of Sewickley, Pennsylvania I found my heart to be so joyful.  Stepping back into a town that I experienced as a child, was like slipping on my favorite pair of well worn, broken in shoes--extremely comfortable, like my own skin.  

I spent the weekend with a friend from Dallas, who also grew up in Pittsburgh.  While I am ten years her senior, we seemed to have very similar experiences growing up in Pittsburgh.  And attending the same college, Clarion University.  It was Autumn Leaf Festival in Clarion, and Clarion U's homecoming!  The leaves are turning to the beautiful hue of the fall...the rolling hills and the sweet fall weather made for a fabulous time at my alma mater.

I had the good fortune to stay with a long time, dear, dear elementary school friend who truly put the "H" in hospitality!  A friendship that has stood the test of time!

Best of all, I had the distinct pleasure of reconnecting with my cousins, whom I have not seen in ten years.  They welcomed me with so much warmth.  I traveled to Pittsburgh to join my cousins in a 5K walk for the Alzheimer's Association.  My mother and their mother (sisters) both had Alzheimer's and have since passed away.  In honor of our moms we raised money and walked through the Pittsburgh Zoo.  I am so happy that I made the trip, just to reunite with these great people--who happen to be Pittsburghers! 

Going from activity to activity this weekend, the sound of Pittsburgheze was such a welcome friend...
  • Red up a room (when you are cleaning up a room)
  • Gumbands (for rubber bands)
  • Sweeper (instead of vacuum)
When it came to eating...
  • Do you want a chipped ham sandwich
  • A Primanti Brothers Burger (with french fries and cole slaw all in one sandwich)
  • Pop (for soda or Coke)
There were phrases my parents, who were also born and raised in Pittsburgh, did not really allow us to use--but none the less is part of the very fabric of our Pittsburgh culture:
  • Yinz Guys (for you guys)...I personally never said this...but you hear it all of the time! :)
  • Jeet Jet?  No did Jou?  (Did you eat yet?  No did you?)
  • Also, Pittsburghers typically drop the verb to be:  My car needs washed.  Instead of My car needs to be washed.
The best part of being home was the warmth of the people in Pittsburgh!  

Sitting in Heinz Stadium--in great seats, surrounded by season ticket holders...everyone around Melanie and me took us under their wing to share the traditions and protocol of being a true, die-hard Pittsburgh Steelers fan...

  • Everyone made sure we met everyone that was around us...front, back, beside us
  • I heard men yell at anyone who forgot to take their hat off at the beginning of The Star Spangled Banner
  • Never ever, ever drop your Terrible Towel on the ground
  • Silence when Steelers have the ball
  • High fives and fist bump following a great Steelers play
  • "Ah, come on..." when there was a bad call from the referee (or a touchdown from the other team)
These sounds, expressions and acts of kindness took me back in time!  Brought happiness to my soul!  Made me realize just how incredibly blessed I have been to grow up in a warm town with good people.

So I Lasso the 'Burgh in me with joy!

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