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Around the Bluhmin’ Town

Judy Bluhm~ 1/25/2015

Have you been to Cleveland lately? No, I didn’t think so. After all, it is not exactly a tourist destination, especially in winter. I went back to check on my mother and see my family. I was immediately taken in by just how hardy folks are who live in the Midwest. They do not obsess about weather, snow, sleet, or rain. Nothing seems to stop them from having a good time and they seem positively unbothered by long, dreary days. But there are some things they obsess over, which is mainly their sports teams. How else could they sit in freezing cold bleachers to watch a football game? They are crazy!

When it comes to basketball and the Cavaliers, nothing is stranger than the love-hate (now mostly love) relationship that Cleveland has with LeBron James. He left his home-team in the lurch, announcing it on national television (very disrespectful) in 2010 and grown men cried. Then he came back after four seasons with the Miami Heat and the town folks went giddy. Ticket sales skyrocketed (most expensive place to see a NBA game is in Cleveland) and everyone kissed and made up. LeBron had a party, gave bicycles to needy kids and made amends to Cleveland for ever leaving in the first place.

What I am about to say I can do so from the safety of my home in Arizona, because if I wrote this in Cleveland I might receive death-threats. Lebron James stinks! He left the team like a straying husband and gave the best years of his life to a sultry Miami franchise. Then he wanted to “come home” so he talked about how he “never really left” and how much he “missed” his roots. Blah, blah, blah. He left and came back at the age of thirty. Too old if you ask me! Oh, and the Cavaliers are doing lousy. And James is on the injured list. Oh, surprise, surprise, Lebron James is rumored to be leaving Cleveland (his hometown love) AGAIN. 

Then there is a certain money-hungry, arrogant and semi-talented quarterback named Johnny Manziel. Cleveland Browns fans are a tough group and have had “enough” of the college star who was going to put the Browns into the playoffs. Well, Johnny realized what many young men learn when they graduate from college and get into the big league. It is harder out there in the real world. When you are throwing a ball, the receiver is not standing in one spot waiting for you. He is running with big guys chasing him and you are supposed to throw the ball to where the receiver will be when the ball lands. So the hard-partying, beer guzzling quarterback has said he needs to “take his job more seriously.” Gee, it seems there are twelve million (dollars) reasons to shape up! The lesson here? Throwing a truckload of money at someone does not make them achieve greatness or become more talented (e.g., Kim Kardashian). Money will not make someone throw better, faster or farther! Maybe the NFL should only reward performance, not potential.

Clevelanders like to do things. Ice fishing? Now that sounds like fun. Become a polar bear? Oh sure, just run half naked into Lake Erie. Going to the theater? Who cares if it is cold and windy.  I went to see “I’m Dreaming of A White Christmas” with my brother at Playhouse Square and two thousand people showed up! Ladies wearing high heels walking on slippery streets and men in overcoats (something we don’t see much in Arizona) were not going to let a little weather slow them down. Parking garages were full and restaurants were packed. Bad weather? Who cares? That’s a Midwest attitude.

Folks in the Midwest also keep snow shovels handy and snow tires on their vehicles, plus snow blowers are a must-have. They decorate their houses for Christmas, stringing lights on snowy roofs and can be seen having a festive time putting up all sorts of “outdoor” Holiday embellishments. This is not something a true Arizonan (or someone who has lived here for a while) can understand. We are used to sunshine and brace ourselves for the inevitable storms that come our way. We like to stay inside and cozy while the storm passes, not brave the elements to put lights on a tree.

One observation I made while I was back in Cleveland is that most homes have basements. I had forgotten about those dark, dank, frightening places with steep steps. People like to put their washing machines down there, or maybe their freezers. Some folks like to make them into “recreation rooms,” which give me the creeps. They are cavernous, cold, windowless dungeons! Unsafe because spiders live there, and I have seen plenty of movies about people getting locked in the basement. So glad, we Arizonans are done with cellars!

There are other things about Cleveland that reminded me how truly blessed we are to have big windows (no basements) and about 325 sunny days a year. But storm clouds are gathering so I better get the horses in the barn, button up the house, stoke the fire and get ready for a long winter’s night. Or I could have a “Midwest attitude” and go sledding. Happily, in Arizona, common sense prevails.

Judy Bluhm is a writer and a local realtor who lives in the Anthem area. Have a story or a comment? Email Judy at judy@judybluhm.com.