Buffalo Gal
Judi Griggs

I'm a communications professional, writer, cynic, mother, wife and royal pain. The order depends on the day. I returned to my hometown in November 2004 after a couple of decades of heat and hurricanes. I can polish pristine copy, but not here. This is my morning exercise -- 20-minute takes without a net or spellcheck. It's easier than sit ups for me. No guarantee what it will be for you. Clicking on the subscribe link will send you an email notice when each new entry is posted.
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Defining neighborhood

My open windows on this hot summer afternoon welcome a cacophony of bullhorns, car horns, drummers, whooping, hollering, whistling and street preachers as the Pride March moves down the street two doors down.
Next weekend the suburbanites will swarm on the Allentown Art Festival a little further downtown. Shakespeare in the Park begins soon a few blocks uptown. Our Farmer's Market has started on Saturday mornings offering flower and vegetable plants that will transition to seasonal produce in the promenade of a grand parkway.
In my neighborhood we can walk to get a cup of gazpacho, a bagel, a haircut, sushi, homemade ice cream cones, essential oils, bike parts, an amazing early summer fruit tart, a cold draft beer or the latest "martini" with far too many ingredients.
We have a library, a yoga studio, a food co-op, bank, pottery studio, convenience store, cooking school, independent book and record stores, a dozen or so restaurants, galleries, a tea shop and three coffee shops within an easy stroll. It's not a question of whether we have good pizza or Chinese food nearby, only which place to call with your order.
But it's not the places that define the neighborhood, it's the people -- the daily parade garbed from Goth to Brooks Brothers. The mix of people one could expect with a university and art gallery less than a mile away. The sidewalks hum from spring through the start of winter.
You could remove any one of the buildings or business with minimal impact, but cut back on the critical mass of people and the most vibrant neighborhood in this city would wither.
My country cousin Cheryl stayed with us Friday night and I heard for the first time all the city night noises that had morphed into my nightly lullaby. Noise and bluster is the price and privilege of a busy neighborhood. Silence reflects an absence.
The parade has passed and my neighbors are walking back to their houses with their lawnchairs, several stopping to talk to the young couple next door who are sitting on their front steps.
I've lived in grander places, but none better.

Copyright 2007 Judi Griggs

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