Now, some friends I have from California may not believe that my own personal Valhalla — Cleveland, Ohio — is as majestic as I say it is. My suggestion to them: Go there in the summer.
Every night I spent in Cleveland got to be a running joke because I'd behold the twilight and remark, "Oh my god. This is beautiful. This is more beautiful than Spain."
I wasn't exaggerating. The twilight in Cleveland puts a godlike glow on the many trees there, and the sky remains lit until about 9:45 p.m. The sun will officially go down at 9:04 p.m. today, but it really doesn't go down until another 40 minutes of wonder.
The weather was absolutely gorgeous each day I was here, and this land has two key natural things that Southern California does not have — clear, fresh air and fertile ground that needs no artificial watering.
For me, Cleveland also has a support system of family and friends that makes me identify Cleveland as home. My Wolfpack, which dates back to grade school, reunited, and that was especially impressive because a critical Pack member traveled all the way in from North Carolina.
I also played six (yes, six) rounds of golf. That's 108 holes. I played Sleepy Hollow, Astorhurst, Ironwood, Fox Meadow, Creekwood and Ridge Top. All of those courses are beautiful. They're all carved out around trees that have been around for centuries, and I hadn't played Astorhurst and Ridge Top since I was a kid. It simply felt right to be out there.
But beyond that, the big reason I was in Cleveland and, in total, will be there for more than a month this summer is the relationships. I have my mom and brother and cousins, who are like brothers, plus an extended family that felt good to see.
Yesterday, on the Fourth of July, I went to Chippewa Lake, where the Stevens family now has three cottages at the circle. My idea is that I should buy a fourth one, and then we'll be allowed to tear them all down and build a hotel.
Chippewa always will hold a lot of memories for me, and with all these cottages now, many family members will be there much more now. Things evolve, and I — and perhaps many in the Snooze Button Generation
— look to the past with nostalgia, whether it be the Apple IIe, dial-up Internet or blowing off firecrackers at age 10.
Sometimes it's nice to look back to the past to enhance the present. Hopefully, that's what I was doing in Cleveland, which is growing and thriving and the most beautiful place I've ever been to in the summer.