Monday, August 11, 2014

Taking it out and chopping it up

My "Summer of Cleveland" officially will end tomorrow when I fly back to Los Angeles with my daughters and the World's Most Dependable Man.

Tomorrow also will be my 33rd day in Cleveland this summer, by far the most in this land since 1996 when I had a summer job at The Plain Dealer. There were two stints this summer, one without kids when the power of THE RAM was discovered and this current stay in which we attacked Cleveland.

We took it out, and we chopped it up. We followed advice from Royal Tenenbaum in the "The Royal Tenenbaums," who said, "You can't raise kids to be scared of life. You got to brew some recklessness into them. ... I'm not talking about dance lessons. I'm talking about putting a brick through the other guy's windshield. I'm talking about taking it out and chopping it up."

We did that, metaphorically of course, as we repeatedly swam in Gary's pool, visited Chippewa Lake several times, explored the woods, went to Swings 'n' Things, golfed the Buzzard's Nest, navigated a boat through downtown and saw a game-tying home run by the Tribe in the ninth inning land three rows in front of us. In this video, by the way, you can see my brother Fred lifting up the lady who got the home-run ball and me dancing.

Why did we do all of this? Well, I enjoyed my childhood in Northeast Ohio, and I try to give a glimpse of that to my daughters. I simply like going back to my homeland, and I'm pretty sure the air in Cleveland has healing powers. Chloe likely believes this, too.
Perhaps the most shocking thing about my "Summer of Cleveland" was the bombastically high 33 days spent here. I have loved nearly all of them, but I'm wondering if some relatives are sick of me by now.

Me: "What do you mean you're busy now? So what if it's 2 p.m. on a Wednesday? ... Forget about work. Shut off your phone, and we'll meet at the Burntwood Tavern pronto."

As a sophisticated gentleman and teacher, I must accept the fact that being on a powerboat roaring through Cleveland on a Tuesday afternoon is not that common for a lot of folks. Is it common to beat your chest like Matthew McConaughey in "The Wolf of Wall Street" with children ages 6-9?

I actually don't care if it's common or not. The girls and I had some unforgettable experiences that took them out of their California comfort zone and made us smile, and I'm hoping that happened to the many important people in our lives that we visited. We took it out and chopped it up.

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