So my pop knows this guy here in Cleveland that owns a sausage factory, this joint called, “Ray’s Sausage”. Over the years, the poor sap has sunk thousands of dollars into cleaning his place, after numerous complaints from around the neighborhood about the putrid smell.
However, to his chagrin, after sinking all that cash into janitorial services, it was discovered that the smell had absolutely nothing to do with his sausage factory. The stench emanated from the residence of James Sowell, a mass murderer of 11 women, their bodies and body parts cast about the house and back yard like gaudy Halloween decorations.
On the plus side, Ray’s factory is as clean as Pimp Don Juan at Easter Breakfast.
On the negative side (besides the destruction of life, of course) selfishly, this is real bad timing for me. Yes… 11 lives destroyed and I’m making this about me. You see, I’ve always dreamed of moving back to Cleveland, and since I’m getting married, Stefi has to be on board with this move. I’m going to live where ever she wants to live, based on the sage advice from my pop, “Wife happy. Life Happy.” So I needed to put a positive spin on the home town for the girl from Milan, Italy.
I needed an antidote for the “House Of Horrors.” I needed the Cleveland version of “It’s a Wonderful Life”, all safe n’ cozy n’ scrumptious.
Ladies and gentlemen, I give you…
Ah, yes, Chagrin Falls.
The quaint little town with a quaint little Popcorn Shop which sits above a quaint little water fall. The place is awesome. I’d sell my parents into slavery in trade or a spacious 3 bedroom cottage, nestled deep within the shadows of the Chagrin Falls woods. But I digress…
I try not to argue with people who dog Cleveland, partly because it takes too much time to defend a major city and life is too short. However, the real I refuse to defend the town is because I like the fact that outsiders hate Cleveland. Yep. You heard me. Folks who hate Cleveland make me giddy like school girl. Why? ‘Cause I want to keep those arrogant wind-bag bastards the fuck out of my town. Cleveland is New Yorker/Los Angeleno free. All the rudeness & stupidity in my home town is as home grown as potatoes are to Idaho.
Wouldn’t have it any other way. Go Browns.
Having said that, if I want to actually turn somebody ON to Cleveland, the first place I take ‘em is to is the suburb of Chagrin Falls. As far as small town charm goes, you can’t get any better that this joint. So I booked Stefi and I a room with a fire place at the Inn of Chagrin Falls B&B. We checked in, wandered the streets, drank espresso, and soaked up the local flavor. We capped the night with a visit to one of the coolest couples I know, Bill and Loren, who had just moved to town. Bill’s folks are originally from Sicily and he speaks Italian like a native, so Stef even had the chance to chat in her native tongue for a while. Their kids are cute as buttons and the wine was fantastic. Stef had a great time.
My plan of brainwashing the poor girl was working like German clockwork. Slowly I was suckering her into picking up half the weight of my cross and hallin’ it up Calvary Hill. The morning we checked out of the B&B, I came downstairs and actually found Stef chatting with the owner and raving about North East Ohio; and how pleasantly surprised she was about the city of Cleveland.
Yeeeeees. YEEEEESSSSSS. Fall under my spell, my pretty. Only after a few days, the town was actually winning her over. Soon she would become a Browns fan and her Sundays would be ruined. We’d sit on the couch and cry, together, under Cleveland’s wonderfully diffused gray skies.
But then I made the fatal mistake. On the way back home, I needed to pop into a Walgreens. I should’ve kept her inside the car, cuddled in front of a blowin’ heater. However I got greedy and allowed her to venture out-of-doors. She stepped out of the car just as a frigid Lake Erie wind arrived on the scene. That hawk blew up her skirt and just like that my hopes were dashed.
“Uffa! I can’t live here!” She exclaimed. “You know, in Los Angeles there’s 275 days of sunshine all year…”
Oh well… Wife happy. Life Happy. It looks like I’m stuck in sunny Los Angeles, California for the rest of my life. (sigh) I’ll just have these purty pictures to hide betwixt my mattress to drool over during those balmy Santa Anna nights.