Some relatives are moving to Florida. They're serious about it enough that they sold their home here in Ohio and built a new one in Florida. They're pretty excited.
Me, I couldn't imagine leaving Ohio. Heck I can't imagine leaving the Mahoning Valley.
People gasp when I say that. One of my rules though is that if you've moved far enough that you start missing funerals, you've moved too far.
Maybe you get used to where you grow up, but no place else suits me. If I go east into Pennsylvania there are too many hills - mountains, really. Mountains are scenic, but I'm not comfortable driving on them. Going up or down, it doesn't matter. I've never seen a guardrail on a mountain road that looked suitable. Going down, they have those ''run off'' ramps that remind you that brakes can and do fail. I don't like thinking about my brakes. At least until I can hear them grind a little.
Go west and it's far too flat. It seems as though you're wide open and unprotected. The Mahoning Valley has just the right amount of small, rolling hills in my opinion.
Florida people like to brag about the ocean and, I have to admit, white sand beaches and clear blue water have their appeal. But let one of those waves flip you over and grind your face along the bottom for 10 yards then give you a big mouthful of sandy saltwater and you'll look at Lake Erie in a whole new light. And that's not even mentioning brushing up against a jellyfish, or having the shadow of a fish bigger than you pass by.
And the insects! I saw on the news not too long ago that due to some weather abnormality, this year there are going to be mosquitoes as big as quarters in Florida that hurt you when they bite. Then there's the no-see-'em bugs. If you can believe this, the fly's so small you can't even see it; you just feel a stinging sensation when it bites you. I imagine it's a pretty good climate for some hefty, hairy spiders as well. No thanks, I'm staying right here.
I could rest my case by pointing out that the festive aspect of Christmas can only be truly appreciated in the northern climes, but putting that aside for a moment let's consider the seasons.
Our summers are the best. In the summer there are few places in the country where you can spend more time outdoors in comfort than the Northeast. Sure our winters are cold, but since the advent of climate-controlled cars and remote starters, there are not many reasons to spend much time in the cold. And even if you do have to spend time outdoors, it's a lot easier to stay warm in the winter in Ohio than trying to stay cool in Florida in the summer.
There are times like this recent March, when you just think winter has gone too far, then you wake up to a morning like I had last week. A snow squall must have moved through the area just before daybreak. It dropped enough heavy, wet snow to completely cover every branch of all the trees in about a two-square-mile area.
It was during a brief period of time that the sun was illuminating the snow, but had not yet melted it. It was so beautiful, that as I passed out of it, I doubled back to stop and take some pictures. I'm sure that all over the country there are sights as beautiful, but none were more so.
Spring of course can speak for itself, but I can't imagine missing the changing of the light as winter recedes and the faint spray of green as the trees begin to bud. I call it my favorite season, that is, until fall arrives; then I'm not so sure.
Moadus is a Girard resident. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org