Monday, August 8, 2016


Guldgränd 8
104 65 Stockholm, Sweden

+46 8 517 353 07

by Beau Cadiyo

I was running through the Great Park when I suddenly missed Cleveland.  

This happens every few days or so; something triggers a memory, and suddenly I'm transported, almost in body, back to Northeast Ohio.  It has happened with all sorts of places that I don't remember having any special connection to, and, of the places I do hold in high regard, I often don't think of them at all.  In this case, it started with Luna bakery, at Cedar Fairmount.  For God's sake, I've literally stumbled into a Pierre Herme macaron store, and there's a La Duree at the end of my favorite arcade; the bakery around the corner from me has impeccable croissants, and I have a sourdough starter that makes perfectly thin, puffed pizza dough or baguettes, AND in addition, I think I've set foot in Luna exactly twice, yet I yearn to walk by and look in and see people enjoying coffee, reading a paper, loving life.  

I miss the intersection of Caves Road and Mayfield.  I've stopped there once, to park at the southeast corner and try to walk to a farmers market on the northwest corner.  There's a gas station on another corner, and a giant church on the fourth corner, surrounded by so much grass that I sometimes think it is so that angels, descending from heaven, have a landing pad.  There's also a hill going north, and every time I was coming up Caves road and turning left to get back to Cleveland, I always wondered what was up that hill, but I never drove up it, just to see.  South on Caves, there's a park, the Bessie Benner Metzenbaum Park, where, in the springtime, you can pull up giant clumps of ramps.  I guess that I like that park because I took my then-girlfriend, now wife, there on our second date to dig in the ground; we got married on our third date, so I suppose one might say it was successful.  

I miss the giant planters shaped like calla lilies that line Euclid Avenue downtown.  Yet, as much as I loved it, I don't really miss the Union Club - I would lovingly go back, but I don't yearn to stroll around the building and have every staff member greet me with, "Hello, Mr. Cadiyo."  But I miss the planters.  

I miss East Cleveland.  I miss driving on the back streets, dodging potholes, going five miles an hour and gazing into paint peeling, boarded-up, falling-down houses with debris and high grass and abandoned cars and stories lost forever.  I miss seeing teenagers yelling at each other on the sidewalks, laughing on stoops and porches; I miss seeing little girls with beads in their hair playing games in the summer heat, while little boys, pretending to be men, walking slowly with their hands in their pockets, world-weary brows furrowed against the sun.  

I miss all of the barbecue joints I never went in.  And I miss Freddie's, and R Ribs, which I went in too often.  

I miss the smell of the lake in August.  I remember a date I went on once, to Edgewater; it was the first date I went on in Cleveland.  The girl's great-grandfather had been one of the masons who sculpted the Guardians of Transportation, and she pointed each one out proudly, and the West Side Market, and then we went to the beach, which wasn't a beach to me because I am from California, and there was a riot in the parking lot, and two groups of kids, armed with sticks and farm implements, attacked each other half-heartedly, almost perfunctorily, and we walked around them and wondered aloud if we should call the police, but we didn't.  

I miss the dead ends of Lyndhurst - all small, impeccably maintained houses.  

I miss the Amish.  If you go to 8675 Parkman Mespo Road in Mesopotamia, and go down the driveway, there are parking spaces in front of the barn.  Ignore the first house; they don't sell anything.  In the second house, though, they have stacks and stacks of fresh eggs, all piled up and ready to sell.  The old man who lives there looks like a hobbit; the house smells like eight years of homelessness, so feel free to stand outside, where it smells like dog shit but is still preferable to the entryway.  The dog will bark, but he's too shy to come near you.  Wait while he goes downstairs to get four dozen eggs, then pay him, and rush to Giovanni's, get some bacon, go home, and have days and days of incredible breakfasts.  (I think my record was eight dozen.)  If you make friends with him, come harvest time, he'll sell you giant celery, and abnormally large carrots that you can pull out of the ground yourself, and he'll tell you how to cook them.  

I miss Costco rotisserie chicken skin.  I miss the parking lot at Costco, and those magic days when you can get the best pull-through spots.  

I miss turtles from East Coast Frozen Custard.  

I miss the intersection of I-90 and Route 2.  

I miss sailing from Chagrin Lagoons Yacht Club, dodging logs coming down the Chagrin river, and standing at the bow of a yacht, looking for a near-invisible mark in the distance, calling out to the captain, and seeing the inside of Frank Inman's nose as he stares up at the strips of ribbon flapping on the sail, his forearms straining on the sheets.  

I miss the lobby of the Key Tower.  What do they have there, a Starbucks?  A soda fountain?  But God, I'd love to walk through it again.  

I miss the statue of Lincoln.  I think I saw it three times.

I miss the folly of the government, the almost criminal folly.  The almost blatantly criminal folly, and the blind support of Cleveland's citizens, given so few reasonable alternatives.  I would gamble that the Cleveland City Government is the least effective, most terribly run government in America.  The single most eloquent argument for giving the Cuyahoga County Council complete power over Cleveland is housed at 601 Lakeside.  But I miss it.  I miss knowing that if I had a problem, I had the cell numbers of three councilmen on my phone.  I miss walking through the hallways and knowing that - just by being in the building - I'd increased the average IQ of the occupants by double digits.  I miss seeing the signs pointing opposite ways, one indicating the direction "Mayor" and the other indicating "Public Safety."  I miss the drinking fountains with their permanent "out of order" signs.  And I miss the guards, tired no matter the time, hassling people with the intensity of third-world customs agents looking for a bribe.  

So I was in the middle of a fifteen mile run, missing all of these things and feeling sorry for myself.  But then I turned the corner onto the Long Walk.  

Twenty minutes later, I'd touched Windsor Castle and peed against an oak tree in the Queen's Deer Park, where she walks her corgis on the weekend, and thought to myself that sometimes, London isn't half bad.  

The burgers at Eken are also not half bad - in fact, they are probably the equal of the burgers at the Tremont Tap House, which, of course, is pretty damn good.  However, at approximately $30 a burger, they're stupidly expensive.  It's almost worth a flight back to Cleveland.  

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