Yeah, baby, yeah!!!!

pghskylnWebSize

It is no surprise to me BUT the ‘Burgh was mentioned in MSN travel today:

America’s Most Underrated Cities!

Most folks who know me know that deep down I love my hometown, especially now that I am back in the Squirrel Hill area. Absolutely EVERY ‘Out of Towner’ I have talked to is floored at how nice the city is, especially its appearance and people. I am pretty widely travelled and I can only think of 2 cities where strangers at the bus stop routinely strike up a conversation. Here (Pittsburgh, PA USA) and Nashville TN. A sunny day in London, UK can make it quite friendly but the ‘Burgh is friendly pretty near all the time. And the amazing or charming thing is how that little bit of conversation transcends. Gay folks, black folks, punk rockers, hipsters, wannabes, even city hicks will all talk a little waiting for the bus. THAT can’t be quantified but is pretty darn cool. It can even be life changing if not actually life saving. I’ll share an example that I have only shared with close friends until now. It is so hard to believe this happened over 30 years ago. I was 1/2 drunk and waiting for a bus. My dad had taken his own life 18 hours before and I was NUTS. An older black fellow in a housekeeping uniform saw the tears streaming down my face. They wouldn’t go away no matter how hard I tried to stop or hide them. He asked me what was wrong and I told him. He hugged me long and hard and tried to give me $20. I said no thanks and he said “let a brother buy a nephew a drink”. I took the 20 and bought a case. This was the mid 1980s and $20 could get you a case of Genny Cream and a couple packs of name brand smokes. He never did say his name but I never forgot that guy. Think that would happen in, ohhhh, say Philly? Asking someone the time there could lead to a fist fight. I can say it without apology, I love Pittsburgh, PA. Maybe that is what kept me around the 4 times I had a chance at a good gig far away.

-T

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