But the question does keep coming up: Why travel? I look at a bustling airport and wonder what’s so important that gets all these people out of their routines and sends them hither and yon, standing in lines and running for gates.
On the other hand, while I was writing a book about Cincinnati food history, I realized that the stubbornness pays off: We have our unique regional menu because the Graeters kept doing things the old way until the rest of the world caught up with them. Grandmothers and neighborhood butchers never stopped making goetta, though no one made it anywhere else. That’s to be treasured.
When my husband and I go to concerts or any performance, of course we look around for anyone we know. With amazing regularity, we spot a woman with a familiar head of long gray-red hair, wearing colorful glasses and a flowy dress, using a cane or maybe a rolling walker. Yep, there’s Amy, we’ve said for years, always with amused pleasure at her sheer omnipresence at the cultural events of the city.
Snarky political memes on Facebook, squirrel obstacle races and the guy on TikTok skating to Fleetwood Mac have all helped me in little ways to get through the pandemic. Other social media content, has of course, infuriated me. And there was one meme that popped up on my feed during the first few months that struck terror in my heart.
My writing life in Cincinnati until now has been writing about food and restaurants, so this may seem like a swerve. But the people I covered, the restaurant owners and chefs, the farmers and food producers, are movers. They are also makers. They followed vision and passion into the difficult business of selling people something to eat.