I was asked how I was going to follow up my first article, simply titled, “Why??”
It chronicles my journey from my small-town upbringing (cue John Mellencamp’s “Small Town.”) to residing in the big city…
First, I’d like to take this opportunity to thank all of your for your support and kind words of encouragement for my first article. I must say, I was a bit humbled… And now, here I sit, poised in front of my laptop, equally as humbled to have been asked to write a follow-up piece. (Thanks Lisa Grigsby!)
So… I know how this works… I am well aware of the failure rate when most bands release their sophomore album. Alanis Morisette’s first album “Jagged Little Pill sold 33 MILLION copies and won FOUR Grammys including Best Album in 1996. The song, “You Oughta Know” was an empowering anthem for jilted women, worldwide!
But can you name her second album? (Without turning to Google!)
Her subsequent SEVEN records haven’t sold but 27,000,000 copies COMBINED.
A similar phenomenon is true in the movie industry for movie sequels. (Have you seen “Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom”)?
Not that I am comparing my article to any blockbuster or hit record. I’m merely speaking to the pressure I felt when asked about writing a follow-up.
So, here goes…
I think my favorite comment to my last article is that I am “giving Dayton a comb over.”
Lefty Enderson then went on to compare me to Bruce Willis in “Last Man Standing!” (I had never been compared to a drifting gun-slinger-for-hire… until now!) Lefty ended our friendly exchange with “Good luck to you Scott, Dayton needs someone with your enthusiasm!”
I know there are a lot of people out there who love our city!
And there are more than a few haters, too.
There is a current saying, “Haters gonna hate.”
I very much believe you will find whatever you’re looking for, wherever you go. Sure, the Miami Valley is also known as “Sinus Valley.” (Well, at least we are not known as “Mistake on the lake,” as is Cleveland!) Ok, ok… In a unified show of bilateral support, let’s all proclaim it together… Cleveland ROCKS!
I guess we can all take solace that we are not living in the city of Detroit… Which JUST filed for bankruptcy this past week.
But that’s just rationalization. If we feel better simply because some other city is in worse shape than we are in, that’s not optimism. That’s like being happy with the C you got on a test simply because someone else got a D. It’s like saying, “Things could always be worse.” Or, “At least I didn’t fail.”
It always amazes me up when I ask someone “How are you doing?” and they respond with, “Well… I’m above ground!”
Wow… that’s setting the bar pretty low.
Is that how you want to feel about our city? “Well, it could be worse. We could be living in Detroit!”
I’m sorry, I am not happy with simply being “not dead.” Simply being above ground is not good enough for me.
I want to change how people perceive our city. I want people to begin thinking and speaking differently about our city. I want people to stop running Dayton into the ground, to stop complaining… and stop seeing the glass as half-empty and start seeing it as half-full!
If we have to start somewhere, let’s start right there! That’s at least a step in the right direction.
Watching the local news you’d think there are shootings almost daily. That’s it’s not safe to leave your home! That you better watch your back! It’s not safe out there…
I have actually talked to people who won’t come downtown. Seriously? Have you ever visited a major city like Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, Houston or Atlanta? How about Indianapolis or Columbus? Every city has its issues with crime, unemployment and trying to keep kids in school. Every city has its parts of town that no one wants to venture into after dark. Or perhaps even during daylight hours!
But I’m telling you, if you NEVER venture downtown, you are missing out!
For instance, on the First Friday in July, there was an amazing Food Truck Rally across from Gilly’s and the Dayton/Montgomery County Convention & Visitors Bureau at 200 Jefferson Street (back in the day it was Elbows, and more recently Sa-Bai restaurant.) Fifteen-ish food trucks offered up everything from Asparagus Fries to Zombie Dogz! The place was hopping! Seeing a couple thousand people munching and mingling made my heart go pitter-patter! I thought to myself, “This is happening right here in Dayton! And so many people are missing out on this!”
I recently chatted with Connie Post, one of Cox Media’s “Dining Divas.” We ended up talking about all the great restaurants around town. Many are locally owned and operated and focus on utilizing locally grown, fresh produce. Olive, an Urban Dive is a prime example of one such restaurant. (Love their motto: “We chase chickens, when we say free range…. we mean it.”) We also agreed that Sunrise Café in Yellow Springs is a shared favorite of ours. And our list got longer as we talked. “Have you tried Roost yet?” “What about Lucky’s Taproom and Eatery?” “What do you think of the new Coco’s location?” “Ever been to Press coffee on Wayne (voted, by the way, one of the nation’s TOP TEN Coolest Coffee Houses by Zagat!) or Ghostlight Coffee?” (The place in South Park to hang out and get a little work done.)
Look, I gain nothing from writing this. I’m just a regular guy. But I Love Dayton! I have never gotten a free anything for all my years of promoting all the restaurants, festivals and events. (Perhaps I have garnered a little good will here and there…)
A famous playwright once said, “I hear you say “Why?” Always “Why?” You see things; and you say “Why?” But I dream things that never were; and I say “Why not?” My high school teacher, Mr. Wellbaum first introduced me to that quote. I have never forgotten it. I even dared to adopt it as my own. He also drilled into me, “It’s amazing what one can do, when one puts ones mind to it.”
What if every person in Dayton talked about his or her favorite breakfast spot on their Facebook page? I already know many that would top the list of favorites! Butter Café, and Tank’s are two of my faves! And don’t forget about a true east Dayton classic, Bunnie’s Hasty Tasty on Linden Ave! (Forget about the Bob Evans and Cracker Barrels. I’m talking LOCAL, here.)
What if everyone posted about what they LOVE about our city? What if those of us who frequent Dayton invited our friends to join us at our favorite spot downtown sometime? What if everyone stepped up and got involved and began serving our city? What if everyone gave a little bit of their time and their resources to better our community?
What if all parents actually got involved in our schools? What if everyone just quit complaining and actually did something to make Dayton a better place?
but I’m not the only one.
I hope some day you’ll join us…
And the world will live as one.”