Santa’s coming to the Steel City

My mom’s family was from Beaver Falls, PA, which, is not technically Pittsburgh, but it may as well have been. She had endless Pittsburgh pride. She had a deep appreciation for the hardworking, blue collar laborers, who made up most of the population of her hometown. Her brothers were good ballplayers, and she became an avid sports fan. Forbes Field was her Mecca. She was devoted to the Pirates and was a staunch supporter of the Steelers. Her enthusiasm was contagious and we all grew up with an infatuation for the Iron City.

Isn’t childhood a wonderful place? As a kid, I desperately wanted to live in the Pittsburgh area. My cousins were there. Roberto Clemente was there. Franco Harris was there. Our family made a bi-annual trek across the state of Pennsylvania to visit family but we never stayed long enough. There were always tears when we got in the car to head back east.

Thanks to the generosity of my sister, I am living the dream for two months. I can listen to KDKA, and head “Dahntahn” to visit Station Square and the Strip District. I can visit family, eat chipped, chopped ham, and put fries on just about anything. If yinz’ are from dahn this way, you’ll understand.

Toyland, toyland
Little girl and boy land
While you dwell within it
You are ever happy there

Victor Herbert, Babes In Toyland

PIttsburgh may not be the fantastical nirvana that I envisioned as a child, but it is a joyful, wonderland during the Christmas season.

Childhood’s joy land
Mystic merry toyland
Once you pass its borders
You can ne’er return again

Victor Herbert – Babes In Toyland

I have so many memories of idyllic Christmas moments. As a result, I always want my Yuletide to mimic a Hallmark Movie. I want everyone to be wearing festive clothing while sipping hot chocolate, singing carols in 4-part harmony, and opening the perfect gifts, one-at-a-time. Let’s just say that my expectations tend to be a bit too lofty, and as a result, am always just a little sad at the way things transpire, but I am determined to make the best of the mess that is our reality.

So, in the meantime, we are shopping, visiting the local harness racing track, spending time with a cousin who purchased a mid-century, architectural marvel of a home, and dining at the historic, Grand Concourse with lifetime friends.

When you’ve grown up, my dears
And are as old as I
You’ll laugh and ponder on the years
That roll so swiftly by, my dears
That roll so swiftly by

Victor Herbert – Babes in Toyland

As the end of this year approaches, I am reminded of just how swiftly time is rolling by. It seems that this journey is interminable. Waiting for our house to be built is anxiety provoking, but I just have to keep the faith and enjoy the bumpy ride.

I am looking forward to celebrating Christmas Eve and Christmas Day with our daughter, my sister, nieces, nephews-in-law and grand-nephew. Then off to Maryland for continuing festivities with sons, daughters-in-law and grandkids.

I’ll let you know how that Hallmark thing works out…

Stay tuned…

3 thoughts on “Santa’s coming to the Steel City

  1. Love this piece, the sentiment was perfect. Remembering the idyllic Christmas memories still gives joy and today’s Christmas experiences, though different, are still so great as you outlined in all those wonderful pics of Pittsburgh. Enjoy, can’t wait to see you again in 2023!! Love you!


  2. Merry Christmas to you Geoff and your family. It’s been lovely following your posts. Harrowing at times but always interesting and intriguing read! Here’s to 2023 and hopefully your dream home soon. All the best


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