Ahh, I remember it well. I can't get the lyrics from the Guy Mitchell song out of my head - "There's a pawnshop on a corner in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania..."
Pittsburgh - home of the Steelers and the Penguins. The winners. And the Pirates who' s fans are like the Cubs fans. You love the bums because they're yours.
It's a city that gets in your blood and never goes away. When my family moved there in 1945 we had those days black with smoke from the mills that you read about. Soot everywhere. Where we lived we had the additional joy of cement dust.
It was a city chock full of ethnic neighborhoods - and still is. They give the city as much of it's character as does the spectacular architecture, much of which has come since I left so many years ago. Friends often send me photo spreads to remind me of "home".
Now they will be on the world stage. The G20 is visiting. Foreign dignitaries with their entourages. What a wonderful city to showcase just what America is all about.
But wait. As I watched the news last night I saw merchants boarding up their store fronts. It's not the dignitaries they fear. It's the rabble that follows them where ever they go to protest any and everything. They usually create chaos and leave behind untold damage to property that is not their own.
I don't know what happens during the victory parades that are fairly common place with the Steelers and Penquins. I don't know if store fronts are barricaded. Not to excuse it, but if damage occurs it's from over exuberance. Pittsburgh's fans celebrating. Pittsburgh's rabble rousers.
It's rather like criticising one's mate to a friend just to vent; if the friend does anything more than listen he's/she's treading on dangerous ground. I can trash my mate or my family but don't you dare!
Boarding up store fronts and anticipating a near silent downtown. Anticipating chaos from total strangers who don't care one bit. I wonder about how awful it will be seeing swarms of police trying to maintain peace. A near police state in my home town. Just for a meeting. I wonder if it's worth it.
A huge PS. My worst fears have come true. They need to move these meetings to a ship in the middle of the ocean without televison cameras and surrounded by a well armed Navy!