I was born and raised in Louisville, and have fond childhood memories of this fair city: posting up on the curb at Derby parades (never mind a few close-calls with crazed Shriners in tiny cars), daring to water ski on the Ohio (it’s called boosting your immune system) and pulling up to Frisbee Field on a Friday night in my friend’s cherry-red Volkswagen convertible (back when smoking was cool, you know, not hazardous).
I was content with this little slice of Louisville during my youth, but college called and I was eager to seize my independence. And so I spent the next 12 years away from home (with the exception of that one summer I came home from college, a stint my parents and I are mutually happy to forget). During the 144 months I spent in such exotic locales as Cincinnati, Nashville and Washington, D.C, there were times I was truly homesick, and that longing intensified as more time elapsed.
Finally, after several failed out-of-town Derby parties (convincing people to drink bourbon in the afternoon really shouldn’t be so difficult), it was time to make the move.
It’s been three months since I returned, and the honeymoon still isn’t over.
During my first week home, most errands resulted in an unnecessary detour through Cherokee Park, just for old-time’s sake. I quickly learned, however, I had lost the ability to navigate the lush green labyrinth. But while the surly D.C. driver in me normally would have unleashed a string of expletives upon getting lost, I instead smiled as I snaked past Big Rock for the third time.
Upon my first weekday trek through downtown on foot, I was thrilled to discover Louisville is in fact a bustling city. Who knew? And although it was sad to stroll along the block where the Galleria once stood (I realize I’m probably in the minority on that one), it was exhilarating to see droves of people patronizing Fourth Street Live (just don’t expect me there anytime soon).
What else do I love about residing in Louisville? Well first, I could afford to buy a house here without subsisting on Ramen Noodles, PBR and stolen cable. Then there’s the fact that the farthest parking space at the airport is only a 10-minute walk to the terminal. And what love letter to Louisville would be complete without a salute to food? There is a substantial list of restaurants I have longed for while away: Café Mimosa, Bearno’s, Kashmir, Pat’s Steak House, White Castle (don’t judge). Oh, and I’m now available to accept last-minute Cardinal basketball tickets and Derby passes, so be sure to keep me in mind. And of course it goes without saying (although I’ll say it just to be safe), it’s good to be close to family once again.
I’m sure it’s only a matter of time before I start complaining about things like Louisville’s swampy summers, inadequate public transportation and UK fans (shit, does this count as a complaint?). But until the cynicism kicks in, I’m going to embrace my love affair with Louisville. If and when the passion dies, at least we can still be friends.