Maybe, Baby

Forgive me a bit of personal reflection and some rambling thoughts. I know this space normally is used to comment on serious social and political issues of the day, but not today. The vibes are too

Forgive me a bit of personal reflection and some rambling thoughts. I know this space normally is used to comment on serious social and political issues of the day, but not today. The vibes are too good today.

Maybe it's the recent passing of Easter, which carries both the secular and religious significance of rebirth. Maybe it was the run of beautiful spring weather last week.

Or maybe it was the birth of my son on March 31, the same day CityBeat published the annual Best of Cincinnati issue, our biggest paper every year. Ya think?

Maybe I've simply been enjoying some time off with the family as we get to know the new baby. Maybe I've had the time — or taken the time — to appreciate all the blessings in my life.

Maybe I'm actually finishing some of the small projects around the house I never seem able to get to.

Maybe I'm not.

Maybe I'm still buzzing from my parents' visit right after the baby was born. I see them just a few times a year. The sight of my father holding my son — who's named for him — is already burned into my memory.

Maybe I'm still on a high from all the good feelings sent our way by family, friends, co-workers and neighbors who offer congratulations and a helping hand. It usually takes a rite of passage moment — birth, wedding, death — for us to be able to let down our guard and express our affection for each other, and it can be a little overwhelming on the receiving end.

But this sort of positive energy doesn't happen very often, so I'll battle my innate guyness and gratefully accept the good feelings.

Maybe I'm still proud of the Best of Cincinnati issue, which this year fell on my shoulders more than it usually does. I panic a bit every year when we start up the "best of" process: What are we going to say this time that's different from last year? How are we going to scour the area for unique items? How are we going to fill 80-something pages?

And then, miraculously, the pages are filled with a parade of local people doing cool things, local people behaving stupidly, local businesses standing out from the crowd, local restaurants being creative and local arts being extraordinary. And you come away from the issue shaking your head and saying, "Cincinnati isn't such a bad little place after all." At least I do.

Maybe I'm excited for some of my CityBeat colleagues who have collected their own recent good vibes. Steve Ramos visited Paris, which he wrote about last week. Kathy Wilson is preparing a cover story about her, Sean Hughes' and Jon Hughes' trip to Cuba.

Rick Pender wrote last week about his trip to the annual Humana New Play Festival in Louisville, where he co-chaired a gathering of his colleagues from the American Theatre Critics Association, an organization he's set to lead in June.

Mike Breen became a father for the first time. Jason Woodruff spent two weeks in Europe. April Martin was accepted into the Academy for Alternative Journalism fellowship program at Northwestern's Medill School of Journalism. Stephanie Dunlap will run in the Boston Marathon on Monday.

Maybe the return of baseball has brought order back to my life, and maybe the Reds' early-season success has sparked hope throughout the Tristate.

Maybe I'm touched by the genuine compassion shown by the Rev. Kenneth Hitch's letter in this week's issue regarding our story a few weeks ago about the gay man barred from serving as a youth leader at Crossroads Community Chruch. Hitch apologizes to the man "on behalf of myself for all those churches and 'Christians' that have rejected you and turned you away" — a stunning offer that chips away at my cynicism toward organized religion.

Maybe I'm hopeful that such a letter represents the prevailing attitude of people in Cincinnati, that people here are interested in building a live-and-let-live community that accepts all people of good will. Maybe people will realize that life is too short to hate others, especially when you hate them simply because they're different from you.

Maybe I'm feeling good about Article 12 being repealed this fall. Maybe the fact that Procter & Gamble and other major corporations are backing the repeal movement — the same corporations that are backing redevelopment downtown and in Over-the-Rhine — means that Cincinnati is poised for a progressive future on every level.

Maybe I think Cincinnati's future is already at hand in its neighborhoods and surrounding towns, where communities such as North College Hill (see Their 'A' Game, cover story of April 14-20) and Northside (see Upside to Northside, cover story of Feb. 25-March 2) are improving themselves one person and one business at a time. Maybe Cincinnati Public Schools' ambitious building program (see Growing Roots and Wings, cover story of March 24-30) will truly reconnect city neighborhoods with their public schools.

Maybe I'm getting the sense that the average voter is waking up to the lies, the corruption and the negativity foisted on this country by the Bush Administration over the past three years. Maybe they'll vote with hope this fall instead of fear.

Maybe pigs will fly. Really.

And maybe when I get back to the office after my post-birth break, I won't have 50 phone messages and 3,000 spam e-mails waiting for me.

Hey, don't harsh my mellow. All things are possible today.

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