Strong Word, Strong Town

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My favorite word is downright dirty.  I’ve never heard it used lightly.  In fact, I dare you to say it without a hard “R” and a bold gleam in your eye.  Go ahead… “GRIT.”

The park

Man, there are over a million words in the English language but they can’t… touch… “GRIT.”  It’s short, it’s sharp and everybody knows what it feels like on the hands and in the heart.  If you don’t know what grit is, you can forget all the other words you know because you might be breathing, but you ain’t livin’.

I have a favorite place too.  It’s just as resilient and just as sharp.  It gets beaten and battered, but it won’t stop getting up.  People who know it best either resent it or revere it.  You know what I’m talking about – 32 years a Yorker.

We grew up saying, “I don’t know what I want to do, but I know I don’t want to do it in York.”  To this day I’m not sure why we said that… but I have a guess.  We grew up in a town that forgot it had grit.

Grit isn’t easy.  We all talk about how it would be nice if… and… how things should be… and… how they once were.  When we’re done talking, we realize that we better keep talking or we’ll be expected to do something about it – so we talk.  And that’s what Yorkers did – we talked.

A while ago a group of Yorkers stopped talking.  They just shut up and went silent.  They were downtown digging up grit.

Downtown is all grit.  I’m talking about the kind that comes to the surface when people stop talking and get busy building what they can with what they have.

There are still plenty of folks who like to talk about how things should be… and what would be nice… and how things once were.  They’ll keep talking.  The folks downtown will keep working.

A while from now, the talkers might walk downtown – they might not.  If they do, our quiet friends will wash the grit off their hands and greet them with a gleam in their eye.  They’ll just say, “Welcome back.”

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