The Lazer Speaks

Cincinnatus was the name of a Roman statesman around 500 BCE who was called from his farm to lead Rome back to peacetime after several violent uprisings. After securing Rome, legend has it that Cincinnatus returned to his farm and gave up all the trappings of power. This supreme act of civic virtue has been kept alive through various Societies of Cincinnati, and in fact is the reason why we have a city in Ohio named after him.

The city of Cincinnati sits right next to the Ohio River and is supposedly the home of more Revolutionary heroes than anywhere else because after the war they were granted land in the “northwest.” Recently about 16 Pastinas descended upon the banks of this Ohio town from New York to celebrate the wedding of Luca Pastina, my Nashville nephew. The wedding took place in the monastery atop Mt. Adams, once the home of a Roman Catholic church for the Germans and Irish of this three-century-old town. The monastery now serves as an event space, and is romantically and lovingly restored, although currently deconsecrated.

The wedding brought families from New York, Kentucky and Tennessee together to celebrate the first wedding of my parent’s grandchildren. The second one will be later this year, and that too will be momentous. This one featured animated dance sequences the like that Ohio has never seen before. In addition, the rehearsal dinner the night before witnessed prodigious bouts of Kentucky bourbon, that Kentuckians have also never seen. If you didn’t know this about Cincinnati, the Ohio River separates Kentucky from Ohio, and to fly into Cincinnati airport, you actually land in Kentucky. This was not a fun fact during the Civil War as families separated by the river, also found themselves on separate sides of the conflict too. But for this event, we Yankees were welcomed with open arms and we embraced our southern brethren right back!

Family weddings can be stressful sometimes, especially when it’s a destination wedding. But this was one of those rare exceptions where everyone had fun. The flight is only an hour and a half, and the baseball Reds stadium sits right next to the river. Which had me wondering, why didn’t we ever take a trip out here to see a game? Something to think about for you Mets fans.

We arrived on a Thursday and were around ‘til Saturday afternoon. We stayed downtown right across from Proctor and Gamble’s corporate headquarters. There are several other large corporate headquarters downtown too, but we were hard pressed to find anybody out at lunchtime both days. As crowded as New York is, Cincinnati was empty. If you ever want to get away from it all, Cincinnati might be the place for you!

The city also has the distinction of being the birthplace of presidents, Taft and Hayes. Harriet Beecher Stowe, the author of Uncle Tom’s Cabin, is also from Cincinnati, and the city played a big role in the Underground Railroad. This city of only 300,000 has had several nicknames during its history such as “Queen of the West” and more interestingly, “Porkopolis.” The latter coined as the country’s chief hog packing center.

But for the Pastina clan, it will be remembered as the place where Luca Pastina and Emily Taylor became Mr. & Mrs. Pastina, and were celebrated by dozens of cheering Pastinas from the north and the south, an exercise in supreme civic virtue!

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