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Cleveland and Columbus have more in common than just I-71

Plain Dealer and wire services fileColumbus has its whistles, but Cleveland plays a mean (and big) harmonica.CLEVELAND, Ohio — Let us all have a moment of silence to honor Columbus Day. And although this day honors the explorer Christopher Columbus, not the city of Columbus, our thoughts are never far from our sister city to the south on Interstate 71. Cleveland’s relationship with Columbus has developed over time into one of mutual admiration and respect. But the hint of an intrastate rivalry still remains. Any mental health professional will tell you that it is folly to compare yourself with others. There will always be people who have more than you, as well as people with less. Comparing yourself to others is nothing more than a desperate (and unattractive) bid for self-esteem. Healthy minds don’t gloat. They don’t covet. Healthy people want what they have. With those wise words in mind, I thought I might take this opportunity to prove that Cleveland has more in common with Columbus than it has differences. Columbus has the Short North. Cleveland has Short Vincent. Columbus has a hockey team named the Blue Jackets. Lots of people in Cleveland wear blue jackets. They’re called cops. Columbus is home to the very first Wendy’s restaurant. Cleveland has a Wendy Park on Whiskey Island, and it has the very first Cropicana restaurant. Columbus has the Ohio State University Buckeyes football team. Our city has the Cleveland Browns. As Forrest Gump said, “That’s all I have to say about that.” Plain Dealer staff fileCleveland has the ever-popular Tremont neighborhood (top photo, at South Side restaurant), while Columbus has German Village (below).Downtown Columbus has the Ohio, Palace and the Southern theaters. Downtown Cleveland has the Palace, Ohio and the State theaters. We’re both sweet cities. Legend has it that the first banana split was created in Columbus. The first Life Savers candy was created in Cleveland. Columbus’ Topiary Park is the only topiary re-creation of a painting in the United States. The Free Stamp sculpture is the only replicated, giant piece of office equipment next to the city hall in the downtown of a major American city. The American Whistle Co. in Columbus is the only manufacturer of metal whistles in the United States. A harmonica is kind of like a whistle. In 2007, the Cleveland Metroparks broke the record for the world’s largest harmonica play-along. As Popeye used to say, “Well, blow me down.” Actress Beverly D’Angelo is from Columbus. Halle Berry is from Cleveland. Columbus has German Village, just south of downtown, that features many fine restaurants and specialty retailers. Ditto with Cleveland and its Tremont neighborhood. Columbus has award-winning chef Hartmut Handke. Cleveland has Michael Symon. I’m sure they are equally talented. But, going out on a limb here, I’m guessing Symon has a weirder laugh. Columbus is centrally located. Cleveland is Great Lakely located. Columbus has an annual population growth rate of almost 1.3 percent. In Cleveland, we have lots of legroom, and we aren’t all packed on top of one another. You can swing a dead cat anywhere you want in Cleveland without hitting anything. Columbus has the Greater Columbus Convention Center. Get back to us in 2012 or 2013 on that one. Columbus has four distinct seasons. This year, Cleveland has four seasons that stink. Golfer Jack Nicklaus is from Columbus. Cleveland has Tom Weiskopf. Columbus has the A.D. Farrow Co. Harley-Davidson Museum. We have the Cleveland Museum of Art. Columbus has former OSU coach Jim Tressel. Cleveland has former Cuyahoga County Auditor Frank Russo. Columbus covers more than 210 square miles. The Cleveland Metroparks cover 53,000 acres. Columbus is a college town. Cleveland is a hospital town. Go to Columbus for knowledge and to Cleveland for healing. In fact, I have Cleveland’s new motto — “Cleveland: the city with the healing feeling.” I’m just throwing that out there.

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