“Who puts cheese on steak?” was the first question my mother asked me when we talked about my initial love of everything Philadelphia. Growing up on the West Coast not a lot of my friends or family really “got” the lure of Philly. They knew little snippets about this far off city but their factual knowledge was comical at best.
Mother saw this ridiculous and terribly backward place where people actually ruined a good New York Steak or T-bone with random slices of cheese. The Philly Cheese Steak was something she could never get beyond and would become the symbol of everything odd about Philly. Little did she know her vision of a steak with processed cheese on top of the white bread was so beyond reality that it would keep her from ever discovering the magic that is Philadelphia.
The Beginning of my love for Philly
I have grown to love my Philly, even if my mother will never understand. That is OK with me. She would probably never “get” some of the best parts of the city anyway. It’s more than fine with me to keep my Friday night spot a secret, the Philadelphia Museum of Art.
I have a blast catching live music or doing something cool like a silent disco around the art. We really don’t look silly dancing around with headphones on, since you know everyone is doing it. They call that the Lonely Hearts Club but its far too much fun for that. How can anyone be lonely through all the laughter?
I guess I also won’t mention my love and excitement for the opening of the Butterfly Pavilion. While I would love to pretend like I have a small child who lives for the bugs and pretty butterflies, that is just not the case. This place is cool! I have a fondness for butterflies. I can admit that.
One of my favorite things about Philly is the sense of tradition visible in almost everything we do. Even in times of uncertainty, I can look forward to the St. Patrick’s Day Parade. I can count on the love for my neighbors and my community. There are long standing traditions like this to show the world we can all still both honor tradition and have fun.
While some of our traditions are famous and surrounded by a sense of honor, others pay homage to the more quirky side of this great city via more infamous traditions like the Erin Express. This 30-year tradition is yet another way to enjoy the community feel of Philly and also have one heck of a good time!
I have learned to love and honor everything Philly has shared with me. The culture, diversity, and history are my little secrets each time I again try to explain the mystique behind the cheese steak to someone who may never really get it. I think I am just fine with sharing every adventure I can find in the city with 1.5 million of my closest friends in Philly. Can you keep a secret?
Editor’s note: This work was not written or edited by PhillyViews staff. It is an entry as part of our Write for Us contest to give independent writers a platform for their work.