In Austin, Texas, you’ll see t-shirts and bumper stickers that exhort: “Keep Austin weird.” Columbus doesn’t have any pretense about being especially weird, but this bumper sticker that I saw above the beer taps for local craft brews at a local bar had a different goal — keeping Columbus a secret.
If Columbus was a secret, the secret is out. The city has been featured in positive articles in the New York Times and other publications, and last week a friend emailed me a website link that ranked Columbus number two in a list of romantic winter destinations. (I’m really skeptical of that one, frankly.)
Even if Columbus is no longer a secret to be kept, I still was glad to see the bumper sticker and the sentiment it expressed. When my family moved to Columbus in 1971, it was derided, even by residents, as a “cowtown.” Those days are long gone. Now, people recognize what a great place Columbus is and are proud of our fair city, and they’re trying to keep the riff raff and Johnny come latelys out. It’s been quite a change in attitude — a change for the better.