It is not actually, Dodge. One of my friends once called it Dodge, and it sort of stuck in my mind. I'm sure other people call their hometowns, Dodge, as well. And even though the name of my hometown is Massillon, well, Dodge sounds cool.
I wasn't born in Massillon. But I grew up there. It's helped influence, good or bad, who I have become. Mostly I'm okay with that. But that are times when my drive to win, overshadow my sensibilities. And the desire to win was something that I picked up in my hometown.
I grew up around good people. We cared about each other. We were friends, neighbors, and family. Occasionally, we were busybodies; but it didn't seem to bother anyone, because we were friends, first and foremost. I love that town. That will never change. I don't know if I will ever go back and live there. Life and circumstances always seem to change my destiny. But even if I never get back, when I think of this place, I will always smile.
Because you see, safely tucked along that meandering stream we called the mighty "Tusky" is the goodness, safety and comfort that surrounded us, as we made our first steps into this world. And the parades, the Boy Scouts, the Tigers, the Booster Club, Junior Achievement, the Safety Patrol, the Poets, St. Paul's Lutheran, Shiloh Baptist, bingo at St. Mary's, Camp Buckeye, Camp Tuscazoar, the Massillon museum, the Public Library, the Evening Independent, customers on my paper route, and all the good people that surrounded me, are woven, in a very special way, into the fabric of my life.
So, if you are ever headed south on State Route 21 from Cleveland, or east on U.S. 30, and you see one of the exits for Massillon, take one, and spend a few hours visiting. Sure, it's changed. But you can still feel it and sense the ghosts of the past that have made this seemingly sleepy community, actually exciting and vibrant. You'll enjoy your visit. I know this for a fact. Because I grew up there, in Dodge.