We're porch people. The Mystery Woman and I are actually two-season porch people. We like to sit on the screened porch in the mornings, drinking coffee and reading the newspapers. In the evenings, we sit the the porch with our old friend, three buck Chuck.
Since both of us are writers, we write and read and talk out on the porch. That's largely what writers do. Read, observe, write, talk. And sometimes, think.
Well, sometimes we go bowling. Joke.
The porch is a window to the world. We live three doors away from an elementary school so we get to watch the little school children to and fro during school months. There's one kid, I'm guessing he's a fourth grader, who is late every morning. He runs with his hands in his pocket, like he is protecting a goldfish and some muffins. Or some such.
Throughout the day, we watch the neighborhood just walking around. Young mothers with kids in strollers. Easy going. You can almost hear Aaron Copeland laying down some clip-clop music.
Evenings, we watch the pet parade as the neighborhood walks the dog. Often, we walk Bella, the Dachshund who owns us. The dog is just a cover. She can't walk very far on her short little legs. So we have to bring her home early.
This tableau plays out on the sidewalk which is maybe only 30 feet from the front door. Sidewalk? Yes, ours is an old neighborhood stitched together with sidewalks. Porches, sidewalks, swings. We love 'em.
Imagine my surprise to read a front page story in the Sunday paper that some people think sidewalk is a four-letter word: U-G-L-Y.
Hold it. The first sidewalks in Minneapolis were wooden in the 1800s to keep your feet clear of mud and manure. Still handy today during political campaigns.
No matter, say the people who oppose sidewalks for taking away front yard space (ignoring that the city owns right of way). Further, they fuss about run-off. Cities who want to retro-fit neighborhoods with sidewalks are running into a cement mixer.
Minneapolis has approximately 2,000 miles of sidewalks for 1,000 miles of road. It's the suburbs that face the dilemma.
I can understand the geezer opposition. Older folks don't want to have to shovel the snow -- but teenagers can be bought for the job.
To us, the sidewalk makes it a family street. Safer. Lovelier.
After all, if sidewalks were good enough for Pompeii...