Walking home from church
When Ninth Street was built, it was designed as a boulevard to provide
an impressive entrance to the Publishing House, but it extended only
from Chestnut to College; the hill was much too steep for a horse to
climb, so steps connected the end of Ninth Street to the main drag
When automobiles became common, a humble street about the same width
as one of the lanes of the boulevard was built beside the steps.
This makes a somewhat interesting intersection, but I'd slept late and
had to do my before-the-service chores after the service, then I took
an extra down on one staircase, an extra up on its mate, and both two
downs and two ups on each of the two staircases to the balcony.
Not to mention that I went to the church library and read a while
before starting. That was so everybody would clear out and I wouldn't
bother anybody with my exercises -- that's my story and I'm sticking
to it. Luckily, the librarian broke my focus when she started
So when I came out, I pretty much had the village to myself. There
isn't anywhere in town to go except home for Sunday dinner, and it was
too early for those who had gone elsewhere to start coming back. I
strolled across the diagonal, thinking that yesterday had been dry, so
it might be possible to use the steps.
But the steps were definitely unsafe for old ladies. Nobody has been
responsible for cleaning the ninth-street steps since Grace quit
holding music classes in Rhody.
So I crossed to the left side of the street. When I was about halfway
down, two boys on mountain bikes turned off Park onto Ninth. There
was still no other traffic, so they kept formation as they rode around
me. I walked a little farther, then turned to watch them grunt up the
last few feet before the climb eased off at Sunday Lane, repressing
the urge to call out "twenty years ago, I could do that on a road
bike!". (Said bike had gears designed for climbing New Salem Hill up
the Eastern Cliffs of the Helderbergs. I still needed granny on
A few steps after I entered the parking lot at Rhody, I heard a
clatter and turned to see the boys bounding down the steps.
Ah, youth! They have been told not to ride sleds down Ma Sunday's
steps, but nobody has mentioned mountain bikes on ninth street.
They should have gone down separately, the second not starting until
the first was clear.
I wonder whether they grunted up Ninth again, went around to the
easier route through the condonminium parking lot (I *think* they
turned in that direction), or were through playing.
When I mentioned the incident to Dave, he said "I used to do that."
On the very same steps.
A long time ago, while staying in a motel with a steep bank between it
and the adjacent store, I saw some boys riding down the bank, turning,
and going up to take another lap. After watching for a while, I
realized that the trip *up* was the fun part.
joy beeson at comcast dot net
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