FLESHMAN: Slippery sidewalks, and an act of kindness
I prefer being the nice person my Mother taught me to be, following in her footsteps, but once in awhile Daphne takes over and spoils my image.
She did that in late December when we were downtown, parking the car beside that now vacant Mount Emily Ale House building at 1202 Adams Ave., but on the east Depot Street side.
We never gave it a thought that we couldn’t make it up the downtown business core sidewalk in spite of spots of ice, so were we ever surprised when we found ourselves floundering on the ice with no toe-holds, a virtual solid river of ice from building to street.
Once aware of our predicament, Daphne cried out, “Why hasn’t the city cleared away this ice so a citizen can walk safely on it?”
Reaching out for a small tree growing there and then edging along the parked cars, I tried to keep my footing and didn’t answer because I wasn’t sure.
My desperate thought was to reach a bare spot so that I could get over onto the street and be able to walk around the ice-covered alleyway and onto the bare sidewalk in front of Betty’s Sub Shop 21 at 411 Depot St. and safety.
A streetlight post stood where I needed it to give me a moment of balance by touching it with only a few more feet to go when strong arms from behind me took over and gave me the feeling of security I was needing, propelling me gently across the ice to dry land. In trying to help myself, I failed to really see or find out who was helping me other than looking into the most beautiful face of concern beside me.
Daphne had disappeared and I didn’t know where she was until I got inside the eatery and found her there.
I was brimming in thankfulness and appreciation for the Random Acts of Kindness that had been mine by the stranger just outside and another who opened the door for me, but Daphne was already ranting to anyone who would listen about whose responsibility it was to have made that part of the block safe for its citizens.
My counterpart’s attitude embarrassed me and I tried to come up with the idea that there had been a day off for the city crew, that they had worked hard just trying to clear away the snow all over town in spite of snow berms in front of the driveways, and maybe no City people had walked that way so didn’t know about its danger.
After all, they couldn’t have known the temperature at that moment made the ice especially slippery or that we shouldn’t have gone on the sidewalk and used the street behind the car instead.
No, Daph was saying that if the owners of the building along that portion of the sidewalk hadn’t seen to their responsibility, then the City should have taken over and done the job, then dealt with the owner if need be.
I was just grateful that I hadn’t fallen, for when you are 87 years old and fall, you don’t want to get a broken hip or hit your head because of it.
I remembered seeing a woman much younger than I, earlier in the winter season, take a terrible fall after leaving the curb to cross the street in front of the old Elks building on Washington. All I could do from my viewpoint was to hope she wasn’t badly injured even though I knew she was shaken as she managed to get up by herself.
Winter is winter and I’ve seen a lot of them, preferring not to be a “snowbird” and head south, so a lot of the responsibility in getting around outside is my own.
But I have to agree with Daphne that the sidewalk on which I found myself downtown next to the main avenue of town was a disgrace to our town and a jeopardy to anyone trying to use it.
Even a few grains of something to help it melt would have cut the slipperiness, or how about a couple of those yellow barricades as Daphne suggested to me?
How did I get back to my car? you ask.
I used the dry city-plowed street, going around the parked cars, more willing to dodge traffic than skate on the uneven sea of ice.
But, Daphne is still asking me who was responsible to remove the ice on the downtown city sidewalk used by the public...and didn’t.
The ice had been cleared away by the following week.
Thanks to the one who did it.