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Woodworking: I'm dreaming of a repaired sidewalk, just like the one I used to know

About a decade ago, soon after I began writing this column, I opined that the sidewalk in front of our house needed replacing.

A new acquaintance, Bill Smith, commiserated with me as did several other readers, one of whom wrote to the Journal, that it took him 10 years to persuade the city to replace his crumbling curb.

"Just have patience," he counseled.

Most agreed that I didn't have the chance of a snowball in hell to move the city to act.

Patience wasn't an option for me. So I bet Bill Smith a beer that I could write a yearly column about the state of our sidewalk until that same hell froze over.

I've done it now for at least 10 years, resulting in 10 free Leinie's Originals at Johnnie's and the same dadblamed sidewalk we want to have replaced.

All of my suggestions have gone unheeded.

One year, I suggested a bridge over our sidewalk that would begin at Jim Pratt's house to the east and end on Nancy Cicero's lawn on the west.

More recently, I suggested the city deed the sidewalk to the National Guard Armory to be used as an obstacle course.

No soap.

So it's come to the point that I'm taking a different tack.

In the spirit of Christmas, I'm giving up. This will be my last column about the old sidewalk. From now on I'll restrict my topics to more important arenas, like SPAM, or cement vs. asphalt driveways or the virtues of Serutan, which is "natures" spelled backwards.

I'm leaving the sidewalk to the good graces of the city fathers, throwing my problem at their merciful feet.

It all came to me the other night in a dream I had after we decorated our Christmas tree.

It was all about a fellow named Clement Moore, who sat down at a rolltop desk, took pen to paper and wrote this.

'Twas the night before Christmas, and along the old street

Not a frat boy was stirring, which was a very big treat.

The squirrels were nestled in nut trees o'erhead

While my better half was getting us ready for bed.

Then over our old house there arose such a clatter

I turned off "The Sopranos" to see what was the matter.

When what to my wondering eyes should appear

But an old city dump truck, pulled by men--not eight deer?

At the wheel of the truck sat hizzoner, the mayor.

His whip cracked with gusto, he was skilled as a flayer.

"On Caflisch, on Nordgren, on Lucero (Buddy),

"On Cronk, Rees and Morrissette, on Kusilek and Wronski,

"On Manager Simpson, let's get on the ballski!

We've got work to do at the Residence Wood.

Its sidewalk's a shambles, so let's make it good."

And from deep in his gift sack, he pulled out a trowel,

Ten tons of cement and a masonry shovel,

Ten bags of fine sand and an ominous level.

He surveyed the sidewalk and said, "It looks like the devil."

He jumped from the dump truck, with pickaxe in hand,

Hacked up the old sidewalk with a flair that was grand,

Lucero and Wronski replaced rubble with sand.

Caflisch? The mixer he personally manned,

While the other six aldermen poured mud on the land.

The project was finished; the job it was done.

Hizzoner said, "Jiminy, we've gotta run."

So laying his finger on top of his head

He bade his eight minions to get out the lead.

They huffed and they puffed, the truck started moving.

Hizzoner, well-pleased, said, "This neighborhood's improving."

And so there you have it.

Pay up, Smith.

Dave would like to hear from you. Phone him at 715-426-9550.