City sidewalks

When I was a child, my mother would go ballistic if people didn’t shovel their walks (in winter) or if they parked their cars across the sidewalk (in summer). And one of my favoriate Christmas songs (secular) was “City Sidewalks”–or is is “Silver Bells”? That song absolutely captured the scene of the Strauss-Hirshberg Department Store’s north side, on Phelps Street. In all those ways, we’ve reached that time of year again.

The snow started around mid-day today, falling on top of Sunday’s snow, Monday’s rain, and Tuesday’s slush. This is when you separate the true shovelers from the pikers. One of the odd things about my way home from work is that I don’t actually hit sidewalk until about 15 minutes into the trip, when I leave the Halifax side ferry terminal and step into–slush? ice? snow? cleared bricks? Today it was firmer and whiter than slush, but by the time I reached the corner of Lower Water Street and Duke, it was what, in childhood, I thought of as “cake mix” (and I had one of my first existential moments of horror, at about age 6, when I confronted the thought that such dirty and turbulent snow predated boxed cake mix, and to call the former by the latter was somehow anachronistic, although, unlike the word “existentialism,” I hadn’t yet met the word “anachronsim”).


Today the going was very slippy and slidey as I climbed the hill to Barrington Street, and there were some blocks, as I walksed south, that seemed just this side of precipitous. I began to take stock of who shovelled and who hadn’t:

A fellow was going at the sidewalk with veritable hammer and tongs, in front of the maritimes storefront with the ship models, and he didn’t even notice when I said “excuse me” intrying to get past him and the flying snow;
the Mac Store had shoveled;
so had the Spin and Tumble laundymat;
the Olympic Confectionary (which looks like a Christmas card in the snow) hadn’t;
the Resolutes Club had (finally–Monday their walk was treacherous)

And the snow has stopped anyway, so from here it’s either going to be frozen cake mix or wash away.


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