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THIN ICE

Shorewood

Today is Sunday, and the name’s deceiving, should be called ice day, or ice stay. The temperature’s in the mid-30’s, and that, too, is deceiving, unless you like puddles with hidden layers of ice. They’ll turn solid tomorrow. Weird weather, unexpected swings of Mother Earth’s moods. It’s all part of global warming, so we’d better get accustomed to this bipolar world.

The Fitness Center was in my plans for today, but I was afraid to walk out the door, imagined myself lying unnoticed on the steps. By 2 PM I decided to risk it, sprinkled our last grains of sand on the path and sidewalk. We’re running out, and neither of us drive, a problem if we want to get more. After the gym I’d see if there’s salt at Walgreens, but is that environmentally sound?

I ventured forth, and made it, barely, to the corner of Maryland and Olive, safer to walk in the street. So I did, right down the middle of Olive. It wasn’t too bad at first, then got worse, all ice. Made it to Murray, and that street, too, was clearer than the sidewalks, I followed the visible pavement, moved near the curb and watched if I heard a car coming up behind me. When I was about to pass Wood, I heard a motor, turned around, police, the car slowed almost to a stop. Was he going to give me a ticket? Or did he think I needed help. Whew, he moved on.

The Fitness Center had already disappeared from my agenda. I’d better go directly to Walgreens, and then back home. I crossed Murray to talk to a friend walking her dog on Wood.

“Your block’s well-shoveled as usual,” I said.
“Yes,” she replied, “That policeman actually considered giving you a ticket for walking in the street, I saw his mind working, but they don’t give people tickets for not shoveling walks. If our block can do it, why can’t everyone?” I looked down the block at two young men in tee-shirts breaking up residual ice, didn’t think a 70-year-old woman could follow suit. “I called the village,” she continued, “And the manager told me if they give out tickets, he gets a lot of angry phone calls.” I was thinking if they give out tickets, they’d have to give some to themselves. Atwater School’s sidewalk on Maryland and the one on Oakland near the bus stop in front of Shorewood High, a route for lots of old people, are often two of the most dangerous walks in the village. “Well,” she added, “You caught me on a rampage. I have to walk my dog, and I don’t want to break an arm or leg.”

A few minutes later as I walked down Wood, so clear of snow and ice, I thought that if I lived on Wood and had to walk my dog, I’d simply stay on the block, walk back and forth between Murray and Oakland. Four round trips would add up to more than a mile.

The west side of Oakland was clear, walking easy, Walgreens didn’t seem far enough to substitute for the Fitness Center. I continued, noticed several bags of salt in Sendiks’ window, went in and tried to lift one, couldn’t budge it.

At Walgreens the salt was sold out. What else could I use? Kitty litter was probably an invitation to cats to litter. Ah, potting soil was on sale! Perfect. Maybe. And if any remains on my walk after this siege of snow and ice, I can sweep it into my garden.
 

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