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Looking out over the back yard I spy scrub oak intertwined with rampant grapevines, crushed under the wet and now frozen snow. I had gone to bed on Saturday evening with a rain/snow mix coming down and awoke to four or five inches of white stuff covering everything in sight. The scene was perfect. Nothing marred the purity of a white blanket laid upon us.
Tossing off the picturesque image, I shoveled the back deck and stairs. By then, I was beat, and retreated to have lunch and read the papers. After the Pats game was over, it was time to go check on a couple of houses I take care of. Walking out the back door I noted that another three or four inches of snow had fallen, necessitating a second round with my shovel. At least this layer was fluffy, unlike the initial coating that was wet and heavy.
Once I cleaned the ice off the car, it was a smooth ride along our dirt road. I’ve noticed that a snowfall makes rough roads smooth and smooth roads rough. That usually lasts a day or two, after which all of the roads are messy and bumpy. I don’t mind the bouncing, it’s black ice that I fear.
One problem the precipitation engendered was the downtown sidewalks. The main walkways were well cleaned, but side streets received too little attention. What was worse were the crosswalks. Where the snow was piled, the entrances/exits from crosswalks required a step up of a foot or two in some instances.
For agile folks that wasn’t a problem. Older people and those not possessing gymnastic prowess had a tougher go of it. This doesn’t take into account anyone using a cane, walker or a wheelchair. We have most of our curbs ramped for accessibility, yet they were inoperable then, and still are until a thaw takes place.
We are aware of the lack of funds our town is experiencing now. That means using less to get more. Perhaps some merchants in the core district might consider taking an extra fifteen minutes to shovel off a nearby crosswalk.
My favorite downtown Christmas “tree” for 2009 is the one in front of the Federal Street post office. Dressed to look like a P.O. drop box with a wisp of the tip of a tree adorning the top, it’s realistic enough that I’ve watched a couple of people try to deposit letters in it. At least the employees are good at constructing a well-done decoration for the holiday.
The nation’s economy is at a standstill. You would think homeowners might be conserving energy. I’m pleased to report that Christmas decorations on island homes and front lawns appear to be bigger and better than ever.
Year after year, Scott Bamber has been my choice for the Clark Griswold Award (Image here). This Christmas is no different. Every year more embellishments are added to his Friendship Lane yard. Soon it’s going to be time to expand to a larger lot!
Another fine display is found on Fairgrounds Road. The home of Lynda and Ray St. Peter is decked out to the max. Ray’s truck has a pretty fair amount of holiday paraphernalia to boot. Lynda and Ray received an early gift this season, and they deserve it.
If you want to make a tour of decorated yards, here’s my written map. Start by going out Fairgrounds Road, turning right upon reaching Surfside Road. Proceed to Hooper Farm Road and drive to the roundabout, turning around until you’re heading down Sparks Avenue. At the stop sign by the high school, go left and then make a right turn on Bartlett Road. About a quarter of a mile down Bartlett, make a right on Friendship Lane and don your sunglasses.
A couple of hundred yards down the road you’ll crest a slight hill. Prepare your senses for the assault in store. I’d tell you which way to turn your head, but that’s not required even for those wearing welder’s goggles. There are a couple other good displays in the neighborhood as well. They’re trying to keep up with the Griswold’s, er Bambers…
I’d like to wish all of you a Merry Christmas!
Goodman’s Gam appears weekly in this space and monthly in The Inquirer and Mirror.