street scene

Posted by Ellen

Our friends and neighbors who live in University House Wallingford joined the nationwide anti-gun/anti-Trump protest Saturday, braving the cold and the traffic to make sure their voices were heard.

Most University House residents are in their eighties or nineties. At least one of the protesters is a centenarian. Some of them rarely leave home on foot, wary of the neighborhood's uneven sidewalks. But this was important. 

They held up handmade posters calling for gun control and school safety, taking up positions at a major intersection where Saturday shoppers would have to take notice.

Cars honked in their honor. Pedestrians thanked them. One storekeeper distributed gifts–well, gag gifts, since that was the store's specialty: little plastic fingers they could use for pointing at their signs.

Another neighbor, who'd ventured out to the grocery store for a gallon of milk, bought candy bars for all the protesters.

Time will tell how the politicians will respond. 

Posted by Ellen

 

With this picture and tomorrow's, Good Morning is turning the page on winter. The groundhog and the calendar and even the weather may say differently, but the groundhog and the calendar and even the weather do not control this here Good Morning thing, so . . . Goodbye, winter.

Last month, when the depth of the snow in Reading, Pennsylvania, could be measure in cubits or furlongs or some such, many people dug their cars out and then tried to reserve the parking spots they'd dug by setting chairs in them. This is probably an inherited cultural practice; if you are born into a family that believes in claiming parking spaces with chairs, then that's what you will grow up to do. It makes good sense to you, practical sense and also moral sense. You did the work of digging the spot clear; why should somebody else who didn't shovel a single flake get to take advantage of your hard work and park their car there?

But there are also people who believe that parking spaces on a public street are public and can't be claimed by any one person. No matter what the weather, it's first come, first served at the curbside. These people may be in the minority, but they also believe their approach is rational and morally superior--and often, as in this picture, they have the city government on their side. In Reading and many other places, the city came along and took all the chairs away. This practice has the effect of inspiring people, grudgingly, to shovel out additional parking spaces as needed.

In Portland, we don't have this kind of problem. The city bans parking the night after a big snowfall, and the plows quickly scrape almost all the streets clean, curb to curb. This solution would never work in places like Reading, where there may not be enough driveways to hold cars during a street parking ban and where there surely aren't enough plows to clear the streets promptly.

So next winter, a lot of people will feel strongly that they need to do that chair thing again. But meanwhile, I'm calling it spring. Goodbye, chairs.