Things are looking ‘uptown’ over on Smith Ave.

By TIM BEELAND,

My wife, Danny, and I walked across the road to the neighbor’s house Sunday evening to help him unload some new bedroom furniture from the back of his pickup truck. Pretty heavy stuff I might add.
He had stopped by in the late afternoon to ask for a little help. I was out back grilling some chicken so Danny told him we’d be over when I was finished with that chore.
When the chicken was done, we headed out the front door, Danny grabbed her car keys, and down the steps we went. “Don’t you just want to walk over there,” I asked and walk we did. It wasn’t late, and wasn’t dark yet just that afternoon, long shadow, dusk time of day.  
A little while later we had the two large chests inside, down the hall, and into the bedroom and headed back toward the house with our pay, a head of cabbage, freshly plucked from the garden.
The porch lights at our house were not on, and although the living room and hall lights were shining brightly, the driveway and Pine Grove Road were as dark as the darkest night. Time has changed and the days are indeed shorter. That fact became clear as we navigated the dirt road and ditches making our way home.
All that said to get back on the track here at the office on Smith Avenue in Forest. It’s about this time of year, every year, that I have to replace the light bulbs under our canopy over the sidewalk out front. The lights are on a timer so we never really notice if they are burning or not until this time of year when it begins getting dark earlier.
To be honest,  they are always blown. I’m not sure why — cheap bulbs probably. I’m that way if you know what I mean.
Light bulbs are expensive and I’ve still not yet decided to ride on the wave of the future and lay out the dough to buy some of those new fangled, long lasting, low energy contraptions. I just don’t buy it. The concept, I mean, not the bulbs. I don’t buy the concept. I have to buy bulbs.
It is set in my head that if I dish out the dough and quadruple the amount of money I spend on light bulbs, they are still gonna blow out sooner or later. I’d rather blow up the cheap ones on a more regular basis. Perhaps I’ll come around, but I doubt it will be any time soon.
Surely light bulbs, like most other things, will come down in price once the new wears off. Right?
Anyway, back to Smith Ave. This year, I think, is going to be the year of the change when it comes to replacing light bulbs and it has nothing to do with me. For the past several weeks, city workers, and construction crews  have been outside our front door tearing up the sidewalk and pouring new concrete to spruce us up and smooth us down.
The big plus, in addition to the sidewalk, is going to be fancy new street lights like those over around the courthouse and on South Main Street. The posts are already standing and we’re just waiting on the fixtures to come in. There will be six new lights on Smith, perhaps even by Thanksgiving.
To be honest with you there were a few challenging times. The first day of construction we walked into an office filled with carbon monoxide from backhoe exhaust as the crews dug up the old walkway. Then there was the dust blasting in under the front door until we came to our senses and put an old quilt down to block it. Sometimes we are a little slow on the draw, I suppose.
The biggest drawback was probably that our customers couldn’t come in through the front door to pay their bills or buy a paper for a week, but I think everyone understood the cost of progress.
Now that it is pretty much done, we’ll offer our thanks to the mayor and board for including Smith Ave. in the downtown sidewalk and lighting projects. Once the grass is in and those lights are finished it is all going to look real nice.
Come to think about  it, I probably should rephrase the previous paragraph to “uptown sidewalk and lighting project” because we’re about to be “uptown” over on Smith.
Now if I could just get a couple of lights on Pine Grove Road. Or, at least some new batteries for my flashlight!

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