Stories from the corner of 37th and Nicollet

Moving through August

I walked the construction route early this morning and onto the new sidewalk (the date stamp of 8/16/2013 clearly visible)  between 39th and 38th (perhaps I was the first to cross the caution tape?).  There is a smooth layer of asphalt covering the entire project now, and just the pokey-periscope sewer covers and a few piles of rubble in the midst of the south end of the work zone make me think it's not really ready yet.  August will soon be done - and this morning it felt like this project too will end with these last days of summer.

It was a quiet walk at 6:15 am. A single construction worker in his truck, idling, waiting to tackle a Saturday task. It was that coolness of approaching fall that reminded me that it really has been nearly four months of road work in front of the shop and yes, this same orange-cone disruption is happening in many places this summer, was happening in many places last summer, and will be around again somewhere else next summer. Oh, the season of summer - work outside while you can - time is limited - keep moving!

The summer that I was maybe 7 or 8 the road in front of my house was replaced, sewers, curbs, everything.  I sat on my front steps watching big trucks move up and down the street, and when they left for the day, I took my set of construction trucks (the mighty Tonkas) and created my own roads and tunnels and bridges. 

When they were pouring the curbs and driveway aprons my dad stayed home from work and talked the crew into pushing a little extra concrete up our dirt driveway where my dad and I had worked the night before creating two tire-width forms that would create a sort-of parking area. 

The days that they poured the asphalt I could barely restrain myself, and despite all warnings got my shoes and hands into hot tar and found myself unable to get it off.  There was no hiding my crime and for the rest of the summer I had a pair of converse sneakers with sticky bottoms that I was not allowed to wear in the house.  (the following year the seal-coating gravel created a whole new adventure...)

I won't miss the road crew once they move on, but, you know, it's a job. It is an improvement. It is memory-making and memory-waking. I want to thank them all for what is mostly, a thankless job.