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Hill Country Living

Game Of Frogger Played With Cars And People

By Coulter Fussell

I’ve been faraway overseas for a couple of weeks but that didn’t stop me from jumping for joy in my Denmark hotel room when I read Ben Allen jokingly inform the Facebook world that the lines and crosswalks were being painted on Main Street and that Water Valley’s ability to drive and park would soon return to us.         Ben knows it’s funny because Water Valley never had any ability to drive in the first place. Our incompetence behind the wheel is like an epidemic.
Honestly, the line-less Main Street was pretty fun. I liked not having parking spaces and a center line. I felt so free going to work, school, Sprint Mart, and Martin Street Package everyday. Like I could do donuts in the middle of Main Street if I knew how to do donuts. But it was the crosswalks that really made me happy.
Yes, we Main Streeters can now rest easy. You can’t blame us for caring. I like for people to live and not get hit by cars. I don’t want them to die, especially in really bloody ways. And I don’t want them to have to play Frogger every time they’re trying to come into my store ( or, let’s be honest, the stores around mine). And for three years I have watched this happen, over and over and over again. All day, everyday.
I see kids having to get violently arm-jerked backed to a parent’s side on a daily basis. I wonder if Water Valley has a disproportionate number of pediatric shoulder dislocations because some rude maniac won’t stop and let a mom – holding a baby, groceries and walking beside her four year old  – cross the street.
I watch group after group of lunchers trying to cross over into the B.T.C. Some in the group will take the risk and make it across at something anywhere between a trot and a dead run while others that are more cautious linger behind, waiting for the next 45 cars to pass before one kindly stops to let them go eat lunch with the rest of their group.
I’m one of those, a Cautious Crosser. I’ll wait until someone has completely stopped for me and waved me over twice before I take a step out onto that road. I’ve had to save my children’s little lives from a steamrolling death too many times to be more brave than that. But I admire the risk takers and I always take a deep breath and say a little internal prayer when I’m crossing Main Street with Mickey Howley, whose preferred crossing method is to simply walk out into the street, casually and without looking. “Just go,” he’ll say, “Nuthin’ you can do. Dey gonna stop…when ya hit da hood.”
Now, I know the crosswalks will take some getting used too. We’ll have to learn to stop for people who are on them and, just as importantly, the people who should be on them will have to learn to actually be on them. And, even then, it’s not a sure thing. Oxford has tons of crosswalks and we all know that we risk our lives with death by Hot-Girl-On-Cell-Phone-In-Daddy’s-Convertible-Beamer every time we try to visit Ajax.
But the point is that Water Valley is growing and I’m glad we’re making life easier for the people who are really responsible for the growth; the customers who come to Main Street every day, park their cars, get out and walk through the doors of our stores. The least we can do is to make that walk easier for them, even if they can’t drive.

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