Nice now…’butt’

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, August 9, 2005

You are walking down the downtown city Main Street sidewalk with your bride of years on your arm…a balmy evening, headed for your favorite restaurant. It’s nice, and you are grateful so many tax dollars were spent to create such a fine ambiance.

You remember how it used to be, back when you held your father’s hand and looked up at him, proud to be with him as he headed for the general store for a new pair of shoes for you. Your whole universe was those few blocks between your home and that busy street filled with stores and people carrying bundles, your dad tipping his hat to the ladies in finery.

Then over the years that wonderful street fell into disrepair, paint chipped off the buildings, there became fewer and fewer people as they moved away. One by one those once busy stores closed. There were some merchants who doggedly hung on, selling what they could to a thinning clientele, hoping times would change again and the &uot;downtown&uot; regain its prominence.

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But fate was not kind and stores sprang up in other parts of the 430 square miles, and huge box stores came on the horizon filled with every conceivable article man could use. Giant parking lots covered what used to be green fields and trees. The word &uot;suburbs&uot; was coined and soon the entire countryside filled with new streets and houses, away from downtown. The old homestead on quiet streets became spiritless, a place of sadness. Your father would have been melancholy were he still here on earth.

You think about this as you walk by the new courthouse, new facades on refurbished stores, more things to buy, even a farmers market. The old Prentiss House restored, and the Railroad Station, the old high school a cultural center, it’s fast becoming like the old days, people on the sidewalks, exchanging pleasantries; you think about this wonderful renaissance as you walk with your bride, how nice those times have returned.

But just in front of you are these kids three abreast taking up about half the sidewalk, and all three have their butts peeking above their pants. These idiots call it &uot;cool.&uot; The pants they are wearing were designed to give them this noble look. Designers created them because marketing strategies indicated there were enough nuts loose on every city street in America to make it a profitable proposition.

These kids knew not they looked like the fools they are…content with their ignorance. This is their way of showing they owned the streets and knew you could do nothing about it. Oh yes, you wanted to but you lacked the nerve to take any action…knew better than to even say a word. You accept this condition because you allowed it to come to pass.

It’s amazing what you are capable of thinking; your brain whirls as you imagine your foot planted squarely on a behind, sending it flying through the air, sprawling on its face on rough hard concrete. A cop standing near his motorcycle senses your thought, identical with his, and rolls his eyes, knowing he can do nothing even though both you and your bride are offended.

Nor can he deal effectively with the panhandlers, the homeless man on the nearby bench covered up with yesterday’s newspaper. Oh, and that beggar who maintained he only wanted enough for a sandwich and a cup of coffee. This is the new, liberal world. Get used to it, you allowed it to happen…vulgar is in and cool. Yes, even on this street lined with beautiful churches the devil holds sway. Man is either tolerant or weak?

Remember when Kings Fork was a quiet street between Godwin and 460? Look again. Just off Godwin we now have both a middle and a high school. Monstrous, state of the art, and parking lots the size of all downtown. Just a bit west is a large complex of baseball and soccer fields. On weekends it is packed with kids, parents, and cars, all having a good time.

There had once been talk about this becoming a four-lane &uot;highway&uot; shortening the distance between Godwin and 460…18-wheelers wouldn’t have to use 58 to make that connection. Now a new project has been approved and a 122-apartment complex will be constructed on the acreage owned by Mrs. Epps. We all know of this place where animals of all descriptions were housed and cared for by a family with big hearts. Now it will be affordable housing for those 62 and over…a great idea, in memory of Mr. Epps.

Down near the other end where the horse stables are, it is fast becoming a large tract of large homes surrounding the stables on three sides. Across the road is the Open Door Church, another very active place. So Kings Fork is busy enough, will not become the connector and surely big trucks will not be allowed to trespass this residential area.

Mr. Milteer wants growth down south of the city. People, he says, are moving in down there to escape the cities east of us, because they want peace and quiet. People living down there already have it…peace and quiet. So what does he think it will be like when 3,000 new homes go up and big moving vans come in with furniture, kids and dogs. Better rethink this, you folks down there. All you really need is a grocery store.

Robert Pocklington lives in Suffolk and is a regular News-Herald columnist. He can be reached at