Every town has its peculiarities. When I first moved to Juneau I was startled to find not only do Juneauites drive too fast, they also do not stop for pedestrians at cross-walks.

Walkers walk in the streets downtown, not on the sidewalks.

Therefore, the streets should be littered with the dead and dying. Actually, this does not happen.

After a year or so, I found why the use of streets rather than sidewalks. In the winter, the city is marvelous about snow-plowing. I live on a very steep and short street downtown with about nine houses on it, and marvel at the city plows that come down the hill, also strewing gravel, beginning at 6:00 a.m. or even earlier.

Cross-walks are still not safe for pedestrians.

Two days ago, my friend Maurice told me a nice story. Maurice is an older guy, but still massive, with curly gray hair and a great laugh. He told me years ago about why he left one of the tiny coastal towns here in the winter. All the guys like to sit around telling stories. After awhile, he reported, all the stories are so well known that when a man has to stop talking to go to the bathroom, others finish his story for him.

This has to do with the cross-walks. A few years ago a woman friend told Maurice that a car stopped in the middle of the cross-walk. She waited a bit, but the car didn't move. So she walked over to the car, opened the back door, and came out the other side. Maurice laughed, "the driver had to get some help, because she left both doors open."

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