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Infants Playing in the Street

Nubbin Ridge is an old farm road turned into a two lane speedway. I recently had the pleasure of being told stories by a man who grew up in the area of baling hay on the Stooksbury farm which owned much of the land near Wallace Road (forgive me if I got the family name wrong). He spoke of the rolling land and forests that are long gone. Sprawl and shortsighted urban planning has turned Nubbin Ridge into a shortcut for locals avoiding congestion on Northshore Drive and Westland Drive. Nubbin Ridge still has those fun dips that if you want to gamble that there’s no cars or animals on the other side, and you hit the hill fast enough, it tickles your stomach like a roller coaster. Here’s the rub. It’s not a farm anymore. Most of the land has been partialed out and turned to residential neighborhoods. Children walk these roads, and ride their bikes because our urban planners have failed to connect the neighborhoods with sidewalks or greenway trails.

Today I crested a hill and my heart fell into my stomach. 50 yards ahead of me I saw a dog on the double yellow line. But no! It was not a dog; the living creature was an infant, a tiny infant who looked like she’d just learned to waddle on two legs. She moved from the double yellow, dead center of the road, to smack dab in the middle of the left lane and stood still. She was not in my lane but in the lane of oncoming traffic just this side of one of those tickle hills. In the distance I saw a car approaching. I stopped the van, turned on the flashers, and walked to the child trying not to scare her. I put my arms out, she opened her arms, and jumped into mine. As I carried her toward her home, the oncoming car zingged past my van without slowing down. A car in my lane approached and without hesitating to wonder why my van blocked its lane, zipped around my stationary vehicle. After handing the child to its mother I started back to my car. Two more vehicles rapidly approached showing no sign of slowing so I just put up my hand and stepped into the road forcing them to stop (and hopefully but doubtfully think), got in the van, and made a mental note to drive much slower on Nubbin Ridge from now on.