The Putting America to Work Act has been putting people to work in our town, or so say the signs alongside the barriers on our street, where they’ve been fixing sidewalks for the past few weeks. This week they got to the sidewalk outside our house. One square of sidewalk had risen up (we think due to a tree root) so that you’d trip over a three-inch immovable block of concrete if you weren’t looking at the ground. At some point the city jerry-built a kind of ramp between the adjacent square and the raised edge, which was an improvement but still left a section of sidewalk uneven enough to be a trip hazard. I have no idea how this new crew handled it–not through cutting down the tree, since I’m happy to say it’s still there–but there is now a nice fresh, perfectly even sidewalk in that spot. If Barack Obama accomplished nothing else in these four years, we could still point to our sidewalk, on which the munchkin, exercising a new skill, has inscribed her name.

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