For more information on this title click on book cover at right of this blog. Thanks.
Today’s question is: Can a sewer cover be made to fall through the hole that it was designed to cover?
We were playing stickball up the old Howard Playstead when our sponge rubber ball got away from us. It rolled down the Birchwood Rd. hill or went over the Howard Corner wall and right into the sewer on Lawrence St.
Losing rubber balls of one type or another down a corner sewer was a common childhood experience in Lawrence and I imagine in any inner city. The balls were not all that expensive as I remember, but none of us ever had a dime between ten of us. Even if we all chipped in and came up with the required amount then we would have the problem of whom the ball actually belonged to once the game was concluded. But in truth the option of buying a new ball was rarely even considered.
We all gathered around the sewer and contemplated.
The ball was right there. We could see it bobbing up and down. Could we get it with a stick or maybe two sticks? What about a tree branch? How about a coat hanger with a loop in the bottom tied to the end of a stick? How about a stick with a Dixie Cup tacked to the end of it? This was a job for Plastic Man.
What if we lifted the sewer cover off the hole and then had the one of us with the longest arms reach down into the sewer and grab up our ball? Good idea.
The sewer cover was heavier than we thought. It took four of us gripping the sewer cover through the square holes to get it up and carry it off to the side. But then we realized that our sewer with no cover was right on the corner of busy Lawrence St. and Birchwood Rd. If a car was coming up Lawrence St. heading to Broadway and it wanted to turn on Birchwood, its front tire could go right into the hole. Oh man, it could get destroyed.
Some of us would have to direct traffic around the sewer hole while the rest of us rescued our ball.
Well … not so simple! Even Dolan who was all arms couldn’t reach it – even with one of us sitting on his calves while two of us each grabbed onto a foot and sneaker. There was only one way. We would have to dip Dolan down into the sewer, head first, while two of us held him by the legs.
Dolan opposed this idea. “What if you guys drop me?” he argued.
“Why would we drop you?” we countered.
“Because two of you ain’t strong enough.”
“Okay, what if we put two guys on each leg?”
“And what if you guys decide to drop me just for the fun of it?” Everybody laughed. “Yeah, see?”
“No we won’t let you go. We need the ball. It would be stupid for us to let you go.”
Dolan was not thoroughly convinced but he agreed. He laid down on the ground and scootched himself forward over the sewer hole as far as he could. Two of us on each side grabbed a leg and upsy-daizy went Dolan. We lowered him down into the sewer, head first.
It was a bit hairy there for a moment or two as proper positioning got a little cramped and guys started stumbling over one another’s feet. Then Dolan, feeling the stumbling, began screaming and cursing up at us. Unfortunately this started me laughing. As the laughing spread, Dolan began screaming louder and louder. But in-between the sputtering we got him down low enough into the sewer that he was able to latch a mitt onto our ball. There were several other balls down there and one of the guys suggested to Dolan that while he was down there why didn’t he toss the one he had in his hand up and out of the sewer and then start gathering up some of the others.
Dolan’s response to this suggestion was not nice – very, very gutterish. A kind of sewer talk, you might say. This caused a resumption in the sputtering amongst the holding crew. Dolan demanded to be fished back up immediately.
We began stumbling away from the sewer in a direction to Dolan’s advantage. When we finally dropped Dolan on the asphalt we all dropped to the ground laughing.
Okay, the operation was a success now all that was necessary was to get the cover back onto the sewer hole.
We took our positions around the sewer cover and dead-lifted the monster. We clumsily side-stepped, our way back to the sewer. We had four of us holding the sewer cover about 3 feet above the sewer hole. It was heavy and we were all straining. “Let’s just drop it,” someone suggested. “Then we can straighten it up.” It was agreed that on the count of three we would all let go of the sewer cover and jump backwards getting our toes out of the way. We didn’t want any smushed toes. “Okay … one … two … three … drop it!”
The drop went perfect and none of us got our toes smushed but to our total amazement the sewer cover dropped somewhat tilted and instead of landing a little off center, the damn thing went right through the hole and splashed down into the sewer.
For some reason our first reaction when any catastrophe struck, was to run. Somebody screamed “Oh shit!” and we all took off running. We didn’t get further than the next corner when someone yelled, “We can’t run away. What if a car goes into the sewer hole and then crashes and kills everybody?” We all spun around and ran back to the sewer hole. We positioned ourselves around the sewer and then sent Jack Greco, who lived nearby, to call the cops.
Calling the cops was not something that occurred to us on a regular basis. It fact, it almost never occurred to us. But on this occasion, it somehow came right to mind. When the cops got there we told them that when we arrived at the corner to play a little stickball we noticed to our horror and shock that the sewer had no cover. So, good citizens that we were, we immediately stationed ourselves around the sewer and had somebody call the cops.
The cops looked at us very suspiciously but called the city department nevertheless. The city department came out with warning sawhorses with reflectors and placed them around the sewer. Both the cops and the city workers complimented us on our community spirit. One of the cops kept smirking at us as we all gleamed and glowed and took our bows. It was like he knew but for some reason wasn’t going to rat on us. We all played it for all that it was worth. We were the little Howard Playground heroes.
But after the cops and everybody else left we all breathed a sigh of relief and slapped each other on the back. We agreed unanimously that removing the sewer cover was stupid. We tried to recall which one of us decided that we should all return to the scene of the crime and then have Grecs go back home and call the cops. Dolan said that it was his idea but that didn’t … float. We all quickly agreed that a good idea from Dolan would be without sufficient precedent.
It is rather amazing in retrospect to reflect on how stupid can turn into genius with the casual flip of a sewer cover.
Books by Richard Edward Noble. Click on covers below for more info and purchasing instructions.
Classic Tragic Novel
Don't Laugh - This Could Have Been Your Life
Funny stories and some strange characters.
Monkey Dishes and Cocktail Fawks
My Harrowing days in the restaurant business. Great Read.
It's a Long Story
Long Short Fiction - Great stories!
Bloggin' Be My Life
"Bloggin' be My Life" contains a selection of some of my more popular Hobo Philosopher blogs.If you enjoy reading this blog, you should love Bloggin' Be My Life.
It's All About Love
It's All About Love is ... all about love. This is the 2nd book of poetry from The Bard From Chelmsford off Arlington. Every poem in this book comes with a prose introduction. If you enjoy poetry this is a simple choice. Have fun!
A Little Something
Traditional poetry from The Bard From Chelmsford Off Arlington with some poignant prose introductions. If you enjoy any type of poetry, you will enjoy this volume. Thanks.
Talking To Myself
This is my third book of poetry.
Bits and Pieces
The Hobo Philosopher - My first book using the Hobo Philosopher brand. Featuring a variety of writing styles and ideas. Look for the Thoughtful Hobo on the cover.
A Baker's Dozen
The Hobo Philosopher: My Second book of Fiction, Creative Non-Fiction and Short Stories. All varieties of short stories - lots of laughs!
Cat Point - and Them Dang Oyster People
Cat Point is the sequel to "The Eastpointer." Both books contain humorous tales about life in a fishing community on the Florida Panhandle. Lots of laughs.
Won 1st Place award for humor in 2007 from Florida Press Association. More wit, wisdom and humor from the yet to be world famous author, R.E. Noble
A Summer with Charlie - Lawrence
Fiction - Salisbury Beach, Lawrence, Mass. Featured in Merrimack Valley Magazine July /Aug. issue 2010
Travel, Humor, Commentary on migrant farm work and illegal immigration still very pertinent today.
"Just Hangin' Out Ma"
Thank God for the Street Corners of Lawrence, Mass. Anecdotes and humorous escapades about growing up in an industrial mill town in the 40s,50s and 60s.
This is the sequel to "Just Hangin' Out, Ma"
That Old Gang of Mine
This is # 3 in my Lawrence Hometown series. The series is about growing up in the 40's, 50's and 60's in an industrial mill town. Sorta like a Huck Finn goes to vist Uncle Ralph, the bus driver, who lives in a big, rundown city. Lots of fun.
Come On-A My House
This is # 4 in my Lawrence Hometown series.The old homested at 32 Chelmsford ST is pictured on the cover..
Down By The Old Mill Stream
# 5 in the Lawrence My Hometown series.
Standing on the Corner is # 6 in the lawrence My Hometown series.
The old Howard Playstead on Lawrence St.
Eat, Drink and Be Merry
# 7 in the Lawrence my Hometown series.
Honor Thy Father and Thy Mother
Classic tragic novel written from child's perspective. Deals with abuse, poverty, unemployment. Pulls no punches.
Noble Notes on Famous Folks
Humorous, satirical notes on everybody from Constantine to Bill Clinton. Inspiration: Willy Cuppy.
America on Strike
History - documented survey of labor strikes in America
Mein Kampf - An Analysis of Book One
Who are the American Nazis - the Liberals or the Conservatives?
MY NAME IS RICHARD EDWARD NOBLE. I AM A FREELANCE WRITER AND I HAVE PUBLISHED 12 BOOKS:"THE EASTPOINTER" - SELECTIONS FROM AWARD WINNING NEWSPAPER COLUMN - "A LITTLE SOMETHING" - POETRY WITH PROSE -"HONOR THY FATHER AND THY MOTHER" - A NOVEL ABOUT GROWING UP IN THE NEW ENGLAND MILL TOWN OF LAWRENCE, MASS, "HOBO-ING AMERICA" - A WORKINGMAN'S TOUR OF THE U.S.A. - "A SUMMER WITH CHARLIE" - THE STORY OF A YOUNG SAILOR'S LAST DAYS AT SALISBURY BEACH, "NOBLE NOTES ON FAMOUS FOLKS" - HUMOROUS ANECDOTES ON FAMOUS FOLKS IN HISTORY,
"AMERICA ON STRIKE" HISTORY BOOK - A SURVEY OF LABOR STRIKES IN AMERICA; "A BAKER'S DOZEN" A BOOK OF HUMOROUS SHORT STORIES; "JUST HANGIN' OUT, MA" - GROWING UP IN THE 40'S, 50'S AND 60'S IN LAWRENCE, MY HOMETOWN, "TENEMENT DWELLERS" - SEQUEL TO JUST HANGIN OUT, MA; MEIN KAMPF - ANALYSIS OF BOOK ONE - HISTORY. CAT POINT - AND THEM DANG OYSTER PEOPLE - SEQUEL TO THE EASTPOINTER
All 12 BOOKS ARE AVAILABLE ON AMAZON.COM, BARNES AND NOBLE AND OTHER INTERNET SOURCES OR FROM NOBLE PUBLISHING. ALL 12 OF MY BOOKS ARE NOW ON KINDLE AT BARGAIN PRICES TOO. IF YOU WOULD LIKE MORE INFORMATION ABOUT DISCOUNTS AND SPECIAL OFFERS E-MAIL ME. MY EMAIL IS ON MY PROFILE PAGE.