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A Sign of the Times: Construction Ahead

August 2, 2017


Sign of the Times:


Construction Ahead and Ahead and Ahead


by Alice Jane-Marie Massa



For at least the past couple of decades, I have been a magnet for construction.  I do not care for this characteristic with which I have been charged.  The current construction–to the west, north, south, and sometimes east of my residence–disrupts or completely changes the planned walking routes of my Leader Dog Willow and me.  What makes these construction projects most perturbing is that a streetcar and its tracks are not at all on track with what is really needed in our community.  Would a theme park even want such an antiquated mode of transportation?  I do not live in a reconstructed historical village:  I live in a downtown area for its walkability, sidewalks, track-free streets with once-upon-a-time no cables overhead.


Numerous times, while Willow and I have been walking in the construction zone, strangers have commented with the refrain, “This streetcar construction must be really hard for you.”  Well, I could certainly live more peacefully, happily, and calmly without the repeated uprooting of our streets and sidewalks–without this entire project to take us back to the days of “Clang! Clang!  Clang went the trolley,” as Judy Garland sang.  Believe me, I am singing no tune about this streetcar construction project.


One positive point which I must PAWS to report is that my little Black Labrador Retriever does extremely good guide work despite the numerous types of challenges with which she is confronted on (at least) a Monday-through-Friday basis.  Her nature is to be cautious, careful, and polite.  My beautiful lab is a sound and steady dog who was selected for me at Leader Dog School (Rochester, Michigan) because of her abilities to do well midst the noises and challenges of city living.  When a gust of wind felled a construction sign right in front of us, Willow never even flinched; but my heart jumped.


Tomorrow the Wisconsin State Fair opens , and many ribbons will be awarded.  Well, if anyone is listening, I can fairly state that my Willow well deserves the blue ribbon for her guide work midst the construction for the “most unnecessary streetcar.”  I know she would proudly also accept “grand champion” and BEST-OF-SHOW purple ribbon.  My Leader Dog has probably worked around more construction in the past fourteen months (since she came into my life) than most guide dogs would in one entire working life.


If you see a British Lab receiving abundant praise from her handler and then notice that the Black Labrador is wiggling from nose to tail with delight, you will know that guide dog is my Willow.  She loves her praise, and I love giving her praise–with or without blue ribbons.


Happy August!

Alice and Leader Dog Willow


August 2, 2017, Wednesday



From → Uncategorized

  1. Dear Alice, your faithful guide certainly sounds like she has her hands, um, paws full. I can picture her butt wiggling back and forth as you bend down to lovingly thank her. It sounds like your situation won’t be remedied soon, but there’s always the hope of greener grasses. I admit that trolley cars do sound very romantic, but there’s a reason why they aren’t abundant across the lands. Thanks for another great post, and thank heavens for the loyalty and amazing abilities of Lady Willow. dp

    • Deon–Willow thanks you. The projected date for the completion of the construction is the end of 2018.

      Take care–Alice and Willow

  2. Sue McKendry permalink

    Alice–You describe this situation in such a unique way that it should be printed where more people could read it. As your writing buddy DP says so well, “there’s a reason they (trolley cars) aren’t abundant across the lands.” But as usual, your cheerful praise of Willow’s abilities and the connection to State Fair make the post timely, and it ends with a nice positive note–even if you aren’t singing the streetcars’ praise–Sue

    • Sue–When I read your comment, I had to smile because your fine analysis of my blog post sounded as if it were written by a teacher. Thanks for being a “forever teacher!”

      Take care–Alice and Willow(Give Red Rider a little pat from us.)

  3. mfanyo permalink

    Dear Alice,
    You also deserve a Blue Ribbon for your perseverance in facing the challenges of maneuvering the construction projects on your daily walks with Willow. As your sister, you know that I sing your praises, even though I am usually off-key! Take care and stay safe.
    Love to you and Wonderful Willow,

  4. Fran Rayce permalink

    Hi, Alice,

    How lucky you and Willow are to have been paired together. The folks in Rochester must have had a special sense of what you each needed. I am so happy that the beautiful Willow has been such a fine and faithful companion. Since it is county fair week here in Monroe, I am totally immersed in the ribbon idea and know that Willow is surely “Best of her Class!”

    • Fran–Willow thanks you, and we are so glad that you were able to meet the blue-ribbon Lab last summer.

      Enjoy the Monroe County Fair–Alice

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