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The observer, July 16 

A public service announcement.

Billie Ann Myers, chair of the Pulaski County Bridge Public Facilities Board, would like to get a message out to bicyclers and others who are entering the Junction Bridge from the North Little Rock side.

Do not hold the elevator door open for all comers and their bikes.

Myers is not asking cyclists to be rude. She is asking that they let the elevator door close when it wants to. Because when it doesn't, the elevator will “time out,” shut down and someone from the county or the elevator company will have to come to the bridge and reset the machine.

Just last week, the county had to twice send someone of get the elevator going, Myers said.

Another caveat: She asks that no more than five people or three bikes get on the elevator at one time. And if the elevator isn't working, she asks that folks call the county or push the button on the elevator that says it's out of commission and needs work. It will get fixed faster that way.

 

Junior stayed up long past his bedtime over the weekend, and ended up crashing in The Observer's bed while watching a video. When Spouse and I came in to go to Sleepytown, we were confronted with the sight of our darling child, one sock on, one sock off, sprawled across our bed like he had fallen there from a great height.

Back when he was but a lad, The Observer would have simply scooped him up and carried him to his own bed. He has taken a growth spurt of late, however — only nine and a half, and already as tall as his mom — and trying that scoop-and-tote maneuver we could have handily pulled off only a few years ago would likely result in several slipped discs these days.

Rather than wake him up and guide him, zombielike, through the house to his own bunk, Spouse agreed to sleep in his narrow bed, which has always been murder on The Observer's back. After nudging Junior over a bit, we crawled underneath the covers, turned out the lamp, and prepared for some shuteye.

Sleeping with Junior when he was younger was a treat, all love and cuddles and warmth. These days the best way we can describe it is this: imagine spending the whole night fighting off a persistent and especially bloodthirsty mugger. He kicked. He flopped. He used his butt to bulldoze us onto the barest parcel of mattress real estate, and then dropped elbows into our chin, ear and chest all night, when we least expected it. Awake, he is the sweetest boy you'll ever meet. Asleep, he becomes possessed by the ghost of Sonny Liston.

Finally, The Observer ceded his meager territory and went to find slumber on the couch. You can't go home again, friends. And you can't sleep there, either. 

 

The Observer's aunt recently got a pool so of course we had to go check it out. It pains us to say that we haven't been swimming in years.

Back in The Observer's youth, we used to go swimming at a place on the Saline River called The Round Hole. The Round Hole is a geologic marvel: a place where the river makes an amazing, 90-degree left turn. This creates a giant, swirling eddy, and over the eons, this flow has drilled down through the silt and mud to bedrock, leaving a deep pool as round as a crater, overhung by trees. One August afternoon, we remember, a friend of ours — Ryan C. — was trying to impress a bikini-clad girl lounging on the gravel bank. Given that, he did the only rational thing a 16-year-old male could do, which was to climb one of the towering cottonwoods beside The Round Hole, barefoot and shirtless, vowing to jump. Four or five hundred feet up, on the cusp of high school immortality, Ryan put his hand on a rotten branch and down, down, down he came, shrieking like a teakettle.

We don't know nuttin' bout no physics, but we can tell you that there are some powerful forces at play when you hit the water hard enough to split the seat of your swimming trunks. Another friend of ours ended up having to swim out and get him, then tow his moaning carcass back to the bank by one hand, all the while laughing so hard The Observer thought he might drown them both. Needless to say, the girl was not impressed.

This is the moment a much older Observer thought of as he made slow and deliberate laps of our Auntie's pool.

 

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