Back in the olden days, our family lived in a city along a river in the Southwestern corner of Pennsylvania. Just about everybody we knew worked in the steel mills, foundries, coal mines or some related occupation. For a while we lived in house on a hill along a Red Dog road. No sidewalks, no curbs…just a Red Dog road.
Now I live in an upscale neighborhood in a town in the richest county in Virginia. Utilities are all buried, the roads are paved and well maintained as are the sidewalks. Yes, sidewalks!
It has always been my impression that sidewalks are indeed called sidewalks because one walks on them. But it appears that more than a few residents here either haven’t figured that out yet or perhaps have some a long standing aversion to “walking” on sidewalks. On any given day, one sees as many people walking in the road rather than on a perfectly good sidewalk. Maybe it’s just that they are concerned taxpayers and want to minimize wear and tear on the sidewalk. Or they have a fear of falling if they get too close to the curb and lose their balance.
Or maybe they too spent their early years in a house on the side of a Red Dog road and perhaps haven’t learned that “You Can’t Go Home Again.” (Thomas Wolfe).