May 28, 2010

The fountain (cont.)

So there we were, minding our own business Wednesday afternoon, sitting on one of the benches around the Laurel Clark Fountain. It was a sunny day -- 82 degrees, said the bank sign I encountered later on Durand  -- and every so often a family would wander by.

The kids would run up to the fountain, dipping a sneakered or barefoot toe into the water's edge while Mom or Dad, or both, would walk over to the Keep Out of Fountain signs. By then, the smiling kids would have run to the one of the spouting geysers, sticking their hands in it to divert the flow.

And then mother, or dad, would say something quietly to the kids, the smiles would disappear and everyone would slowly, and sadly, walk away. Nobody lingers at the fountain any more.

On Wednesday, the only kids making full use of the fountain were two older boys, who ran through it on their bicycles a couple of times. I felt it was my civic duty to warn them about the police van sitting a couple of hundred feet away in the boat ramp parking lot, with a good view of what was going on.

"There's a $75 fine if the cops catch you doing that," I said.

"They have to catch us first," one of the youths said, as he took a final run-through on his bike, attempting a handstand through the water jets.

And then they were gone.

The police van drove by exactly four minutes later, catching only a little girl standing wistfully outside the fountain's edge, barely dampening the sole of her flip-flops.