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03/11/94 MELBA VAUGHN v. CITY WEST FRANKFORT

March 11, 1994

MELBA VAUGHN, PLAINTIFF-APPELLANT,
v.
CITY OF WEST FRANKFORT, DEFENDANT-APPELLEE.



Appeal from the Circuit Court, of Franklin County. No. 92-L-30. Honorable Loren P. Lewis, Judge Presiding.

Petition for Leave to Appeal Allowed June 2, 1994.

Chapman, Maag, Welch

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Chapman

JUSTICE CHAPMAN delivered the opinion of the court:

"The tree the tempest with a crash of wood

Throws down in front of us is not to bar

Our passage to our journey's end for good,

But just to ask us who we think we are

Insisting always on our own way so.

She likes to halt us in our runner tracks,

And make us get down in a foot of snow

Debating what to do without an ax.

And yet she knows obstruction is in vain:

We will not be put off the final goal

We have it hidden in us to attain,

Not though we have to seize earth by the pole

And, tired of aimless circling in one place,

Steer straight off after something into space."

(R. Frost, On a Tree Fallen Across the Road (To Hear Us Talk), in The Complete Poems of Robert Frost 296 (1967).

"The woods looked ragged too, they have timbered out all the big trees, and it's not much along there now but scrub pines. The big tulip poplars are all gone. So I was glad when we left the bottom, and started up Sugar Fork. The trace had gotten so overgrown that we had to keep stopping to move logs and branches that had fallen across it * * *.

We had to walk through briars and branches to the house, our feet slipping on the wet stones. And then for a minute I got real scared * * * but then when I stopped to try to breathe, I looked down and seen something I had not seen since we left there, those little yellow beauties and blue-eyed grass that come first every year on the mountains, don't you remember too? " (L. Smith, Fair and Tender Ladies at 185-86 (1988).)

The travelers in Robert Frost's poem are conceptually able to leap from their tree-blocked sleigh toward their undefined galactical goals. The indomitable Ivy of Lee Smith's novel will always triumph over whatever trees are placed in her path to return to her home on the Sugar Fork of Home Creek. Melba Vaughn's more pedestrian attempt to cross the street to reach the paved sidewalk on the other side was as successful, but all travelers share the human characteristic of a determination to reach a goal undaunted by obstructions.

One hundred years ago the supreme court noted that pedestrians cross roadways at points not ...


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