This morning, half the grand steps in front of the Carnegie Library were blocked off by yellow caution tape. Two men worked, bent over cement equipment. They both wore white t-shirts and deep tans. It wasn't even noon and the heat hung heavy on the shadeless steps.
A mother with young children stopped for a few moments to watch. The toddler, a boy, was especially interested in what was happening. The baby on her hip yawned.
"You do well in school and go to college so you won't end up doing what I do, okay?" said one of the men to the little boy. The man wiped his forehead and chuckled a bit, the kind of laugh that's meant to make serious statements light hearted. His voice was the sound of a thousand cigarettes.
"Hard work," said the mother. "Hard, hard work."