LETTERS FROM THE ISLAND: Walking a thin line across Grand Island

Doug and Polly Smith

Alert, Mainland Worshippers — Once word leaked out over here that Nik Wallenda plans to execute his next wire-walking spectacular on Grand Island, merchants, residents and commuters got up on their high horses about its potential impact on their businesses and travel needs. A formal announcement is expected this coming Wednesday.

Particularly on edge were South Islanders, as their honored span stands as the highest point in the area, making it the likeliest jumping-off spot for a trek above the raging Niagara River, perhaps to the landmark WBEN broadcast tower near Fix Road.

Reliable reports have Wallenda choosing Grand Island after considering, then dismissing, a lengthwise stroll above the Niagara between the Peace Bridge and the International Railway Bridge. Wallenda shelved that idea, declaring he’d tiptoe around any association with any land mass known as “Squaw Island.”

“I tell you with authority,” said Hi Walker, spokesman for the daredevil, “that Mr. Wallenda is very sensitive to the needs and feelings of this great land’s first citizens. He’d rather slide into eternity on a rusty razor than in any way perpetuate racial and ethnic stereotypes. Besides that, they give us a terrific deal on gas purchases.”

Likeliest plan has Wallenda high-wiring all of Grand Island from bridge to bridge. Ty Trope, head of the logistics team, noted that while it might not be the highest walk of Wallenda’s career, it would surely be the longest, and he pledged that the daredevil would dutifully wait his turn for oncoming traffic at the roundabout.

For a while, it seemed that Wallenda would decline this routing, as well. His location scouts detected a high level of airborne caffeine and exhaust fumes in that area. Negotiations are under way to get Tim Horton’s to switch to decaf to keep Wallenda on his “high.”

One common speculation has Wallenda putting his foot down as an entrant in the Fourth of July Parade, which would seem to suggest a northbound trek. He shrugged off suggestions that more people would be watching the politicians than him. “I’m going after a higher office,” he said.

Of course, Grand Island Boulevard could be closed for a considerable length of time while Wallenda and his crew install and run safety checks on his equipment. As a courtesy, Wallenda himself would make airborne deliveries on behalf of Island Ship Center, balancing the packages on his pole.

Lovely as a Wallenda wirewalk would be in promoting Grand Island, many complications remain. One can be identified by checking this Wednesday’s date, and another by carefully writing down the first letter of each paragraph in this dispatch.

So come visit. Watch your step.


Fire back to Rocket Man via pollyndoug@hotmail.com

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