Ode to the River Queen: The Gospel According to Jerry

Karen Cragnolin and Jerry Sternberg/Photo courtesy of Sternberg


She rode into town on her white steed.
And immediately found this silver serpent slithering slowly
through the valley, passing the city and sorely in need.
She saw the railroad parallel to this creature, bringing
generations of those whose industrial might
used her water for things that caused such a blight,
using steam and coal to create a living for thousands
who produced goods that were sold throughout the land,
destroying the serpent with toxins and sewage.

But the serpent fought back
with flooding and sand, leaving death and destruction in its track.
In time, the industry ran away, leaving small businesses that were necessary but unsightly,
those who would labor in auto wrecking, trash removal, recycling.
Heavy machinery did not take this lightly.

Her name was Karen.
This larger-than-life interloper demonstrated awesome dedication, determination and power
to heal the serpent, attracting a huge following of environment zealots to help the serpent they would scour.
A band of river rats whose livelihood was threatened swarmed out of the basin,
protesting the ruin they thought they were facing.
She sharpened her brand called RiverLink, finding treasure to buy the old mill,
which promptly burned to the ground. It was indeed a bitter pill.
Undaunted, she continued to buy buildings and land, including the speedway,
Which caused anger and spite. She was not one to give up the fight.

Eventually, the rats saw the wisdom of her dream as the vision came true, and the basin would grow.
They joined in the movement, consuming large plates of crow.
They named this place the district of RAD, with parks and greenways, new roads to be had.
Studded with breweries and bars and artists galore, land prices jumped as never before.
River sports abound, hotels and apartments are coming.
When you go to the river, you are no longer slumming.
As you travel through this nirvana of green,
give your thoughts and thanks to the River Queen.
Farewell, dear Karen.


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