Magazine January 24, 2011, Issue

Shovel Ready

A man uses a shovel to put dirt on hotspots near his home as firefighters work to contain the Shekell Fire near Moorpark, Calif., December 4, 2006. (Phil McCarten/Reuters)
John Derbyshire fills a hole

One of our township’s very few claims to fame, perhaps the only one, arises from its cesspools. The Wikipedia article headed “cesspool” devotes an entire paragraph to Huntington. In numbers of people sucked down into collapsing old cesspools, we lead the nation. There were three deaths just this past decade.

The Straggler family avoided this misfortune by sheer good luck. There is a wooden deck at the back of our house, a few inches above the lawn. One night in mid-December a large hole suddenly appeared in the lawn just beyond the deck, at a spot we must have walked over

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