WELL SAID: “We don’t remember everything, but I’d like to know who’s in charge of what we forget. If there’s a system, it escapes me.” — Thomas McGuane

WELL DONE: “Back Talking” exhibit at Columbia Center for the Arts. See it while you can — it closes Sunday. Local artists have found funny, imaginative, poignant — and pointed — means of giving new life to old “junk.” Rene Westbrook frames scarab jewelry in rusted-can sarcophagi; Alan Root and Doug Burke breath life into rusted metal; HRVHS students transform random objects into cool lamp coverings; Rod Stuart brings welcome whimsy via faded but vibrant pieces of old wood. Hours are 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., 213 Cascade Ave.

WINTER ON EDGE: Old Man Winter stepped back from behind his crocus-curtain this week with a “Boo! I’m Back!” just when we thought he’d gone to hibernation. Among the trickeries the Crusty Elder commits can be seen on the edges of concrete stairways (photo at right): why is it the inner parts of the steps remain clear and dry while a slick layer of ice covers the edges, where one is most likely to step — and slip?

SEEN AND HEARD: Woman driving to Providence with cat on the dashboard (see photo) … on 9-1-1 scanner, “A woman reports a suspect trying to tear down a stop sign on the road leading to Button Bridge” … officer replied moments later that the sign had been knocked down and the man had been moving it off the roadway … on snowy walk to school Thursday, a Mom tells her daughter, “Don’t hit me in the head with it!” …

HEART-FELT: An employees’ assignment board on Feb. 14 read, “Happy Single Person’s Awareness Day.”

PETITE PIANO update: Hidden but not hard to find, one of downtown’s small treasures remains in place. The toy piano, with its sign inviting people to play the piano but leave it where it is, was cryptically chronicled in this space a couple of years ago. A month ago it was thought to have been stolen from its niche, a location best left to self-discovery or revelation by a friend. A few weeks ago I had gone to look for it and all I found, creepily, was a cigarette lighter. I asked its caretaker, local musician Tim Snyder, who also thought it was gone. Yet it turns out it fell from view but was there all along, and Snyder has taken steps to prevent recurrence.

— Kirby Neumann-Rea

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