Temporary barrier over Ray Brook

A temporary barrier on Elm Street over Ray Brook near Brookside Church has now been up for two years. As a gift to the city’s North End, columnist Mark Hayward suggests rebuilding the wall.

This week, family and friends gathered together for that which is most important. They paused, lowered their heads ... and charged ahead to the mall with the determination of an NFL running back on the 1-yard line.

That was Black Friday. And if your elbow wasn’t strong enough or your blocking technique too slow, you are now waking up to Black and Blue Saturday with an unfinished Christmas list.

Following are some appropriate (maybe not so appropriate?) gift ideas to some of my favorite Manchester people.

For North Enders. Build that wall! Not a wall to keep anyone out. But a wall on an Elm Street sidewalk just before the Brookside Congregational Church. Two years ago, a brick and granite wall crumbled, and for two years a temporary wall of jersey barriers and hazard orange fence has given the neighborhood the feel of a war zone.

For Chris Pappas and Ted Gatsas. An arrangement that combines two Christmas carol classics — Elvis Presley’s Blue Christmas and Irving Berlin’s White Christmas — into a new Manchester Christmas carol classic — Blue and White Christmas.

That’s because the Hellenic heritage of Pappas and Gatsas overcame everything in the political world — party affiliations, age, alliances — designed to tear them (or at least their constituencies) apart. Their elections victories — Pappas as congressman, Gatsas as executive councilor — tells me two things. They’re more alike (practical, successful businessmen) than they are different. And if you want to get elected in Manchester, it’s always good to have a name that ends in “as.”

No truth to the rumors that Eddie Edwards-as and Gray Chynoweth-as are already planning rematches for 2020.

For Mayor Joyce Craig and Alderman Tim Baines. Fire insurance. Craig and Baines drew the ire of Manchester firefighters when they blocked the union contract on the first go-around in September.

Craig said her tie breaking vote was one of the most difficult in her political career. Baines got in a media spat with the union over what was or wasn’t said during a testy parking lot confrontation.}

Either way, there wasn’t much difference in a contract that was eventually adopted. Firefighters will get raises — 1½, 2 and 2 percent — over the next three years in a deal that both Craig and Baines ended up supporting. Still, nothing like a good insurance policy.

For President Trump and serial tweeters. Smart fingers. In what could save the country, Dean Kamen‘s Advanced Regenerative Manufacturing Institute is fast at work on adding brain cells to fingertips, inside sources say.

The brain cells, to be harvested from orangutans forced to watch C-Span for 12 hours a day, are designed to block FoxCNNaphrane, the enzyme the brain creates when exposed to unhealthy levels of cable news.

For Massachusetts day trippers. Stoned Station. Now that Gov. Chris Sununu has commandeered the Safe Station approach to frontline drug treatment, fire stations in Manchester may soon get to be lonely places. However, a need will soon arise for a safe place for stoners, now that Massachusetts has launched itself into the recreational marijuana business.

Stoned Station will be a great gathering spot for people to migrate after their trip to Massachusetts. A loop of Pink Floyd and Dave Matthews Band music. TVLand on the big screen. Black lights. And Doritos. Lots of Doritos.

For Manchester teachers. Flu shots. With one of the highest levels of chronic absenteeism in the state, Manchester teachers appear to be a sickly bunch. Totally understandable, with all the kids and germs coming to school every day.

So our teachers get a needle and a cotton swab, along with an appreciation for all the good work they do.

Mark Hayward’s City Matters appears Saturdays in the New Hampshire Union Leader and UnionLeader.com. He can be reached at mhayward@unionleader.com