When I was very young, my father and his best friend, Frank Browne, poured a concrete patio in Frank’s backyard. They of course had no idea what they were doing, which never deterred them from plowing ahead. I vaguely remember that they had a little 1-cubic foot mixer and worked all one hot Kansas City summer day to pour the slab, all the time drinking Hamm’s beer (From the Land of Sky-Blue Water). By day’s end they had a smoothly troweled slab. Someone had told Frank that you had to cure the slab surface. I don’t know whose idea it was but they carefully laid out sheets of wet newspaper and kept it wet for a few days. The next time we went to visit the concrete was hard and the newspaper ink had bled through into the surface so clearly you could practically read last week’s news. Decorative concrete ahead of its time!

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