As the plow pushes the last of it down our street, it’d be irresponsible of me to not write a few words concerning this first snow event of the season. Here they are: “Beautiful, … and I’m over it already.” Adult words from a guy living seven days away from Christmas. Yes, I’m conveying curmudgeonly displeasure with pride in view of the fact that I’m no longer able to sled without ending up in traction, bend over to strap on skates, or simply walk with confidence outside without the fear of landing on my ass. Just because I can’t see little ice pebbles underfoot due to bifocals sliding off my nose should be reason enough for me to put all this p’erty fluffy stuff to bed. Don’t judge me.
Kids sure need to enjoy these fun flakes. (I’ll stick to mine that wiggle in and around the grapes in my cereal bowl). After being locked up in virtual learning, these young full-of-energy and nimble children have to burn off the energy somehow. They’ll enjoy it by spreading out snow angels and diving into piles of already heaped banks put into place by adult in their lives. Adults who, mind you, most likely had the same attitude I have at this moment as they muttered under their breath, “Doug is so right!”
As adults, we’ve seen this so many times. Three, or more, days of “it’s coming…” from every news source followed up by the pre-event trucks roaming up and down main highways throwing down that de-icer salt mix (if you’re lucky). Warnings not to go out unless necessary … (soooo old news in 2020, right?), and, yes, the predictable toilet paper, milk, and bread grocery store wipe-out run. School cancellations are mute now as a consequence of the pandemical quagmire, so kids have been robbed of the wake-up knock from dad saying, “Sleep in, no school today!”. That’s been replaced with, “Hey get your butt out of bed. I need you to help me figure out this new math we’re suppose to work on today.”
With all that, I’m so over this. Three shovel events within the day – two involving digging out automobiles – is enough for me. Look, I know so many have it far worse than I. My perspective is skewed in my favor, undeniably. Yes, the events of the day I experienced.
This writer’s elderly dad was pushing a snow blower up a slanted driveway yesterday. Purposefully written in a way to convey how uncomfortable it was for me to see him steadily shuffle his way around puffs of snow coming from a machine twice his size. This, after I couldn’t reach him by phone. Evidently, he was outside doing the very guy thing he’s been doing his whole adult life. Son and dad finished up a few little corners with the two shovels on hand (I got the beat up, short handled old one of course), we chatted a few words, … I left knowing he was o.k. and he wouldn’t be available for a drive-thru distanced lunch – the primary reason for an unsuccessful earlier call. Empty snow-day box checked. (As an aside here, the driveway would have been cleared … ahem … by me had it not been done; However, there was not a snowball’s chance of that if you know any dad out there like my dad …)
Some folks around here summer-drive in the winter. Slush, black ice, wind, snow? … Not a problem. A slice of our population owning sleds with four tires that are connected to a gadget in their car labeled “4×4” feel they have permission to pass at, or above, the recommended speed limit of 20+ miles over the posted number. Apparently, they believe that little chapter in the driver’s exam book explaining safe driving in the winter applies only to Pintos, paneled station wagons, rusted out Hondas, and Prii capable of only going 35 m.p.h. at best even with a hefty tailwind. I spend road time yesterday brushing off equal amounts of bad attitude, cuss words, and snow off my windshield than I care to admit. Once in the drive-thru lane at Arby’s, without my dad, making me hungry enough to swerve out of that lane, drive a mile down the road to Burger King’s drive-thru for a delicious Whopper, fries, and Coke-Zero…
Only to arrive back home – and shovel again. The postman, who I admire, needed a proper clean sidewalk, after all, and the remaining part of the driveway I didn’t clear earlier had to be done. Once that was finished, and my Whopper gobbled up, off to my concession trailer to check on things. This was the first day in a while no smiling customers were available to see in front of my window. As I stood inside yesterday, it was pleasantly calm. Not having to rush around during a time when I’d usually be three-handing orders, grills, and prep tables was unsurprisingly peaceful. I knew it would be. The waterlines didn’t freeze and the electric still pushed it’s way through the lines. The snow, ah, snow. Yes, I’m so over it … My good friend and customer, Jim, bladed the lot wonderfully that night. With that written, our city came by and plowed the whole lot closed. We know how this goes, right? The end-of-the-driveway plow in! … x8! With kindness and grace, Jim came back through later last night and did a snowy-spectacular job opening up my lot again!
One final snow day job left. Everything to this point was Honda-driven. My taller-than-I van still sat idle in the driveway under all the fresh-fallen snow. Broom and ice-scraper in hand, with darkness upon me, I went at it. Snow fell from above … down into my open cuffs and across un-gloved hands, into a loose hoodie, on top of sneakers that are sooo comfortable. I banged and twisted the wipers until they capitulated. Door handles and windows had no choice but to consent. After all this, one more final step: the blow drive. With just a few inches of unreachable blocks of Frosty’s torso on the roof, I had a few items to get at the store anyway, so …
See, in as much as I am somewhat aware of my, err, intellect, I can be so stubborn and kinda impulsive. The whole day was getting to me and I wanted it over. Walking around the van to get in – anticipating my drive to the store, with the fine dusting of snow underfoot – I slipped and fell sideways into a big pile of the crap I spent all day shoveling. Flannel, hoodie, bare hands, face … all of it planted in the white lovely pile of *%$!!. I reacted the only way I knew how…
… I laughed it off like a child. Brushed off my sorry self, drove to the store, bought my macaroni, bacon bits, dehydrated onions, Pyrex plate, and rolls. Twenty minutes later, backed the van into a clean driveway, set the trash out, then settled in for the night.
Two cleaned off automobiles sit in a snow-free driveway at present. The sidewalks are free of snow and ten minutes ago the trashman beeped his way to and then fro. I’m dry and warm. Today is a new day, right? I’m unquestionably over yesterday. Have other days been worse? Yep! Others better? Absolutely.
It’s a week away from Christmas. Santa lives surrounded by this white stuff all year long. He can have it. I’ll sit in the back of the sleigh with Ebenezer and shout, “Bah Humbug!” all winter long simply because I have an adult-onset inclination to enjoy a few flakes in a bowl so much more than seeing a million frozen ice ones jammed in my dad’s snow blower or experience dirty, stone-filled ice balls thrown on my windshield by wanna-be summer drivers.
That written, I’ve been sitting too long. My back’s sore. Oh, look … snow possible again this coming Thursday – Christmas eve. Beautiful, just beautiful.