Saturday, February 17, 2007


Mom baked bread. I read and plinked around on the computer and watched out the window as the snow came swirling down, watched as the drift out the back door got taller and taller, watched as the amount of traffic on Stitt Street got less and less. The last blizzard I remember was several years ago. During that one, John lived here and had just gotten a new Zelda game for the Nintendo, which he played obsessively for hours at a time. We thanked the gaming gods for that one as we truly believed it saved us from the nervous breakdowns that would have flowed from his raging restlessness had he not had Zelda to occupy himself.

This time, we were even luckier. John doesn't live with us any longer but he was in Wabash working on his house when the snow started and so he got snowed in with us. He has a 4-wheel drive truck and he also went to Tractor Supply and bought a snow blower. This is the first snowblower he has ever owned and so the "boys and their toys" syndrome kicked in big-time. He snow-blew and snow-blew. He did sidewalks, driveways, pathways to garages, the snow in front and behind the cars on the street. Some of this was rather, um, unnecessary. My sidewalks, for instance. I have a long, long stretch of sidewalk what with having three lots on the corner of Falls Avenue and Stitt Street. He created a deep path bound by high snow walls on each side. Made it really convenient for people walked on that section of sidewalk....except that he ended his blowing at the ends of my property lines so people walking on his path, who reached one end or the other, were then confronted by sidewalks that weren't cleaned off. The only thing to do at that point was to wallow across a mountain of snow to get to the street. So, what we actually had was a self-contained strip of sidewalk that no one ever used because they could neither get to it nor escape from it without risking death by drowning in a snowdrift.

The other thing that happened was that when John was coming from his house to ours, he stopped at Village Pantry to get more gas for the snowblower - one gallon. He'd already pumped the gas when he realized he'd left his wallet in his other coat pocket so that he had no money, none at all, not even one dollar and thirty-nine cents to purchase his single gallon of gas. So he called me and said, "Mom, you have to come down here and bring me $2.39."

Now picture me, curled up cozily in my house, safe from the raging storm outdoors, with no thought or inclination of going out. I had on houseshoes, no make up, hadn't combed my hair, wasn't at all worried about the snow stacking up in front of my car. At first I thought I would just walk down to Village Pantry. I put on my old clumpy boots and headed out. Within a few seconds and a few steps, I knew I would be going to Plan B. The snow was almost to my knees. With my heavy boots, each foot felt like a concrete block, as it resisted being lifted out of the snow. I though I would probably go into cardiac arrest before I reached Village Pantry and the store personnel would have lost patience and had John arrested for pumping gas he couldn't pay for.

I eyed Mom's car. It had a foot of snow on top it and and drifts in front and behind. I trundled through the snow to take a look at my car which was parked on Falls Avenue. It had a foot of snow on top and drifts in front and behind. I decided I had no choice but to try so I cleaned it off and got behind the wheel. I put it in drive, fully expecting to get stuck but, bless it's heart, it pulled out of the snow like it wasn't even there. My feelings about my new car went from "affection" to "love" on the car-bonding-o-meter. I drove down to Village Pantry with $2.39 clutched in my hand and got John and his gas out of hock.

Afterwards, I went back to being a couch potato, listening to the radio list all the various cancellations - schools and factories and offices and meetings. I looked out the window at the blowing snow piling up higher and higher. I watched the television covering the highway closings. I smelled the aroma of Mom's baking bread. And counterpoint to everything else, I heard the whine of the snow blower.

Always before, I have loved the actual weather of blizzard but there was always the nagging notion that when it was over, I'd have to figure out some way to get back to normal, someway to get the car unstuck and the driveway cleaned out. This time, I had the best of both worlds - the pleasure of watching extraordinary weather with its resulting days off while also knowing that John and his snowblower had removed the worry of dealing with the aftermath.

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