Most everything was cancelled in our part of the world yesterday, church services and all. The weekend’s blizzard made it necessary to work at home on Sunday, manual labor no-less, for less than minimum wage (call it free).
Whatever a guy could get done before the rain that came at 9 AM was worth the effort and inconvenience because the rain soaked into the ten new inches of already-wet snow, making it impossible for a snow auger to move it without clogging. I’d hoped the snow blower on the front of our old (’67) John Deere garden-tractor would enjoy the challenge at the end of our drive, but when it clogged four times in three minutes I gave it the day off and reached —reluctantly (you better know it)— for the shovel.
I cleared the front steps the storm had drifted in, and the front porch, and went inside to take a break. “That was worth at least half my Sunday nap.” I remarked to no one in particular, “maybe more!” With one eye on the clock and the other on the sun’s position in the afternoon sky I pushed myself back outside to tackle the end of the driveway. I had the last eight-feet to open up, and it was packed 2 – 4 feet deep with a heavy mixture of plowed-snow, salt, rain and slush. I’d saved the worst for last.
How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time, I reminded myself and started in.
It didn’t take long to realize that scooping from the bottom each time was NOT going to be good for my back, and presented an even greater risk for my temper. I’m a patient guy, but I could already tell I needed to find a different approach or I’d be apologizing to God for the way I talked about the snow He sent this weekend!
Let’s take this wall apart the way I’d build it if it were made of concrete block. One block at a time, one course at a time. I tried a couple things and discovered that less than a complete shovel-full of sludgy snow weighed about the same as a concrete block. So snow-block by slushy snow-block I began to disassemble the thing, one course at a time. I should be able to finish by dark if I keep a steady pace and don’t wear myself out prematurely.
I don’t know what made me look up. Maybe it was the sound of power approaching. But as it went by I read the lettering on the door – LAUE’S Landscapes & Design Solutions, Genesee Depot. Haven’t heard of them – truck looks new. I threw another shovel-full of snow aside. If you don’t already know, it helps to talk to yourself when you’re working alone on a big job. He’s been working hard today; there’s plenty of snow to move around. I heard the truck stop a couple doors down and begin to back up. Wonder who he’s looking for? Well, I’ll help if I can.
Sure enough, he slowed and stopped in front of me. I looked up –wayy-up– to the cab, expecting to see a tinted electric window roll down so the driver could ask me where such and such is. Instead he waved me aside. I smiled and obliged. AnyTIME! Hydraulics turned and lowered the bright red plow into position and the diesel engine hunkered down like a lineman ready for the snap.
You – over here. The snow moved. All of it.
OVer here. And it went where the plow said.
I checked to be sure I had enough to give the driver at least something for his efforts, and watched, slightly amazed at the power and engineering unclogging my driveway.
Parking so he blocked my now-cleared drive I approached as he stepped down out of his truck. Money in hand, I was ready to express my appreciation for his stopping unannounced.
“Don’t want no money,” he said before I had a chance to make a sound, “but I will take a phone call in the spring after all this white stuff is gone. Need mulch or trees or landscaping help? We’re just up the road.” He smiled and handed me his card. I managed a thank-you as I shook his hand. As quickly as he went by the first time, his white truck with the huge red blade turned the corner and disappeared from sight.
I tidied up the corners a bit, leaned the shovel against the house and went inside, taking one last look at the hours of work he did in a few seconds. ” Wow. I’m done!” My Good Samaritan Drives a Diesel Truck. A big one! –and I know where I’m getting my mulch next Spring.”