Thursday, February 28, 2013


And no, little sister, I don't mean Springsteen.  I mean my neighbour, Bruce,  with his trusty John Deere lawn tractor with snowblower attachment.  We got a heavy dump of snow last night.  I woke up to find myself in a winter wonderland with a driveway plugged up tight.  As, currently, it is just me and the dog (see previous post) and she's no hell with a shovel, it meant that this morning's task was to go out with my trusty snow shovel and unplug it.

When I said that snow was heavy, I wasn't kidding.  It's above zero C so that snow is laden with water.  Even the clumps falling from the branches are heavy enough to brain you.  The stuff that the plough pushed into the driveway was solid enough to pick up and throw to the side in chunks, like those papier mache boulders from sixties TV. (And yes, I do mean on Star Trek--I know that's the image that came to your mind).  I played at that for a while, since it was actually easier than shovelling.  I contemplated building an igloo with them, or maybe rolling snowballs down the driveway instead of trying to pick it up.  All around me my neighbours, retired men, were clearing their drives industriously and mechanically and, I thought, oblivious or studiously ignoring the sight of me struggling to do it by hand.  "Oh, fine!" I thought, feeling all Little Red Hen-ish, and comparing them unfavourably with my Dad, who, when he got his first snowblower, went up and down the street, happily creating mini-snowstorms as he blew out all the neighbour's drives.  As I shovelled and grumbled, I tried to stop feeling petty about it.  After all, I was the one who chose not to invest in a snowblower, right?  I liked the exercise, right?  One shouldn't presume, right?  But another part of me was thinking "Chivalry really is dead" and "If it were me, I'd help"

And then, after half an hour, along came Bruce, a retired oncologist, who lives kitty corner to us.  In five minutes flat, the whole driveway was done,  and the snowbanks were peppered with gravel, as the underlying ground is thawed.  When I saw that, I wondered if the other guys had been afraid of dinging their blades, since almost everyone in the subdivision has a paved drive.  Bruce didn't seem bothered.  Old Wilf McLean always gave my Dad a bottle of whisky every year as a thank you, but I only  had some strawberry jam I made last summer, so I gave him that, that and my undying gratitude.   Last I saw of him he had moved on to the neighbour two doors up.  Bruce is the man.

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