Neighbors made snow easier to take

Luther Dorr

Last week two people who I have contact with daily at a part-time job said they wished we would have some snow.

One even went so far as to say she would kind of like to get a foot of the white stuff every day.

And both mentioned that it wouldn’t be a bad idea to have a white Christmas, something we nearly didn’t have in 2011.

I responded that I was OK with the white Christmas idea but that I didn’t particularly want much snow before then.

I was thinking of them both on Sunday when I shoveled my sidewalk and driveway four times to try and stay ahead of the heavy snowfall.

And I thought of them again as I plodded through the deep snow to make four trips to the back and front of the house to rake snow off the roof of an old house that isn’t very well insulated, and thus is prone to ice dams, sometimes massive ones.

I was hoping they were happy they got their snow, in huge amounts, well before Christmas.

Understand that I’ve lived in Minnesota all my life, except for the three years I worked for my Uncle Sam, and that I am used to  snow.

Understand also that in earlier years I didn’t mind snow so much, even counting myself as one who actually liked to shovel snow. It was a good workout, I figured, and it was sort of like mowing grass – you could see the progress immediately, something that doesn’t happen, let’s say, when you plant a garden.

I used to ski a lot as a kid and you can’t do that without snow. I fell a few times when I first went flying off a homemade ski jump near our house. We’d also use noon recess at country school to wolf down our food and then hurry to the nearby jump.

Things have changed a bit in the seven decades that I’ve been around. I still like a gentle snowfall, especially around Christmas, but I don’t get very excited anymore about the amount of snow we had Sunday.

For one thing – and this wasn’t the case years ago – I worry about the traffic problems that such a heavy snowfall causes. There’s no way we can escape having some bad roads, both in town and out in the country. Even parts of major highways, like Highway 169 in Mille Lacs County, weren’t in very good shape at dawn Monday morning

I want all the people near and dear to me to have safe roads on which to drive.

I used to think I could drive in any kind of weather, proving it to myself by doing so when I shouldn’t have. Fifty years ago three of us drove from Princeton to Isle, through a raging blizzard on narrow old Highway 169, to watch a basketball game. We were about the only out-of-towners there and it wasn’t a very smart thing to do.

But I understand that not everyone is as old as I am, that some people make a good share of their living by moving snow or selling things that go hand in hand with snow, such as shovels, snowmobiles or snowblowers.

Besides, many people, including my two snow-happy friends, always say, “Get used to it. We live in Minnesota.”

Some don’t say it quite that nicely, in fact.

Sunday afternoon, as the Viking win over the Bears was coming to an end, my television picture went out. In a panic, with two more games to go, as well as a couple Sunday shows I watch, I called the satellite provider. After I gave my ZIP code they told me the picture was gone because there was too much snow on the dish. And, they said, they don’t make service calls to brush off the snow.

I went the rest of Sunday without a picture, as well as Monday morning. I shoveled the snow Monday with which plows had covered up my sidewalk and driveway, and wondered what to do, my aching muscles attesting to the fact that I wished the snowfall hadn’t been so heavy.

But having a couple great neighbors saved the day. One used his snowblower to help with the driveway and the other, half my age, said he’d climb up on my  steep roof and get the snow off the dish. He did, the picture came back, and all was right with the world.

I guess the snow wasn’t so bad after all. It showed what kind of neighbors I have in an era when neighbors sometimes don’t talk to each other much.

Let it snow, let it snow – Christmas is coming.