How 'bout them snowflakes, huh?
Yesterday, I got home from PT and started up the snowblower (started around 4 ish). I got about one and a half feet before the snow stopped coming out of the shoot on top, and began to spit out the bottom front. This kept happening over and over again. Did you know that you can use your snowblower as a snowtube maker? These tubes can be broken down into fairly good-sized snowballs. A little too big to throw easily though. So, anyway, after making what felt like 100 snowtubes of various lengths (I think the longest one came out whole at about 16 inches), I finally had the half of the driveway closest to the street blown. I then made the mistake of allowing my sore knees to turn me around to look at my handiwork. Evidently, there were little tiny snow gremlins behind me with little tiny snowblowers of their own, blowing snow back onto the driveway where I had just cleared it. The driveway needed to be cleared again. I hadn't even gotten around to moving the cars to clear the other half of the driveway yet. I decided to give up for the moment. I went inside and Deb had dinner waiting for me.
I drove the truck to work last night because of the storm. I left about 1/2 hour early and arrived 5 minutes late (I'm usually about 10-20 minutes early). If I had driven my car, I probably would have gotten there about 3-4 hours late, since it handles so poorly in the snow.
When I got home this morning, a neighbor about 1/2 block away was stuck in her driveway. I stopped and told her I was going to run home and use the bathroom and I'd be back to help her. I got home, pottied, started the snowblower and started plowing down the sidewalk buried in over a foot of snow. I got about halfway to her when another neighbor finished digging her out and pushed her into the street. So, I turned the snowblower around and cleared the other half of the sidewalk to home. I had cleared our sidewalk and about one and a half neighbor sidewalks by that time.
In my round about loquacious way, I really do have a point to this story... in the 6 or so minutes that it took me to get back to our driveway, our neighbor, Dave, was grinning from ear to ear and clearing our driveway for us. Again. We have only needed to clear our driveway a couple of times this winter, because Dave keeps beating us to it:). And his snowblower doesn't clog up and get confused into thinking it is really a snowtube maker. Who says that chivalry is dead? Who says that neighborliness doesn't exist (especially in Flint)? When I thanked Dave, he said that he was glad to do it and he appreciates that Deb helps him with the lawn in the summer. Okay, he has an awesome snowblower, and we have an awesome lawn tractor. And it's fun to drive. And Deb loves to help the neighbors when she knows they are busy with their own lives. And, did I say this already?, he has an awesome snowblower.
Deb and Dave aren't the only ones who help each other out in this community. There is another guy with an awesome snowblower several doors down. The day that Deb and I were trying to get out of the driveway a few years ago to go buy our snowtube maker (really, it only acts like that when the snow is wet). I say trying because we were stuck. Really stuck. Really really really stuck. Like, trouble opening the door and getting out stuck. This neighbor down the block was using his awsome snowblower to clean his driveway and his two neighbors' driveways when he looked up and saw us (like I said, he's several houses away). He snowblowed the entire sidewalk between us, and blew out enough for us to get out of the driveway. A second guy had helped to push us out. When we got home from buying our brand-new snowblower, our driveway was cleared already. We had to wait for the next snow to try it out. I think it was the next day or so. By the way, I think the guy who rescued Deb and I is the same one who rescured that other woman this morning. I think I recognized the snowblower.
My round about point is that it's kind of fun to help each other out. I don't know these guys by name, or really even by sight, but I know them by the smiles and willingness to jump in and help each other. Deb is just naturally a good neighbor. She knows the dogs in the area and when they get out & need an understanding human to help them get back into their yards, she is the one they go to. She helps to mow the lawns of the busy or absent people in a one block radius. She offers a helping hand to anyone who seems to need one. She offers neighbors fresh grown tomatoes in the summer when she sees them outside. I admire that in her.
All this snow makes it feel like a real Michigan winter. What I remember about this time of year on the farm is that mom always had a warm tea kettle on the stove for the strangers that inevitibly ended up in our ditch during weather like this. I remember my brothers bundling up and pushing them out of the ditch and back into a spot from where they could drive when they were done with their tea or cocoa. I may be romanticizing this memory, or stretching one experience into a regular thing. I'm not sure. (Hey, if any of you older Louberts are reading this, does any of this ring a bell?)
Enjoy the snow. Enjoy your neighbors. Enjoy being a good neighbor. Random acts of kindness and all that stuff.
Question of the day: What warm fuzzy winter memories make you smile?