Thursday, January 22, 2009

Dashing through the Snow

Large parts of the Northeast got dumped on it a bit over the weekend in terms of snow. Okay, here in Norwich, Connecticut, it wasn't anything like Lake Effect Snow though many of us around here often do feel ourselves superior, come to think of it. Anyway. We had a couple of inches of the light and fluffy variety from Saturday evening into Sunday morning and then, after dark on Sunday night, a more serious and plentiful snowfall that didn't gladden my heart looking out on it Monday morning, deep and crisp and even.

Fifty-six years on, most of it riding shotgun in the clown car, have changed my feelings about a lot of things, to include snow and I suspect, looking around here Monday morning, I'm not alone. My days of finding a Flexible Flyer under the tree at Christmas (now it's more like for' under a hundred bucks plus shipping'; the times they are achangin') and running outside to test it are decades ago. Last year, we bought a gas powered self-propelled snow thrower that I wish could actually render me superfluous by finding the snow all by itself, starting itself up and making it all go away.

When you have neighbor, as I do, like Eric B, you automatically become a better person (and I need all the help I can get). He was getting organized to go to work Monday, so while he was out with his snow blower, he took a crack at all the sidewalks in the zip code, it seemed, and by the time I had finished checking my eyelids for holes at half past seven (a/k/a 'sleeping in'), most of the work was done for me.

With my snow blower, I dug out the parked cars on the even side of the street (when I tell you I live on the odd side of Lincoln Avenue, don't snicker; it's not that funny) because Norwich has a raft of snow removal ordinances (Article I, section 19-1), like three hours after snowfall ends having your sidewalks snow and ice-free or receive a ticket and a fine (cannot wait for that one to start being enforced. The house on Washington, between Chelsea Terrace and Williams NEVER seems to shovel and the snow from two weeks ago that turned to ice is now under the snowfall of recent days--not that they are the only ones).

Unlike Manhattan with alternate side of the street parking to better facilitate street cleaning and snow removal, Norwich just says park on the even side--though the plows very often aren't as thorough as anyone might hope in removing the snow from the odd side. All of which means there's snow everywhere. It's not really a lot of work for me to use the snow blower to make sure most of the cars of my neighbors have a fighting chance to get out (my daughter is home from school so her car is out in the street and not in my garage because I've decided that space in the garage is based on seniority on the planet). And since, I'm liberating my daughter's car, I go ahead and get everyone else's, taking care to NOT hit their cars (happiness would be coming out and finding a scratch, which is even crummier than being snow-covered).

As I walk behind the snow blower, Tom G comes out with his shovel and his dog, Madison. Madison arrived as a pup replacing Bailey, a Please Don't Eat the Daisies breed of dog, after Bailey went off to fetch the stick in that Great Meadow in the Sky. Madison was a pet for Amy and Billy, Tom and Gwen's children, but kids like petting the top front part, care very little about feeding the bottom front part and have no interest at all in the back end. Madison, whose golden coat is flecked with silver now, has become Tom's dog and when you see one, you see the other.

As Tom shovelled snow from the curb side of his cars, Madison went cavorting across the neighborhood. Madison loves snow and cannot understand how none of the bipeds who live on her street could have zero interest in playing with her in it. She smashes through snow drifts and piled up snow, sometimes knocking it back onto the sidewalk you just cleared--there's nothing mean, she's high-spirited and is absolutely thrilled to be out in the snow. There's not enough hours in the day for Madison to sniff all of the white stuff, dash from place to place barking excitedly and trying to get you to park the snow blower or drop the shovel and run along side. To her credit, she never takes it personally when, without, exception, we harsh her snow buzz and shovel grimly onward. After all, with these nifty thumbs comes awesome responsibilities. If All Dogs Go to Heaven, it's understandable why so many make snow angels here on earth.
-bill kenny

No comments: