Amy's Story: A Winter's Tale

My oh my this winter sure is turning into the season of the bicep, not to mention glutes. Who needs a smith machine or arm curls at the gym when we have been bombarded with an excess of snow to shovel? Snow that feels like wet cement, not that I have ever moved any cement around on a shovel. I decided to depart to parts south for the holidays - North Carolina to be precise. Chances were good there would be no shoveling of snow required. Did I tempt fate with that thought? I also was looking forward to a restful time in that laidback of states. My parents retired outside Asheville where the pace slows down to a level which simply forces you to relax. That pace is requisite for all of us interlopers, although if truth be told it isn’t an immediate transition for yours truly. One time I was behind someone at a stoplight in downtown Hendersonville with my mother as passenger. Light turned green and they didn’t move. So I laid on the horn. My mother was horrified - you don’t do that here! Which leads me to the other reason it is so nice to vacation there. Everyone is so darn friendly. I would have normally expected a reciprocal response from my pokey green lighter. Nope just a friendly neighborly wave. How can you get mad at that? You just slow down, smile and wave back. Sorry about that, my hand must have slipped on the horn. I fit right in now - except for my Massachusetts plate that is.

After a few unseasonably cold days the forecast for a few flurries changed drastically. When a freak winter is a total of 2 inches (in 4 different “storms”) we were going to get 6 inches in the span of one day. Since the town doesn’t own any snowplows (why would they?) we all just hunker down and wait for it to melt, which is generally the next day. Uh oh not this time as there was no end in sight for the frigid temps. That left only one option. Shovel. But my parents don’t own any snow shovels. Again - why would they? As most homes are built in that state, theirs is cut into the side of a hill. House is halfway down a 45 degree slope. I had parked my car in front of the house but then it dawned on me that I wouldn’t be able to get to the top of the driveway for days. Friendly neighbors to the rescue! Our neighbor knocked on our door and asked if he could try out his new mini landmover on our snow in our driveway. Dorothy we aren’t in New England anymore. Of course he could! His new toy looked like a mini back hoe excavator; some form of adult Tonka toy. But the articulating shovel on the front sure did scoop a huge chunk of snow. My parents and I crowded around the picture window in wonderment, watching him scoop, swivel and scoop some more. When we saw pavement we watched him drive up the driveway to leave. He reached the top and then turned sideways - no he wasn’t attempting to turn sideways - his toy had a mind of its own since under all that snow was a layer of black ice. In slow motion it began rolling back down the driveway sideways on the ice…..towards my car. We all froze and said nothing. When he stopped inches from it we did finally exhale. So he tried again - and again - and again - every time coming inches from my car. I didn’t wish to be un-neighborly and ask him to stop giving me heart palpitations because I thought his blood pressure was likely spiking also. Finally he realized there was one other option. He barrelled through the snow bank and bumped along down the yard towards his house, precariously nearly tipping a few times.

We went to work on the remainder of the driveway, chipping and salting the ice. Once it looked safe I made a mad dashing blast to the top of the driveway where I left my car. There was no doubt the drive would ice over during the night and I had plans to leave the next morning at 5am.  It was pitch black the next morning and the neighborhood was eerily quiet at that hour. As I was baby stepping up the drive I recalled the neighbors on the other side having told us about a black bear that had been on their porch. Why I tortured myself with that thought at precisely that moment I do not know. No one had mentioned if the bear was friendly but even if he was a North Carolina neighbor I didn’t want to take any chances. Very happy to get into my car and start motoring back to Boston. After all, I had to get back in time for more arm curls…oops I mean cement shoveling.

Warm regards,