Paula’s Big Snow Day, or Yes, Paula, There Are Angels
By Paula O’Kray
Well, what did you expect me to write about this week? We got almost a foot of snow, and there’s no way you weren’t affected in some way by this incredibly huge dump of the white stuff. In fact, I’m sure you could write your own story, but since I have the column, you get to hear all about mine.
My big snow day actually started the night before, when the snow had already begun to fall. Nights like this I typically head home from work, carefully, because everyone has varying skills when driving on snowy roads.
After getting home, I feed the dog, feed myself, and relax a bit before heading out on a dog walk. But on snowy nights I generally tackle the snow before the dog walk.
So it was that I headed out and fired up the snowblower, clearing out the driveway easily, since the snow that night was fairly light. And as usual, the city plows came along right after that and made a donation to my driveway. At this point of winter, I just start driving over it and packing it down instead of trying to move it.
In the morning however, I discovered, as much of the city did, that much snow had fallen during the night. Not being a morning person, and knowing more snow was sure to fall throughout the day, I headed to work knowing that my Tuesday evening would be filled with the glorious work of snow removal.
I was busy that day, and looked outside now and then. The snow was still falling every time I checked. Heather, one of our editors, had to leave mid-afternoon, and got stuck in the parking lot. So Nate, our managing editor and I went out to push. I was surprised how much snow had fallen and how hard we had to work at getting Heather on her way.
About an hour or so later, Gene Kemmeter called to advise us it would be wise to close the office and head for home, as the wind was picking up and the snow had turned to sleet. He had got stuck in his own driveway, and felt we should be forewarned of a similar fate.
We all took heed, and made arrangements, leaving a sign on the door in case anybody was silly enough to actually be out and about in the storm and felt the need to stop in. I thought it would be smart for us all to leave at the same time, in case one of us managed to get stuck, like Heather did.
As a co-worker and I were leaving, we noticed a woman who worked at a nearby business having trouble leaving her parking spot. We did our best to holler out instructions to the driver while we pushed, but every time we got her moving, she’d get stuck again. After about three or four tries, some gentlemen in a second-floor office noticed the struggle below and hurried down to help, and that did the trick.
I pulled out of my snowy parking stall without any trouble, and headed home with my usual caution. But as I approached my driveway, I could see I was going to have to get a running start to break through the snowbank, if I was going to get in at all.
Having have a lot of experience with this, I thought, “No problem!” But I had to wait until traffic was clear so I didn’t freak other drivers out. I hit the gas and drifted (pun intended) perfectly into the driveway. My father would have been so proud!
Since I was home a bit early, I changed my routine and headed out right away with the snowblower. Everything was going pretty well, save for the occasional face full of snow from a sudden gust of wind and a poorly chosen chute angle … but live and learn. I had one strip of snow in the driveway left to go and the apron to do when suddenly the chute stopped cooperating.
I kept turning the handle, but the chute just kept swinging back and pointing at my head. I knew something had broken, but it still made me laugh out loud. Definitely not a direction I was willing to work with! I pulled the snowblower into the garage to see what was the matter.
That was about the time when three city plows rolled by, throwing some of the heaviest, wettest snow right back onto the sidewalk and filling my driveway apron back in.
Now I understand they have a job to do and I’m not going to bash that hard-working team. It’s just one of those things you have to accept and make the best of. Oh well, I thought. Not much I can do about it. I figured I would shovel more later after supper and a dog walk, and resting a bit. I went in the house and mentioned the broken chute to my friends on Facebook, and asked if there were any angels out there that might be able to help me out.
Later, returning from the dog walk, I noticed my nice neighbor Alex trying to clear the sidewalk, moving very slowly, his snowblower making strange tinkly, crunchy sounds. Try as he did, he couldn’t make any headway, as the heavy wet snow had frozen solid with the sinking temps and high winds. He gave up after a few feet, and I can’t say that I blame him.
I figured I would take my time and maybe just chop away some space for my tires to pass through, but I quickly realized that the bottom of my vehicle would never clear the bank in between, and that this was really a terrible, impossible mess.
Feeling my hope and energy slipping away as I stood in the driveway trying to figure out what to do, believe it or not, an angel DID pass by. One in a big white truck, with the biggest snowplow blade I’ve ever seen on a regular pickup – the kind trains use that split in the middle and turns both ways.
He stopped and asked if I wanted “a pushback,” and when I asked what he charged, he said there was no charge. Stunned, I told him anything he could do would be deeply appreciated. Well, he cleared the end of my driveway in about five minutes, and when he was done, I walked up to him with tears in my eyes and shook his hand, sobbing out my appreciation.
He simply smiled, wished me a happy new year and drove away. I’m pretty sure the door of the truck read, “Plaski & Sons,” so make sure you give them your business, folks. They employ angels.