If At First You Don’t Succeed

Today’s high temperature was in the high 80s/low 90s, so naturally my thoughts turn to snow.

One of the homes we had in the Bronx was a two-story four-unit rental on 226th Street, situated next to the rectory of the parish where we grew up. Behind the to buildings were small yards, with a pathway between them that lead to a large parking lot. The lot was owned by the rectory, and we paid for a parking space in the sprawling flat section pretty much directly behind our apartment. The lot had two gated driveways that fed into 225th Street behind our house.

It was a rectangle maybe 1/2 of the width of a city block, and stretched maybe 200 feet downhill from there.

So one winter we had several pretty bad snow storms, and typically Debbie and I and Jamey (who lived next door) would bundle up and shovel the top, flat part from the back of our yard all the way to the driveway. This cleared the way for the priests as well as our own cars, as we all parked up there. The other drivers could shovel out their own spots as best they could. (Hey, it was a large area and shoveling it was hard work.)

There was one particular storm I recall where the flakes were fat, the air cold, and the wind quite brisk. I had wanted to wait until the snow stopped, but eventually headed out toward the end of the day, wanting to finish shoveling while it was still daylight. There were several wet inches of snow on the ground, but with much hard work in the swirling snow I shoveled the entire top flat part – from yard to driveway – as was my goal.

When I woke the next morning, I stared through my bedroom window that overlooked the parking lot. There were several inches of snow covering the entire lot, including the section I had shoveled. In fact, there wasn’t a hint of a clue that I’d done any shoveling at all. Overnight, the wind had patiently moved all the snow back where it had been.

I learned several things that day.

  1. Don’t shovel when the snow is still falling hard.
  2. Don’t empty your shovel upwind.
  3. Listen when Jamey warns you about #1 and #2.

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