We've had lots of snow this week. I don't know how much exactly, but we are measuring it in feet, and not inches. When I walked in the front yard yesterday morning to rescue a snow shovel this morning, it was well past my knees, and at least another foot fell after that. As soon as I looked out the window yesterday morning, I knew that my kids didn't have school. I emailed my students to let them know we wouldn't have class, but my husband felt he needed to go to work, even though he had been making calls all morning to his staff, telling them to stay home. No matter how much snow we get, he has this idea that if he gets going fast enough, he can get his car out of the driveway. This method often works, but yesterday, he ended up stuck in a snowdrift.
At least one person in the family thinks that the icy ruts underneath several feet of snow, caused by a poor shoveling job during the last snowstorm, contributed his inability to stay in the driveway. I might add that the reason the driveway shoveling has been executed so poorly this winter is because the most conscientious worker, the one person in the family who likes shoveling snow, has been down with a knee injury. I pointed this out only half a dozen times before family members threatened to hurt my remaining good knee.
A neighbor with a four-wheel drive truck stopped with an offer to pull my husband's car out, but then somehow his truck ended up in the ditch as well. That is the thing about these ridiculous storms that dump several feet of powdery snow on top of icy pavements; suddenly, everything goes crazy, like some kind of Saturday Night Live skit.
By the time Shaggy Hair and I trudged out to the end of the driveway, the neighbor from across the way had joined the scene as well, everyone in surprisingly good spirits as they offered suggestions about how to get the car out. It's kind of a seasonal pastime, here in Snowstorm region, the challenge of getting those vehicles out of snowbanks and ditches. It becomes a physics problem really: everyone stand on the bumper to get this tire in a different position, okay, now turn the wheel that way, now get the car rocking ....
After about two hours of ridiculous maneuvers that included logs from the woodpile inserted under various tires and human bodies balanced precariously on the back bumper, we got the car out, and my husband left for work. About lunch time, while With-a-Why and I were eating soup at the kitchen table, I phoned Boy in Black to see how he was doing at Snowstorm University. I had just heard that the afternoon classes were cancelled because of the weather. He sounded pretty upbeat. "Hey, are Shaggy Hair and With-a-Why having a snow day? I'm thinking of coming home to spend time with them."
"The roads are terrible," I told him. "Don't try to drive home."
With-a-Why, listening to my phone call as he ate his soup, looked up sadly. "But it's no fun to have a snow day without Boy in Black."
I felt bad. I know how close to Boy in Black my youngest son is. I was about to explain to him the dangers of driving on winter roads, when I heard a knocking at the front door.
It was Boy in Black, who came in with a big grin, shaking the snow out of his long hair and stamping his boots as he walked in. "Hey, the roads aren't so bad."
"Where were you when we were talking on the phone?"
"Just at the corner. I knew you'd worry if I told you I was driving home."
He shook the snow off his clothes, tossed his coat onto a hook, and settled down on the couch in front of the fire. With-a-Why gave me that kind of smile that says, "Isn't my big brother cool?" and went over without a word to snuggle next to him.
I admit, I was glad he had come. He spent the afternoon playing with With-a-Why and helping Shaggy Hair with his chemistry homework. When we went out to shovel the new foot of snow that had fallen, it was great to have his help. Our driveway is long, but Boy in Black, eighteen and in top physical shape, shovels snow the way a cartoon character might. It was done in no time at all.
Later that night, after my husband had made it safely home, the boys decided to go out and play frisbee in the dark. They've got this special frisbee that lights up. Playing outside is wonderful on a night when we've got a few feet of fresh powder. You can backflip off the porch and not get hurt at all. "It's mad fun to try to run through snow up to your waist," said Boy in Black.
As I helped Shaggy Boy put the cuffs of his gloves inside the sleeves of his coat, he looked up at me and said, "You know, I probably should be studying Chemistry or French. I've got two tests tomorrow."
He pulled his hat down over his eyes, covering his curly hair. "But playing frisbee with my brothers is more important."
I think he's right.