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GN Notebook: January 25, 2012

Snow Job

Well, it had to happen sooner or later. There was no snow in the month of November; none in the month of December. None in January—until the early morning hours of Jan. 21. Despite the fervent hopes of everyone over 60 years old, we couldn’t get through an entire winter without hauling out the snow shovels, the rock salt, and the car brushes.

As snowfalls go, this was pretty tame. Only about three inches, and it was the light powdery snow that’s easy to shovel. Of course the trick is to shovel early before it freezes in place.  If you waited until the next morning to clear it away, you were in for a lot of hard work.

Years ago, I lived in Baldwin, just a block south of the Southern State Parkway. I have distinct memories of a two-foot snowfall that came down in January. Naturally, all the roads were shut down, nothing was moving but snowplows. After I shoveled my driveway and the sidewalk around my house, I threw my snow shovel over my shoulder and started walking the two miles to work—a retail lumber yard just south of Sunrise Highway on Grand Avenue.

It took me about an hour to get to the yard and only two of my employees made it. We stayed open for about an hour, sold some rock salt, and then closed for the day. It was fun—like having an adventure when you were 10 years old and someone telling you that you couldn’t do something—so naturally you wanted to do it even more, just because of that.

I also remember a big snowfall in Great Neck, years ago (1986), when it started snowing when the kids were in school and no school buses could get through. I walked from Florence Street (near North High) to the JFK Elementary School to pick up my youngest son, Josh, who was 5 at the time.  When I got to the school, I bundled Josh up in his snow parka, hat, gloves, and boots and then carried him piggyback all the way back home.

Speaking of sons—I have three—I thought I had a pretty good snow removal plan years ago. With three boys, I thought I could pass the snow shovels to the younger generation and spend my declining years sipping hot chocolate from the comfort of my living room. Unfortunately, Aaron lives in Philadelphia, Jonathan lives in California, and Josh resides in Hong Kong.  No matter how much notice I give them, they still never make it home in time to shovel.

Well, no plan is perfect. Looks like I’m going to have to rely on my granddaughter to dig me out. You’d be surprised how enthusiastic a shoveler a 19-month-old toddler can be.