The blizzard struck during the night as cowards are wont to do. The beautiful fall colours of the day before were covered by a blanket of white, cold, and wet when we greeted the morning. Each family member, in turn, responded with an audible groan of disapproval upon seeing the new day. We have little fondness for winter in our home as a general rule. I suspect a family member claiming any affection at all for winter would be, at the least shunned, if not beaten.
I for my part was entirely unperturbed this time. For decades I had worked outside in the building construction trades, struggling through the famine that the winter season inevitably wrought each year. Daily cursing the wind as it attempted murder by either blowing things upon me or blowing me off of ladders and roofs. This year for the first time I was not facing the weather with the sickening knowledge of having to suffer through it. I bid my family good day as they each set out into the storm, and I gazed outside for a few minutes making little effort to hide my glee.
I poured myself another cup of coffee, contemplating the scene outside. After a few moments, I decided to step outside with my cup and enjoy a morning cigarette in the wailing wind if only to tease the frustrated storm. On the back deck, the door pushed snow as I stepped out and glanced about. I was happy. I finished my coffee and considered that it might be best to clear the snow from the deck before it froze and made more of a nuisance of itself. I threw on a jacket and headed out to my shed to find my snow shovel.
Noticing a few odds and ends lying about that I had neglected to clean up the previous week, I decided it best to do so before they were buried in a few feet of snow. My gloves quickly soaked through as I moved on to a few branches that the wind had knocked off the old maples beside the house. Finally, I found my snow shovel hanging on the shed wall and proceeded back to the task at hand.
Bicycles surrounded the deck. I couldn’t begin without sorting them into their proper places. One by one I wheeled them off to the shed. The wet snow was starting to soak through the leather of my boots by the time I began clearing the deck. I worked quickly as the cold wind blew through my jacket and up my back. It was an exercise in futility. The snow was falling on the deck as fast as I was removing it. I would have to come back out after the storm and perform this task again, I decided. Suddenly it dawned on me that I had been outside for a long time for someone who doesn’t work out during the winter. I tossed the shovel aside and promised myself not to leave the warm house again for the day.
I worked in the cellar for a few hours before settling down to return to a movie I had started watching the night before when my wife came home followed soon after by the rest of my family. We decided to have a coffee and were sitting comfortably enjoying the fact that neither of us had to go outside when my daughter brought our attention to a dire emergency. The ranch dressing was all gone, and nothing else would do. As luck would have it a phone call to our amazingly accommodating neighbour located some next door. The brand was deemed acceptable, and all that was left to be determined was which of the many volunteers we would sacrifice to the noble cause of getting it. I was having none of it. This was the hill I would die on if need be but I was not going back out there. If I broke this promise to myself, I would spend my golden years without redemption. NO! Not happening. My wife knows me well enough to pick the battles she can win and so she set out. I advised her to tie a rope to the house and keep a good hold of it since the neighbour’s home is about eighty feet away from ours. Of course, she didn’t listen to my sound advice, and I shook my head sadly as I locked the door behind her to keep the storm out. Speaking of which she’s been gone awhile. Oh right! The door. I better go unlock it in case she made it back. Oh, wait a minute. If she has been waiting out there since (what time is it now?) three hours ago. No, I think I best just leave it locked at this point.