2018-02-15 / Viewpoint

The VIEW from here

Me and my shovel

Jeff Hogan—Editor Jeff Hogan—Editor It has been a long winter. The proof is that our plastic snow shovel has been worn down by a couple of inches by frequent use and no longer has a straight edge to it. Those who know me know I actually like to shovel snow, and I think I do a good job of it.

I pride myself that just hours after even the heaviest of snowfall our two-vehicle wide drive is shoveled down to clean cement. I may even be a bit manic about it. I will shovel three or four times during a snowfall to keep up with it. A few weeks ago I brought in reinforcements. Because I hate compacted snow on the drive or sidewalk I purchased a square steel shovel to break it up. She’s a beauty, even has a bright lime-green colored insulated handle.

At 54 years of age I have never owned a snow blower. Have no intention to either. I’m the snow blower.

When I lived in Gaylord I had a 50-foot-long two-vehicle cement driveway. The first winter there it started snowing the day after Halloween and didn’t stop until May 3. A record snowfall of 287 inches fell that winter, but much to the annoyance of my neighbor across the street who owned a plow service my drive was the cleanest in the subdivision — right down to the cement. He frequently told me I was making him look bad in front of his wife. “Why doesn’t our driveway look like his?” she would frequently say.

They had driveway envy.

Some guys go to the gym to work out. Not me. I shovel snow. I get a cardio workout and I get my ab crunches while bending and lifting a couple hundred times to throw snow.

The truth is it feels good to shovel. It’s a perfect way to relieve stress to spend an hour or two outdoors, just me and the shovel.

There’s only about a month of winter left, so I think I might make it through with my current shovel. It’s moaning back at me though. The handle creaks when I lift a weighted shovel and it’s a little loose. I’ve tightened the screw on it three times this winter, but it’s simply worn out.

Last year I think I shoveled maybe six times, with the heaviest snowfall being about five inches. This winter has been different, but I don’t mind a bit.

If you can imagine, living in the snow-belt area of Gaylord was much worse. Like some guys line their garage walls with deer antlers to mark the season’s kill, I did the same with worn snow shovels I had to humanely put down to end their misery. I averaged three shovels each winter, and they were the heavy-duty kind.

Sadly, this week looks to be snow free. So until the next snow, I’ll see you around.

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