Let it snow? (somewhere else)
Saturday March 03rd 2007, 12:10 pm
Filed under: Life,Non-Knitting

When my husband was considering a job offer in California, the offer letter solemnly promised, “No home delivery of snow.” Right there, in writing, with the added note saying, “and if you think you do see some, go back to bed for an hour. It’s just an illusion. It will be gone.”

We had 70″ of snow in two and a half weeks right before we moved out of New Hampshire 20 years ago, and they got hit with 15″ more the day after we left.

My friend Leanne lived around the corner from us in a cul-de-sac. Right after our development was built, the town of Merrimack banned builders from creating any more cul-de-sacs, for the very reason Leanne got stuck with: the snowplows would go through hers, pushing all the snow off the road from that big circle, piling it up and up and up and finally depositing it across the fronts of everybody’s yards and driveways.

I used to racewalk every morning for four to five miles before my small children woke up, time to exercise, time to myself, time to wave hi at the neighbors without distractions. So I got to see what it was like for Leanne.

Picture a Cape Cod saltbox, two stories high with a small front yard so the house was near to the road, that, standing in the street near the house, you could not see that house for the height of the snowbank in front of it.

Now, picture a mom with three kids under four years old, including a small baby. A husband stuck overseas on business on a work assignment that was only supposed to be for a few days, but that had ground on into several weeks. Now picture all that snow. What are you going to do? Do you take your babies outside in that weather for the amount of time it’s going to take to shovel that whole driveway and That Pile all by yourself? How do you have any energy for your children afterwards? Do you leave them inside, unattended, for all that time? Do you slip out when they’re napping, hoping they don’t wake up, that the baby doesn’t decide it’s hungry when you can’t hear it, yadda yadda. What do you do?

My own husband used to travel a lot, and issues like these helped contribute to our decision to take the job in California. Our last child, born here, was the first pregnancy where I didn’t have to push my Toyota out from being stuck in the snow–by myself!–in that condition.

The biggest blast of that three-week off-and-ongoing snowstorm happened on a Saturday night. Leanne, like me, is a Mormon. She had a home teacher from church who had young teenage sons–and Mike looked at that brewing storm and knew from his own family’s experiences when his kids had been younger that Leanne was going to need help.

So: without saying anything. He and the boys got up early enough Sunday morning to dig their own car out, and then they headed over to Leanne’s. The snowplow had gone through, and the heavy, densely-compacted pile across the bottom of her driveway–never mind tackling the rest of the driveway–towered very much above their heads. They took their snowshovels and had at it.

Which means that when Leanne woke up that morning, expecting yet more snowboundedness on the one day of the week she could otherwise have had some actual adult company, some relief to help keep her sanity, some support while her husband was stuck in Singapore and unable to help, she saw–

–a clear path out all ready to go. Be our guest. Happy Sunday. See you at church.

And that, ever since, has been the story I’ve wanted to live up to of what true service to another person can really be about.

3 Comments so far
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That’s beautiful. Hooray. 🙂

Comment by Kristine 03.03.07 @ 3:42 pm

What a kind thing to do! 🙂

Comment by Romi 03.04.07 @ 4:19 pm

And if memory serves, church started at 9 am and it took 20-25 minutes to get there. Those men must have started shovelling at something like 5 am or earlier.

Comment by AlisonH 03.04.07 @ 8:05 pm

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