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The trip home from the office is a straight shot south, a long broad road laid out long ago. At the creek I turn and follow the parkway, a winding path that connects the lakes, wanders down to the falls that empty in to the Mighty Miss. I pass under the freeway, thread my way along the parkway past a house I almost bought in 1997, under the great bridge that vaulted the chasm and brought suburban development to the fields beyond the city’s boundaries. The last leg is a winding climb up the hill to my house, and I like it in the winter: the snow adds some treachery. A man can have some fun with the turns, letting the tail of your car play wide before you snap it back.
At the bottom of the street was an Amazon delivery truck. Stuck. That was obvious. It was pointed the wrong way, moored in a snowbank at an odd angle. You do the thing you know you have to do: stop, hit the blinkers, get out, help.
There was already a team of ragtag assistants. Half a dozen urchins, the gang of boys that arises by primogeniture. They were eager to help push. I didn’t think the kids could get the truck out alone, and I doubted I could add much – but ah, here’s a fellow with a shovel. I’d never met him before. I don’t know where he came from. Doesn’t matter: he has a shovel.
He dug out the ruts. Gave the driver the signal. The boys piled on to the end of the truck, ready to push. I waved them off – not a great idea, guys, he’s going to have to rock it to get out. Wait ’til he gets over the hump. The driver gunned it, let the truck fall back, gunned it again, and we all knew: this was it. Everyone, adults and kids, found a spot on the back of the truck, and lent our legs and backs. WHrrrrrRRRRRR! Then the raw scrape of the tire finding pavement, the high whine of ice and snow spun into the air, the satisfying certainty that we have liftoff. The Amazon truck found purchase and escaped its slough of despond.
The boys leaped and hooted and shouted with triumph: they’d done it! Best day ever! Together they had matched wits with the elements, and prevailed! The man with the shovel stuck it in the snowbank like he was planting Excalibur. We all exchanged manly nods and that was that.
Snow’s the worst thing about living in these parts. It’s also the best.Published in