Good Side of a Winter Day


I chipped away at the iciest windshield I’d seen in a long time – maybe ever.
I wished Kathie’s play practice had been canceled like so many other events, but I started the van an hour before we needed to leave just to make sure it would be clear of thick snow piled over a layer of sleet that had iced over the first layer of snow.
Often, small talk in the used clothing shop where I work is about weather, and one conversation was coming back to haunt me as I scraped.
“Yes,” was the response to my comment about how mild January had been, “but we’re going to pay for it sooner or later.” A few short weeks later, sooner won out.
The severe cold snap prompted us to bring our dog Lydia inside. We’d been led to believe that she was not house dog material, but so far, she’s behaving well. It’s sad we haven’t had her in with us all along instead of being tethered, most of the time, on a run near her dog house.
While she’s tied, any movement within her sight prompts her persistent bark, bark, barking, which creates contradictory conclusions. She makes a wonderful watchdog, but she’s a terrific annoyance to anyone who wants peace during the day – particularly one who works shifts and already is at a disadvantage trying to sleep when it’s daylight.
Having her inside keeps her barking at bay.
There was no bark to tip me off when a rap on the front door brought me face to face with several kids bundled against the cold and carrying shovels. They offered to clear our driveway – “around your van so you can get out” was their pertinent pitch. Having watched Mark struggle to free his car, and not being sure he’d be back in time to do the rest of the driveway, I readied my consent asking, “What will you charge?”
The spokesperson, my neighbor Michael, pushed a folded paper at me. “That’s our price list,” he explained as I unfolded the sheet revealing a list of fees that had obviously been discussed and decided upon in advance.
I skimmed down to the line “Driveway – $10.”
“Per child?” I asked, immediately regretting that I’d chosen the word child, but this crew, unfazed by how I said what I said, simply wanted me to give the OK.
“For the job;” Michael said, “for everybody.”
“I’d be happy to take a buck,” piped in Michael’s little sister, Zoe.
“I’ll give you more than that,” I agreed, and, descending from my door to the drive, the shovels and snow began to fly.
When more knocking informed me they’d finished, I fished for my wallet realizing I should have checked it first since my go-to-guy for extra cash (husband Mark) wasn’t home. Finding a $10 and three $1s, I pulled them all out and handed them to Michael saying, “I don’t have change. I don’t know how you’re going to divide this up.”
“Don’t worry, I’ll take it. I’m taking care of paying everybody when we’re done.”
The eager entrepreneurs were evidently anticipating more work.
Wintry days can be troublesome, but they can also be good for pampering old dogs and making a few bucks.

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