I went out early this morning, all bundled up, to take a second pass at unburying my driveway from the recent blizzard. I was actually pleasantly surprised at how little snow had blown back into my driveway. I was expecting foot-and-a-half drifts. I mostly just had an inch or two here and there to move.
The top of my driveway, up near the garage, is nice ‘n’ flat. Get about 15 feet away from the garage, though, and you begin a steep plunge down to street level over the remaining three-fifths of the driveway. So winter presents some challenges, namely getting the Gregmobile up to the flat part without sliding back into the street, or sliding sideways as your wheels spin at a breakneck pace trying to urge the vehicle up the hill.
So when I shovel, I like to get that nice flat part done first as a bit of a warmup for the main event. Shoveling down the hill is no real problem. I sometimes just put the shovel blade in position, get in a slight crouch, and let gravity drag my girth to the bottom, along with whatever snow stands in my way. That usually works best when there’s been at least a little period of low 30’s snow, so there’s a nice slippery sheen under whatever snow I’m wanting to move. The problem becomes, if there’s that sheen, once you’re at the bottom of the driveway it can be a little tricky to trudge back up. I live with a yearly low-grade fear in the winter that one day I’ll topple, and end up sliding into the street, arms a-flailing. Whatever dignity I think I may have would be quickly evaporated.
I had no such issue this morning. The big obstacle today was, not surprisingly, the snow that the city plow deposited at the base of the drive. That ended up being about 40% of today’s job. I was up to it, though, hacking away with abandon until it became a shadow of its former self. I did have one scare though: As I took one big swipe at the pile with the shovel, way at the bottom I saw…a sleeve. “Dear Lord,” I thought, “there’s somebody in there!” This was a short-lived thought, luckily, as it soon became clear that it was snow puffing up that sleeve, not an arm.
With a violent tug I was able to free the garment from its snowy final resting place. It looks like quite a nice shirt actually. It’s a man’s button down shirt, dark blue with white pinstripes. I was unable to determine what designer label may or may not have once adorned it, as the shirt was not only frozen stiff but also quite mangled. Couldn’t determine a size either, and with a good part of my shoveling project still ahead of me, I consigned it to the garbage can. A shame, really.
It made me wonder, who takes off their shirt in the middle of a blizzard and leaves it for a plow to whisk away? I live near enough to both Coe and Mount Mercy colleges that it occurred to me that it might have been a part of some disturbing fraternity hazing ritual. As such, I was sure not to touch it with my bare hands. God knows what might have precipitated the doffing of that garment.
At the same time, finding that shirt made me somewhat hopeful. It was like winning the lottery, on a very rednecky kind of scale. I was awarded a shirt by the snowplow Gods today. Maybe next time it will be a flat screen TV.
One can hope.