I watched from the window as Dad shoveled a path from the front steps to the corner of the driveway, then working his way around the car and toward the basement door. It was a good hour before he came back into the house for coffee and toast that Mom had ready. About 30 minutes to regroup, and he was out the door again.
He had just walked to the back of the car when I heard the snowplow. Al Boll, the man at the wheel, the Iceman in the summer and plow master in the winter, was also the year around fire chief for the island volunteers. Aaah, the volunteers. These guys took pride in what they did, and they took it very, very seriously. My Dad and Mr. Boll were good friends, but it seemed that once in the dump truck with the snowplow attached, Al Boll turned maniac.
I saw him as he made the crest of the hill, heading toward the driveway. I could almost hear a gleeful chuckle as Boll gripped the steering wheel a little tighter, scrunching his shoulders forward in anticipation of the next few seconds.
Dad’s mouth dropped open, and Boll’s jaw took on a resolute jut.
When he got to within fifteen feet of the driveway, you could hear the engine rev as Boll shifted gears. When he drew even with the driveway, snow was flying from the plow blade, a good ten feet off both sides.
Dad jumped behind the car in time to miss being caught in the avalanche of plowed snow, but Boll had done his damage. There was now a five-foot ridgeline across the front of the entire driveway, and it took another 45-minutes to clear it away.
After Boll’s pass, possibilities for sled runs opened up, and I couldn’t wait to go outside again.
“Ma, can you help me find my sled?” Last year, Santa had given me a beauty.
She had an armful of laundry. “Dad always puts the winter stuff in the furnace room. Look there. I’ve got clothes to wash.”
Sure enough, Dad had stored the sled behind the furnace. I pulled it out, wiped it down, removing seven month’s worth of dust, and put it outside the basement door.
Mom was busy washing clothes, so I got myself ready, neglecting half the items worn earlier. I left through the front door, out the screen porch, and down the front steps, following the path Dad cleared to the driveway. He had gone to work, leaving a snowless rectangle in the driveway where the car was parked. Following the path he shoveled to the basement door, I retrieved my sled and trudged out the driveway to the road, heading for my friends’ homes.
First, I called for Larry, then Johnny. After picking up Ronnie, we headed back to my house. Pulling our sleds four abreast on the plowed road, we split to allow the occasional car to pass, noting with satisfaction the slipping and sliding that took place as they climbed the hill in front of us. Heck, some of them even had to get a second run to make it.
The whole gang knew this only packed the snow, and made for a faster ride.
This was going to be a great winter.
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