Blue and White

It was a harsh snow, coming on the heels of a spoof of spring. I had gone out to begin plowing early, but not early enough. The accumulation had already topped half a ruler and was gaining the top. Removal would be tedious. But the greater concern was the ice forming underneath. It was not a kind snow. It stung on contact.

We knew the snow was coming. My goodness, you can see what the weather is going to be like a year in advance! So most of us make plans, a bottle of whiskey not the best option until plowing is done. However, like the infamous philosopher Mike Tyson said, “everyone has a plan, until they get punched in the mouth.” We got punched! Just two days earlier the sun had soaked the snow enshrined ground and made headway into its distillation. Not this day. And I had forgotten what the prediction had said a year ago! When the dark clouds began forming, my preparations began. Gas the tractor. Secure the snow gear from the closet (the closet floor) where they had been placed two days earlier. Bother.

My Oldest daughter works at a day care facility. She, being reliable like her mother, gets the early morning shift so to smile at crying children. This means she deploys from the house around 5:15 to be at the shop by 5:30 a.m. She drives a Buick Grand Am with a floor clearance of about 1/2 inch! My task is to get the driveway cleared to access the county road. Most days we get the job done. Some times we use Mom’s Expedition with its 5 feet of clearance and drive her. We have plans C and D but the best way is to man up and get her path “cleared.” Crap.

I had plowed enough by the time she needed to be off. Enough for her to make the road. Our house sits on a hill so I suspected her vehicle would be alright once nosed down and on its way. I offered to have her follow me as insurance. (She needs to go to school right after she gets off work.) She accepted my offer and we lined the cars. As I moved down the drive all seemed good. Presumptuous! I thought she would wait until I bottomed the asphalt before following. I therefore stopped 2/3 of the way down to pour a cup of coffee. Mistake. She had started down before the coffee hit the bottom of the cup. My bad! I watched her coming and quickly released myself to the road. She had already touched the brake and put the car into an “automatic” slide. She came to rest against the snowbank. We both knew that the Grand AM was not going to go anywhere. She jumped in and off we went settling on plan C, my driving her in my car. (The rest of the alphabet plans were geared for when I was 30.)

I dropped her off and promised to be back to pick her up for school. I EVEN said that I would not try the driveway but park down at the bottom of the drive. But when I arrived back at the house, a little voice cheered in my head, “ah, you can do it!” I proceeded to accelerate up the drive. The spinning began half way up and the complete stoppage and tire burning at the 2/3 marker. Uh oh. I came to full rest just below the crest of the flat upper part. I had gotten the car to the side, just up from where the hip hugging Buick had secured itself. Now two cars were staring at me saying, “Ya think??!!”

Exiting the car and clamoring back onto the tractor, I began pushing snow again, maintaining the top and staying away from the cars. The weather was to warm up and the snow to melt by afternoon. But it was still coming down at Clipper speed and if I did not want a swimming pool I had to get it off the pavement. I actually was calm, but then again there was no one around to yell at! And then that little voice chirped again. “Go down alongside the cars so there will be a path up and down the drive.” There WAS a path, but ice was beginning to build up. Rationalizing! It would probably be fine by pickup time, but I listened anyway. (Before you think that I listen to that voice all the time, I don’t, but I am stubborn my daughter’s tell me.)

I lowered the front bucket to scrape the forming ice and began to descend. Oops. I instantly began following the “grade” which pointed toward the cars instead of the intended path. My car was getting closer. I lifted the bucket off the cement and cranked the front tires away. “Forget about it!” You got it, right?! I had one option that boycotted panic. That was to tilt the bucket so that it would “cup” the front end of the car and do minimal damage. Minimal in that perhaps I could keep the damage under $1000. Whump! What, not Crash and Gouge? I turned off the green machine and slid off the seat, settled on the ground and held on to the tractor so I would not end up splayed at the end of the driveway. Making my way to the bucket, I wondered if one or both headlights were sightless. Peering around I noticed two distinct images; that the car was uninjured and that the bucket was full of sticky snow that had remained in the bucket after the last dump. Hey, hey, hey! I then looked at the position of my car and saw that it had been moved back about two feet. It now was sitting quite plainly on level ground out of the ice grooves. “Try and drive it down.” Oh no, that familiar voice. But I was “feeling it!” Why not? I clambered in and started it up. The other car was dead behind about 30 feet away. Just needed the tires to grip. If the tires did not grip, I, or rather my KIA would be kissing the Grand Am; a kiss which would cost a bit more than a Red Light Lady! Test my luck?!

I put my car in reverse.

Late that afternoon a friend stopped over for coffee. Daughter had made school, the snow on the drive was melting nicely, and I was applying heat to my leg. As we looked out on the open deck, sun splashed now, we were pleasantly amazed. It was covered with Bluebirds!! Hundreds more were scattered over the grounds. They were brilliant in their blue and offsetting white patched with red. Spring. It was a beautiful visage. Most likely they had been driven south by the now dead storm and were regrouping to begin their offense back north. Their colors strikingly offset the whiteness now draining slowly away. Spring was trumping winter. The coffee tasted so good.

Oh, sorry, I did miss her car! Maybe by four inches??!

A week later we received 17 inches of snow over the course of a night and a day. I had to pry my wet ass off the tractor seat and lay in a tub of hot water. I guess winter had some reserves.

I did not see any Bluebirds.

I think they are in Mexico.

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