A Midwinter Night’s Tale
Sunday afternoon, with temperatures in the teens, I was lured outside by the glow of sun off snow, radiating false hopes of thawing ice and moving machinery. Brandishing a shovel, I soldiered downtown. I was determined to clear away the snow drifts that had held my car hostage since Friday night, when I abandoned it downtown- for reasons that will be left to the imagination.
After a long cold march, I reached my car. Try as I might, I couldn’t shovel away the layer of ice that clung to the concrete near my tires.
Suddenly, I heard a voice booming,
“Hey, remember me?”
I glanced up and a former client appeared in front of my eyes, riding on a small snowplow.
He parked beside my car and jumped down off the snowplow, clad in a glowing, lemon-colored vest and wearing a hardhat.
“You remember me, right? Andre Johnson? I’m doing great! Got this job with the city and all clean!”
His face was beaming brighter than the sun reflecting off the snow.
“Wow! Congrats!” I said, leaning against my car and grasping the shovel handle.
“Put away that useless shovel,”‘ he commanded, “I’ll dig you out!”
He hopped back onto the seat of the plow. Within minutes, he had scooped the ice away from both my front and rear tires.
Again, he jumped off the plow, then stood behind my car.
“Gun it now! Don’t stop! I’ll push!”
I slid into the car and did as told. I felt a push from behind and in the blink of an eye, the car glided into the road. I stopped a block uphill and parked curbside, in a space devoid of snow.
Exiting the car, I turned around to see Andre downhill, waving and smiling at me.
“Andre! Don’t go yet!” I yelled, and trotted back towards him.
“Thank you!” I said, and shook his hand, “this wasn’t part of your job description.”
“Glad I could help! And don’t you worry, I’ll be staying out of trouble!” he said.
“Me, too,” I retorted, “at least for the rest of the day!”
He gave me a hug, and I reached into my pocket, pulling out all I had–a $10 bill.
“If you can’t accept a payment from me, maybe I can give you a tip?” I asked, holding out the bill.
He looked around. Another city worker in a lemon vest and hardhat was driving a plow in the nearby parking lot.
“Can’t do that either,” he said, “but sometimes, I find money on the ground”.
Slowly, I placed the $10 bill under a small pile of snow on the edge of the road, smiled at Andre, and headed back towards my car. Several seconds later, I turned around and saw Andre bending down towards the pile of snow, then hopping back on his plow.
Glistening, both plow and Andre disappeared into the snowy distance. As I drove away in the opposite direction, it felt like my car was hovering over the white earth.
Maybe we were both aiming for a piece of the wintry sky?