Its another snowy and blustery day here in western New York. Not an uncommon experience for this area and this time of the year, but I still watch them happen with a sense of awe. Awe in how beautiful a fresh coating of snow can transform the drudgery of winter streets and yards. And awe as people continue to go about their business – clearing their driveways and walkways so they can head off to work, filling into the shopping centers and even taking advantage of a snow covered hill for seasonal outdoor fun!
Its easy for me to sit back and enjoy the beauty of a snowfall, because I don’t really have to go out in it, if I don’t choose to. Working from home for over a decade has it’s benefits and this is definitely one of them!
I am watching with interest, and a little giggle, as my husband is working to clear the first round of overnight snowfall from our pretty lengthy driveway. I giggle because it is fun watching him work to keep up with James, the young man who has been shoveling our driveway for some extra cash for the past several years. A young man more than half his age. Bill doesn’t have to be out there, as James is quite happy to take the job on by himself. Yet Bill, in some ways, enjoys the chance of a workout and to chat with someone other than me!
They are about half done when they pop in for a break, and for Bill, a cup of fresh hot coffee. James does not accept my offer of coffee, hot cocoa, water, juice or soda. Nor does he accept my offer of a scarf or gloves! I giggle again to see him with his Marvin the Martian green toque (Canadian for knit cap, for my southern friends!), and yet he has never worn gloves in all the years he has worked for us. Last year I offered him my warmest deerskin gloves, which he graciously declined. I offered to knit him a cap and scarf, which he also declined. So I am very happy to at least see a hat on his head this season!
I hear them chatting away about shoveling techniques and their plan of action for the back 40 (40 feet, that is) of the driveway. They move on to hunting and different ways of enjoying venison. From our conversations with James over the years, I get the impression that there may not be a good male role model in his life. He has a good work ethic though, and is a very polite and friendly boy. And Bill enjoys his time with him!
The boys head back out. Out to where the highest dunes of snow have accumulated from the wind. As I settle back down at my computer, I notice that the front driveway is once again covered in snow – seemingly erasing any trace of their hard work so far. The boys take it in stride and simply continue on their quest to reach blacktop.
In the end, James will walk away with some spending money and Bill with a good workout and ready for a nap! And yet as I watch them out there – working in harmony, one pushing the snow as the other piles it along the driveways edge – I think about the comradery being enjoyed. Lessons shared and learned – on both sides of the generation gap. Lessons that hard work does not have to be a burden, and that one generation can enjoy the company of another – even if that time together is in the middle of a windy and snowy day!