Today there’s more snow. Seems we are all being tested. I’m grateful this year’s snow didn’t come last year, my first winter on my own. Somehow this year, the challenge is good for me. Hard, but so far, no tears, at least not from me. My boys are fourteen and sixteen. My girl is ten. She’s not much for shoveling yet, though the first snow she cleared the porch, which was a substantial enough job on it’s own. My fourteen can help, but now the piles are high and both he and I struggle to lift the snow and toss it over the piles. My sixteen seems vastly taller when he arrives in the kitchen this morning in pajama bottoms and sneakers, ready for his shift. He can manage the new long and bent handled shovel which is too long for the rest of us. He’s tall and strong and can hoist snow with the best of them. He gets overwhelmed, though. He says, we can do it this time, but what if there’s more snow, and then he goes on to feel sorry for Boston, quoting a number I cannot verify, saying each inch of snow costs the city a million dollars in snow removal. A truck full of guys drive by each storm. They catch me this time in the late sunny morning feeling a bit bewildered, but smiling, and instead of the thirty dollars they offered and I refused two storms ago, this time they offer forty dollars as their asking price to shovel the whole thing while I drink a cup of tea, and the sales guy in the passenger side with his elbow out the window lifts his pinky to show me what I’m missing, but I thank him, wish him good luck, tell him I have two teenage boys, that they may need to have their attitudes adjusted a little, but they have muscles, and they’ll help me. As the guys drive away, my sixteen upstairs, my fourteen still at his dad’s near noon, my ten not likely to show up for shoveling duty this time, I wonder if I’ll have regrets.

Which reminds me I’m on a short break, came in to get my cell phone, which had been in the handy dandy but forgotten about cell phone pocket of my new orange parka with fur ruff. While searching for it, I remembered the cherry pie in the fridge left from Sunday dinner. Fine way to satiate a shoveler’s appetite. My boy is up and ready to go, heads out while I eat my pie with vanilla ice cream, smile on his face so far, and I think of the lyrics to a John Prine song, which doesn’t really fit, but the one line sure does, Everybody wants to be wanted..snow will do that for you..No choice but to get out there and deal with it, for women, men, teenage boys, and eventually, even young girls.

Back to the berm at the end of the drive. As my women friends have taught me, one of the secrets to shoveling snow is taking breaks. Cherry pie helps, too.

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