When I was a kid, I loved snow. During those years, it seems we always had a white Christmas. Snow seemed to be on the ground until at least mid-April. Following a storm, snow remained pure white right up to the next snowstorm. In New England, snow was pretty, snowstorms were frequent, snowfall more significant, and most of the time we still had school.
Today, I don’t look forward to snow, although snowstorms are not as frequent, and snowfall amounts are considerably less. Today, the pristine white snow does not remain so white. Instead, the snow cover turns a speckled mixture of black and brown particles from exhaust soot of automobiles and sand from sanding trucks. There are unsightly snow mounds lining streets and parking lots. Increases in traffic volume makes travel in the snow dreadfully difficult, and in ways more hazardous now than then.
As far as I am concerned, a little snow for Christmas is all we really need.
Nonetheless, every year, snow invokes fond memories of my dad, although I didn’t realize it at the time, he must not have looked forward to winter’s snow then, no more than I do now.
My dad grew up in a home for boys. He was not a stranger to hard times or hard work. He was tough as nails, yet, he was an exceptionally loyal, gentle, soft-spoken man. He never had a bad word to say about anyone. I never knew of a day that he stayed home from work, mom said he never did. Dad never spoke harshly to me, or criticized me, and I don’t remember a time when he found it necessary to punish me. Through his example and leadership, he helped me to grow.
We live in the same 200-year-old home with the same 230 x 15′ driveway that requires snow removal as dad did. Except today, we have three different sized snow blowers; a luxury my dad never had.
I remember dad putting tire chains on his car and shoveling the length and width of that same driveway so he could go to work — sometimes in the evening after he got home from work, but just as often early in the morning so he could leave to get to work by seven.
I remember days when dad needed to make repairs on his car. Car mechanics were not as abundant as they are today. No matter how long it took, he would repair the car, shovel the snow, then eat supper and go to bed.
In those days, there were not many good roads, highways or expressways. It was a long ride of intertwining and interconnecting streets to get to work. A roundtrip of about 100-miles. It must have been a precarious journey. What would normally take two hours today, took my dad probably around 4 hours then, and even longer after it snowed or in a snowstorm.
Through the years, I have always emulated dad’s work ethic and embraced his values. I have never looked forward to winter’s snow, but I endured the snow, car problems, and all of life’s other hassles because of my dad’s example and leadership. Now I’m retired, something my dad never got a chance to enjoy. The company laid my dad off after many years of fidelity to his job. Shortly after, he suffered a stroke, and left this life at sixty-two years old.
When things got tough, Mom told me that my dad would say, “Tomorrow will be a better day.” But that better day never came for my dad.