With snowy weather comes fresh (if blustery) opportunities to help out fellow homeowners. I know this from experience: More than once this winter I’ve been happily surprised by a big-hearted neighbour making quick work of my driveway with his personal snowplow. And my daughter, when she’s out shovelling, makes a point of clearing a path for the folks next door to us. When you’re Canadian, shovelling snow is an easy way to commit a kindness.
Or maybe sometimes not so easy. Yesterday morning, while out walking, I encountered my elderly neighbour struggling to shovel the heavy, wet chunks of snow blocking his driveway. This particular man, in his 80s, has had hip replacements and heart bypass surgery. That’s not exactly someone you want to see wrestling with a heavy load in cold weather.
I was more than willing to step in. Just one problem: This elderly cardiac patient is also a rather cantankerous fellow. He’s cordial enough when you stop to pet his dog or talk about the weather, but, apparently, don’t try to take his shovel away. “I’m fine,” he said when I offered him a hand. When I gently persisted, he angrily snapped: “I don’t need help! I can do whatever I want.”
I’m no girl scout, so far be it for me to force a senior across the street who doesn’t actually want to go. I left the man to his chore (with crossed fingers). Fickle February snow, you may be the reason my crotchety neighbour lashed out at me, but soon you’ll be vanquished for another year. March couldn’t come soon enough.