Niagara Gazette

Columns

March 12, 2014

BRADBERRY: Memories of winters of discontent

Niagara Gazette — This weather reminds me of the good old days before snow blowers, when snow was snow and boys were boys.

Back in those days the primary source of income for me and best bud Tom during the winter months was shoveling sidewalks and driveways; when it snowed, it really snowed.

I used to think that my memories of snow drifts over my head were distorted by my relative height when I was a kid. I was a little shorter then.

Now I’m starting to believe that it really does snow again like it used to.

It was not uncommon for school to be canceled at least one or two days a year due to snow. There was nothing more exciting than to wake up early on a school day and hear WJJL’s Jimmy Thompson and WHLD’s Eddie Joe announcing the school closings.

Mom always had plenty of housework to keep all of us kids busy, making us wish we could get back to school.

I remember blinding blizzards driving the snow so hard that it seemed to be coming down sideways. It was so cold that the snow was as fine as powdered sugar, the wind blowing so hard that we could actually feel the house straining against it.

When it shifted, the wind would sometimes create little tornadoes that would pick up anything not nailed down and blow it around the neighborhood. I used to sit in my bedroom, my nose against the window, and watch the winter fury, amazed that the trees could bear it, knowing that Tom and I were going to make a small fortune shoveling it.

No matter how many times my dad warned me not to take his tools away from the house and to always put them back where they belonged when I was finished with them, I was determined to do otherwise, to defy common sense and have things my way, no matter what.

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