Scott & Mary
Brewster House Bed & Breakfast, Freeport, Maine
Thanks to my children, one of the few skills I’ve learned in life is that there are times when you need to be able to laugh at yourself, and this one’s a classic!
Needless to say, our snow blower has had some serious exercise this winter. Before the recent thaw, when the snowpack was at its peak here, we had a veritable glacial pack of ice on the slope of our driveway, leading down to the lower parking lot. So, about a week and a half ago, my sister and I were headed out for a ski day, but the afternoon/ evening before we were bathed in about a foot of powder snow. Of course, the inn-keeper cannot leave the inn and Mrs. Innkeeper in such an inaccessible situation, so after digging out a path from the cellar to the driveway for my trusty snow-blower, this veteran team (Scott and his trusted Ariens) headed down the path to attack the blanket covering the driveway.
Before we started our snow clearing campaign, my Wife warned that I should be wearing my elastic/ metal stud cleats over my boots, but of course I knew I could handle the ice with only the aid of my vintage LL Bean boots, and gazelle-like reflexes. Well, it was SLICK as I and my trusted machine turned down slope, but only on the return up-slope swing would the folly of my ways become apparent! About a third of the way up the hill, my feet started to slip and at the same time, it was so slick (think hockey rink), the snow-blower itself started sliding left as the knobby tires were desperately clawing for grip. At about this point, yours truly assumed the grace of a seal on wet seaweed, so helpless that my death-grip on the blower handles only limited a catastrophic collapse to a cursing, graceless slide down-hill. “Damn” I thought, “better get the cleats as Mary suggested.” A PAINFUL MOMENT INDEED!
I managed to use the rougher snow beside the driveway to slog my way back up the driveway, muttering curses, to climb back inside (head bent low, having lost the first skirmish) and do as Mary suggested, before we went back into battle. Having pulled my trusty LL Bean cleats over my boot soles, I headed back out to whop that hill. OK, so now I can JUST make it up the hill, but the snow-blower is not wearing the same cleats. The only strategy that got us both up the hill was the “dig into the deep side” with the left blower wheel, but it was crystal clear that the hill was NOT to be defeated that night. So, with visions of being mangled by a helpless Ariens snow-blower, we reduced our plan to flanking the enemy, cleaning off only the upper driveway. Man, am I clever, or what?
After about ½ course up the upper lot, I felt the one cleat drop off of my boot. OK, OK, so I STOMP back over to the back steps with the lost cleat in hand, plant my butt on the step and stretch that freakin thing back over my boot! A couple of turns up and down the upper parking lot, I became aware that my left foot was feeling noticeably higher than my right, realizing with great irritation that one of the cleats had dropped off of my right boot AGAIN, searched up and down the lot for the bright red cleat. UNBELIEVEABLY, that red cleat had disappeared! ALRIGHT THEN, maybe it’ll show up in Spring!
So, I managed to follow the blower to the end of the job with my weird gait, left foot higher than right. I should explain at this point that one cannot wear cleats on one’s beautiful maple wood floor without making it into a “distressed” floor, so there is a delicate ballet that goes with donning and removing them, as one leaves and re-enters the house. After climbing back through the back door to drop my rear end onto the chair and wondering if I’d ever see the right cleat again, I removed the remaining cleat from my left boot. As the cleat came off my left boot, I could feel something strange under the cleat. You know the Beatles song “When I’m 64?” There was cleat #2, RIGHT UNDER CLEAT #1!!
My Wife and Sister didn’t stop laughing and gasping for air for at least ½ hour! TOTALLY PATHETIC! Skiing was excellent the next day though!