Tuesday, February 1, 2011


Two rounds of shoveling today prompted me to compose a new but already trite simile:  "as futile as shoveling in a blizzard."

Technically, I don't think we're quite at blizzard force winds yet.  The weather folks promise that by around 11pm.  It sure was whippin' when my son and I went out to shovel around dinner time.  If that wasn't blizzard winds, I don't want to see what blizzard winds are.

Early in the day, I sent all the boys out with the admonition to shovel our own drive and the sidewalks all the way to the neighbors' driveways.  I prattled on about being a good neighbor, serving others, small favors, delivering more than you promise and the like.  They more or less cheerfully complied, though their task was made a bit easier by the fact that one neighbor beat them to the good deed.

About 40 minutes into our pointless venture this evening, moving 6 inches or so of heavy snow only to have half of it blow back in our faces, I yelled across the driveway to my son, "Just do our part of the sidewalks.  This is too tough.  The neighbors will have to do their own."

He hesitated for just a moment and looked at me.

"Crap, " I thought.

Now, I'm not proud I thought this.  Mostly because my two oldest kids read my blog and they are always scandalized to learn that their mother thinks words like "crap."  They tend to chide me for this and my other indiscretions.  You should have heard the uproar when I said "butt cheeks" earlier in the day.  In our home, the preferred term is bunky.  Yes, really.  It's an oddity from my husband's family of origin that we've adopted.  The kids told me in all seriousness a few weeks back that they thought "sexy" was a swear word.

My son didn't say anything, but I knew he was thinking about what I had said earlier in the day.  He kept quiet, having learned that mama can get pretty cross when her little hypocrisies are pointed out.  Or maybe he was weighing honor and integrity against the fact that his hands were numb and we were snow frosted.

I almost had to laugh, thinking how my most recent blog post included a quote about it being easier to live by one's principles 100% of the time rather than 98% of the time.  We shoveled the neighbors' walks.

Our small favor is buried under several fresh inches already, but I hope it won't be so easily erased in my son's mind.  Character is comprised of a thousand small moments like these.


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