Winter woes and good neighbors

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First, a redaction. Y’all may remember that I stated in last weekend’s column that I love shoveling snow. I’d like to amend that statement to read, “I absolutely abhor shoveling snow and if I lived the rest of my days without doing it again that would be just fine with me.”

Good. Glad we got that out of the way.

How’s winter treating you? We here at the Mountain Messenger have been trading stories about our adventures in the snow, some amusing, some, well, not so much. First of all we have one man down: our office manager broke her ankle in two places on Saturday. I’m not sure how she did it, I just know that on Facebook she made some reference to “not being as young as she used to be.” Yep. I feel you, sister.

My other co-worker, who has lived in Renick and driven Subarus since the ‘80s, has been regaling us with tales of ending up sideways in the driveway as she attempts to climb her hill every morning. Meanwhile, my co-editor, another Subaru driver, has arrived to work without incident, but that may change at any moment when she hits the brakes and the foot and a half of snow she’s been carrying around on top of her car slides down onto her windshield.

The publisher had a good one. Apparently on Sunday, he drove his SUV down the mountain to get a look at the main road, but then got stuck when he tried to go back up. He spent four hours shoveling, he said, because he had to get his car out of the way for the snowplow he’d hired to come clear the lane.

The ad guy’s truck is completely down. I think his clutch went out. And my SUV, well, my SUV has to be towed to Charleston in order to get a new suspension system. I’ve been borrowing my father-in-law’s car for a while, but it’s now stuck in my driveway. I’m now officially on Plan C, which basically involves catching rides into town with my husband. His truck has almost 300,000 miles on it; it’s pretty much held together with sawdust and duct tape and somehow it’s become our primary vehicle.

So that’s awesome.

But! We are West Virginians! We DO snow! We can handle it!

I know so many of us are so grateful to our neighbors who came out this weekend and plowed our lanes (I’d like to give a shout out to Josh Lipton, who used a tractor to plow our lane this weekend. Hope you find that bolt you lost in the snow, buddy). I think the fact that almost everyone I know had someone come and plow out their driveway is a real testament to our community. I even heard members of the Lewisburg Police Department were shoveling driveways on Court Street. Isn’t that just the embodiment of community spirit?

I love how in times like these we bond over our troubles and struggles.

“How much snow did YOU get?” we ask each other at the lunch counter.

“Y’all have any trouble getting out?”

“Ya’ keeping warm?”

Yes, talking about the weather is considered small talk, but also, it’s a way of reaching out to your fellow humans and asking them, actually, “Are you OK? How are you holding up?”

Because winter is cold and the roads are treacherous. Our cars slide on the ice and break down in the freezing temperatures. We’re burning wood, oil, propane and money, trying to keep our houses warm. School is cancelled and delayed, and we’re scrambling to find a place for our kids to go. So we share our stories over hot coffee, and we thank our neighbors who have our backs.

And of course, we look forward to spring. As my daddy always says, “It’s just around the corner.”