I love the first snow of the season. And the second. And third.
So get out your shovels, snow blowers and Aleve and keep an eye out for those first flakes of winter. Technically, it’s not winter until December 21st, but tell that to anyone who enjoyed the April Fools’ Day storm in 1997.
Of course, Cape Cod’s biggest snow storm in recent years blasted us on Sunday, January 23, 2005. We were to host a Patriots playoff party that afternoon, but ended up watching the game by ourselves in the cozy confines of our soon-to-be igloo.
The next morning, I struggled to peer out the windows to size up the previous night’s winter tidings, but every window was nearly opaque with snow and ice and steamed up instantly with my breath. I proceeded to the front door and very carefully opened it, just a crack, to survey the accumulation.
What I saw, instead, was a wall of snow that covered the entire doorway. That was a tad unsettling, knowing that the rest of our exit doors had attached screens that swung out. How, exactly, were we going to get out?
I pulled the snow shovel from the coat closet and slowly opened the door enough to start pushing the snow away at the top of the doorframe. In a few minutes I had cleared the doorway and our impatient black lab, Maggie, dashed out to relieve herself. Only she completely disappeared into the snowdrift and was unable to move.
I continued to shovel out to where she had vanished and uncovered a wagging tail attached to an embarrassed, 75-pound coal black dog statue. Turns out that I was the black Labrador retriever this morning, not her.
With three feet of snow and twelve-foot snowdrifts, it was a morning I’ll never forget. I dug a series of trenches for Maggie so she could do her business without fear of becoming a popsicle. I also dug a walkway out to the SUV, which we had cleverly parked in the driveway close to the street. After the plow driver came by, we only had about five feet of snow to shovel from behind the car to access the street.
By 10:00 a.m., we were able to make it out of the neighborhood and get to the office. Many other people, I acknowledge, were stuck for up to three days, due to the shortage of heavy plow trucks. The normal fleet of private snow plowers, operating their half-ton and three-quarter-ton pickup trucks, were useless in over 30 inches of snow.
The office temperature (inside) was 37 degrees Fahrenheit (see Taking The Temperature of Danny G. for an explanation of the competing temperature scales). Snow had covered the exhaust vent pipe and caused the heater to shut down. So, rather than balancing debits and credits with our frosty number two pencils, we went for a ride to see the storm’s aftermath and shot the pictures that follow.
Although, as an elected town official, I’m concerned about the stress such storms put on our budget, there’s a little voice in my head (among several, unfortunately) that says “I wonder what a 4-foot snow storm would be like…”