That was a week of hard winter we just had. The snowthrower, which I had repaired twice this fall, has been getting a workout and I’m glad I went to the trouble of getting it fixed.
But I finally cried uncle on the sidewalk. Living on Cedar Road, it’s not the same shoveling job as clearing the sidewalk on a side streets. Every time the plows come by, they throw up thick slush, which flies across the narrow tree lawn and freezes onto the walkway in ice chunks the size of cinder blocks. On a close, gray winter day it looks less like a cityscape than a moonscape.
The city has a small plow for sidewalks that it occasionally sends up and down Cedar Road. It’s a welcome relief – for homeowners and pedestrians alike. For instance, it’s the only time the extended frontage of Cedar Hill Baptist Church ever gets cleared. But the service is sporadic and I think it’s only been down my part of Cedar once this season – and it wasn’t last week.
Working from a home office, I’ve become sensitive to the large number of people who walk up and down Cedar Road at all times on even the worst winter days; I don’t know how they do it. I try to keep the walkway clean in front of my house and that of my elderly next-door neighbors. But fewer than half the nearby homeowners seem to share this sense of responsibility. And after this week’s snowstorm, ice storm and multiple refreezes, the walk became impassable and I finally gave up too.
On Saturday, my wife and I had been invited to a party at the house of some friends who live on the opposite side of our block. We walked, but the sidewalks were treacherous with an ankle-twisting combination of calf-deep snow atop an uneven bed of ice chunks. So we walked in Cedar Road, in the dark, facing oncoming traffic and speed-walking from one driveway apron to the next.
Which is why I was out front Sunday morning, pushing the snowblower through the slush and ice to create some kind of even walking surface.
(By the way, the Good Neighbor Award goes to the folks on Chatfield Drive. On a walk with my dog, I noted that every sidewalk on both sides of the street’s entire length had been shoveled.)