When Dave returned to Hubbard from San Diego on Friday evening the snow was coming down fast and furious. This wasn’t one of those dry Canadian clippers with the consistency of light powder, it was a southern storm laden with wet gulf moisture. By the time Dave had eaten dinner and gone out to the garage the snow was so deep that the plow on his John Deere tractor couldn’t even push the stuff ten feet. It was time to get serious and break out “Old Simp”, his trusty five-horse, two stage, snow blower!
By the time the weekend was over, Hubbard had received 29 inches of snow. Dave spent 16 hours grabbing the handles of Old Simp, blowing tons of snow from the driveway and sidewalks. Dave’s Simplicity snow blower was purchased thirty years ago at a store in downtown Hubbard. About fifteen years ago the blower required new bearings and bushings on the main auger shaft but the dealer was going out of business and told Dave that the repairs would be so expensive that he should buy a new blower instead. That’s when Dave’s friend, an old-timer named Bill Waller, volunteered to repair Old Simp. A week later, after ten bucks worth of parts and four hours of labor, Old Simp working as good as new! Both Bill and the store owner passed away years ago, but the old snow blower lives on, grinding through show banks and flailing ice and slush fifteen feet in the air.
During the weekend Dave was visited at least ten times by neighborhood students from Hubbard State University. College students almost never pay any attention to Dave but because he owns a snow shovel he was as popular as a rock star during the blizzard weekend. You might wonder what a college student does with a snow shovel. I’ll give you a hint; it has nothing to do with cleaning the snow from sidewalks, driveways, or steps. It has everything to do with digging out the college kid’s car! Once the car is shoveled free from the prison of its temporary snow bank a snow shovel has absolutely no other possible earthly use!
Marsh Lipper Daley, the mayor of Hubbard, received more phone calls from constituents during and after the blizzard than any time in her political career. Like all towns in Wisconsin, Hubbard has a lot of plows, trucks, and city workers to deal with snow storms. However, snow-removal infrastructure is intended to handle the average snow fall, not 29 inches in 28 hours. This time the snow was so deep that it couldn’t simply be plowed to the side of the road. The snow banks from the plows reached five feet tall along the streets, necessitating the use of front end loaders and dump trucks to haul the white stuff away. The rutted streets looked like a war zone, with stalled cars facing various directions as if they had been flung about by a tornado. It was a catch 22. Drivers couldn’t move their cars because they were buried in snow, yet plows couldn’t get down the street because cars were in the way. An endless line of dump trucks rotated from the streets to the east end dump, where the snow was deposited in piles reaching over twenty feet in height. Marsha’s phone rung relentlessly. Everyone wanted the snow removed…immediately. What’s a politician to do?
For a person who has never witnessed this enormous amount of snow, the situation would be almost unimaginable. Even for Hubbardites the storm was an occasion, as it was the largest single snowfall in fifteen years. Dave wasn’t excited about spending his entire weekend behind a snow blower, having thought of at least a hundred better ways to spend a weekend while his tired hands gripped the handles of Old Simp. However, Dave was philosophical about the blizzard. After all, if you’re from Wisconsin you better know how to live with snow. Complaining about snow is unpatriotic for a true Wisconsinite; if you don’t like snow or want to deal with it, you should shut up and move somewhere else.
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