It was laughable when I looked at my driveway yesterday. Completely aside from the 2 feet of snow drifted by the back door and nearly as much around my small car, I had been way plowed in. But since the 4WD truck already had headed away, not to return for mui hours, I said a small thank you for telecommuting and turned back to my desk.

We have been plowed more this year than any other I can recall. We are on an entirely residential street that is only about a block and a half long, so we ordinarily get plowed two, maybe three times a winter. I have seen salt trucks and plows three times in the last two weeks, with my own eyes. Yesterday, they just left big piles of evidence.

Eventually the truck would return, so I sent the boy for gas for the snowblower. He struggled a bit on the return, one hand carrying 5 gallons of gas and the other controlling 80 or so pounds of Lab puppy, but stomped snow back into the house. Just then our neighbor with the plow strapped to the front of the truck started revving up my driveway.

He had done this once before this winter, but it wasn’t anything we expected. On this day, though, it was especially nice, and I stepped out onto the porch waving. He smiled but wouldn’t stop to talk, and left the neighborhood when he was done.

Into the kitchen and into the basement freezer I headed, packing up homemade cookies and pheasant to leave by his back door. (We’ve given him walleye before, but the fish larder is bare.) It’s not why he did it, I’m sure, but I don’t take his good will for granted and I want him to know it. Why is figuring out the right way to express gratitude hard sometimes?

This post originally appeared on, the online home of the Midland (MI) Daily News. Republished with permission.

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