Last winter, when I was about eight months pregnant, we let our driveway ice over something awful.
My husband was outside for three hours trying to break it up. Exhausted, he came in and asked me to come out and give him a hand.
I was outside for less than a minute, before our neighbors from two houses down appeared with their metal shovels (our plastic ones were making no headway).
“Don’t you look knackered!” my neighbor told me as she and her husband made short work of the ice.
“I should have asked you to come outside three hours ago,” my husband muttered.
Within ten minutes the four of us had the driveway clear.
My husband and I were grateful but embarrassed.
“Don’t worry,” my neighbor told me. “The driveway on the corner is iced over, too.”
I have a feeling ex-patriots are living there as well.
This was not the first time wonderful neighbors have helped us deal with snow and ice.
I can’t tell you how many mornings I woke up to catch the teenage son of our next door neighbors blowing the snow from our walkway.
We remember what it was like to be a teenager, and how helpful it is to have a few extra dollars to take your girlfriend to a movie, buy a video game, or save for a car. So we tried offering him some cash as a thank you. He refused to take it.
We’ve since learned our offer of cash is a huge Newfoundland faux pas.
Last December, we visited family for most of the month, and while we were gone our neighbors shoveled our driveway so the house would look lived in.
I attempted to show my gratitude by delivering baked goods, but apparently, this “tit for tat” reciprocation is also not appropriate.
So I have to admit, the coming snow makes me uneasy.
Without baking thank you cookies, or handing out Tim Horton’s cards, how do we show our appreciation?
“I’m thinking of purchasing a snow blower, just so we can participate in the early morning neighborhood snow clearing sessions,” I told one of my new Canadian friends.
“What will you do with it when you move back to Texas?” she asked.
I imagined a small shrine in our Texas garage proudly displaying our snow blower, our winter coats, and a small sled.
Our baby, all grown up, looks at the device in wonder and asks us to tell her more about that strange phenomenon, snow, we once revelled in.
My friend dismissed this image with a quick eye roll.
“The next time your neighbors go out of their way to clear your driveway, just say thank you and stop worrying about it,” she told me.
“I’ll do one better, and publicly thank them in my column!” I said excitedly.
“You’re really missing the point,” she said.
Thanks for all your help last winter! We appreciate your kindness and we are amazed by how effortlessly it flows from you. Please don’t get too mad at me if I show up at your door with brownies. I’ll try not to turn my oven on the minute you guys do something kind, but it is a compulsion that is hard to kick.
Published in the Clarenville Packet