Did I Say That?: Praying away the snow day

Joe Pisani bemoans the endless cycle of shoveling snow.

Joe Pisani bemoans the endless cycle of shoveling snow.

Joe Pisani /

Growing up, I was the only kid in the entire town of Shelton who didn’t want a snow day. When I said my prayers at bedtime, I would plead, “PLEASE, God, don’t let it snow!”

Since every other kid in town was praying for snow, I usually lost out, which meant I had to endure a grueling day of hard work, shoveling off our sidewalks and the 45-foot driveway. Nowadays, they call that child labor.

Fast forward. I’m still shoveling snow, despite my daughters’ direct orders that I should NOT. You see, I find something magical about being outside on a cold, wintry day when the snow is falling and the wind is whipping it into swirls and drifts.

The recent storm reminded me of what life was like in the hills of Pine Rock Park, where the drifts could be 4-feet high...ok, maybe 3 feet. Sometimes it took a day or more for the city plows to reach us because we lived at the top of a long hill that got more snow than the flatlanders.

They were treacherous times. Pine Rock Park was known for its winding, narrow trails and steep hills. Back then, cars didn’t have all-wheel drive. All our jalopies had rear-wheel, which is the worst thing possible on a snow-covered road. Nevertheless, we navigated those hills with fearless derring-do ... and slid into snowbanks only two or three times a storm.

After every snowfall, there would be a half-dozen cars stranded at the bottom of what was known as the “Big Hill” because they couldn’t make it to the top. More than once, my mother had to walk a mile to get home after abandoning her Ford Fairlane on the side of the highway.

At the ripe old age of 10, I was out there with my parents after every storm, clearing the driveway so my father could go to work. This was in the days before the invention of aluminum snow shovels and snow blowers. The old-timers had to use heavy steel shovels, which added to the misery.

We shared that long driveway with our neighbors. One side was bordered by a high wall, which meant you had to shovel the snow up over your shoulders in a wide arc so it wouldn’t fall back down on you.

Even though it was supposed to be a community effort, I usually got the short end of the stick because the other kids got to go sled riding. My father insisted I take part in what was a 2½-hour ordeal, and it was never enough just to clear the driveway — my parents wanted it to be spick-and-span. By the time I was done shoveling, I was too tired to go sled riding. I needed a nap.

Over the years, I’ve never hired anyone to plow our driveway. My youngest daughter bought us a snow blower a few years ago, but I don’t have the heart to tell her I’ve never used it. Every year, the cardiologists of America caution against this sort of behavior. While I don’t want to become a CDC statistic, I estimate I burn enough calories to drop two pounds during a heavy snow.

The job becomes really torturous shoveling those last few feet, where the driveway meets the road where the plows keep pushing it back. However, I get pleasure in cursing the town plow every time it comes by and shaking my shovel in defiance. Then, when no one is looking, I shovel it back into the street so they can push it into my neighbor’s driveway.

After that last big storm, my back was sore. The snow drifted so high that I had to shovel three times to reach the pavement. It was a long, hard job, and quite honestly, I don’t want to do it again...so I’m taking a page out of my childhood.

From now on, my bedtime prayer will be “Please, don’t let it snow!” But the neighborhood kids outnumber me, and I’m sure they’ll be praying for snow.

Joe Pisani can be reached at joefpisani@yahoo.com.