Husband’s frontier spirit flourishes in vortex while others “wimp out”
“I think people are wimps.” This was the proclamation put forth by Mr. Schrock, conserver of words, who nailed his feelings in five.
Tired of anemic winters where the high was three lone snowflakes, he’d been thrilled, overcome with excitement at what he’d found. Four different sources were predicting “real winter.” Oh, glory and yes and yea!
He’d appeared with this announcement, wearing a grin that barely fit through the door. I sighed. Words like “very cold” and “lots of snow” would set my friends to whining. But not him. Oh, not him.
He was, after all, the boy who’d spent hours outdoors, tromping around in the snow. Too, he was a Schrock, which meant his sweat point was 70 degrees. Retirement to Florida would never happen. But a little house on the tundra? That was tempting, something arctic where one might see an Eskimo pass by, raising a frozen mitten in greeting, once every couple of weeks.
Then one night, six more words. “I’m tired of shoveling the drive.” I braced myself for the two words to come. And sure enough.
“Snow blower,” he grunted, shooting me a sideways glance.
“Knock yourself out.” I said it in three, wondering how many purses and shoes I’d have to buy to match the numbers on that tag.
It was while watching the hysteria over the recent storm that he muttered the wimp accusation. As far as he was concerned, such weather was what one should expect in the course of a “real” winter, not spring zephyrs and three snowflakes.
After all, hadn’t the country been settled by hardy, intrepid pioneers who’d pushed west in covered wagons, enduring prairie winters? And the Pilgrims at Plymouth Rock, hadn’t they braved a cruel winter in the founding of a country? Where was the frontier spirit? Where?
I knew good and well where some of it was. It was shopping for a snowblower, ready to conquer our own wild frontier and calling us wimps, We the Delicate.
To my chagrin, an AP report confirmed his assessments. “Scientists say Americans have become weather wimps. See page A8,” said the blurb on page one. Turning to page eight, I checked the byline to see if he’d taken to writing his own opinion pieces. Nope. He really was at the office, tracking the action on the Dow.
The article, I noted, was shot through with affirmations of his theory. When one climate scientist piped up, saying that he felt folks’ memory was “really terrible” and that we’re simply not used to cold winters anymore, I started. Had he secretly snitched The Mister’s lecture notes? It sure sounded like it. Hadn’t Mr. Schrock delivered the self-same homily nearly word for word “at sundry times and in divers manners,” to quote the Scripture?
“I’ll be switched if I’m showing him this one,” I thought darkly, reaching for the Sharpie.
By mistake, I kept reading, only to find that in the estimation of some experts, Americans were “weather weenies” to go along with our poor memories. Good Pete. Forget a rogue polar vortex, a mass of terrifically cold air that had wandered clear off the beaten path. There was about to be a reader vortex the way this was going. In preparation, I doubled down on the coffee and took a nap.
Now that the vortex has wandered back to wherever it is they normally go, I can feel my fingers again. Which means that I can report how it all shook out.
After days of research, Mr. Schrock followed an evangelist’s exhortation to “name it and claim it, mark it and park it, blab it and grab it.” He did, and now he’s the proud owner of BOB, the Bright Orange Blower.
A day or so after the storm blew through, he suited up in a blizzard-quality Cabela’s suit, snow goggles and his Serious Boots. (These, as you might guess, are so heavy they could kill a man if flung and have the tread of a tractor tire on the bottom. They are serious.)
So suited, he and The BOB took to the driveways of the neighborhood, and they moved snow, all the while giving thanks for an errant polar vortex. For temps that broke records the other way for once. For piles of snow, and for machines that use gas. Or I think he did. With his lips frozen into that megawatt grin, it was hard to tell.
There’s one other machine that makes him happy like that. He thinks it’s the bomb. Hey, wait. It is. It’s the BOM, or the Bright Orange Mower. He grins when he’s using that, too.
It’s all-season fun here, colored in orange. I’ll never collect enough purses or shoes to match those machines, but that’s okay. As long as he and The BOB keep a path cleared to the Keurig, this small “weather weenie” will be happy. No more “naming it,” though. I’ve had quite enough. He’ll keep marking and parking while I “blab it and grab it.” The coffee, you know, from the Keurig?