Spot removal

Most of us know the old adage, “A leopard can’t change its spots.” I feel this is one of those sayings that has many gray areas, or is spotty (yes, pun intended) at best.

Allow me to explain (I wish I had a dollar for every time I’ve included that in a column). Ever since I was a young boy (to use a line from The Who’s “Pinball Wizard”) I was a winter person.

I enjoyed going to Horseneck Beach in the summer, and the colors of the autumn, but winter was my time of year.

Oh how I looked forward to ice skating at Kennedy (South) Park in Fall River, chasing the girls and stealing their long stocking caps, and later playing pond hockey for hours upon end.

I reveled in jumping on our iconic wooden American Flyer sled and swooshing down the massive hills, again at Kennedy Park.

It warmed my heart to play football in the aforementioned park on a Saturday during snow storms, when you would tackle or be tackled and slide for what were seemingly miles, all the while getting snow down the back of your coat and shirt and thermal shirt.

Oh, good stuff!

It also didn’t hurt that there were inevitable snow days to keep us home where we could be safe and warm. Right. As soon as Salty Brine announced “no school” on WPRO, out the door we were where we could be cold and risk frostbite and falls. Good stuff.

Later there were the one-week journeys to North Conway, N.H. to ski Mounts Cranmore and Attitash.

But after having children, my winter sports activities became less and less. Aside from hitting the outdoor ice rinks in Providence or Patriot Place, my last hurrah was playing a year of ice hockey in an over-40 league. When I realized I struggled to bend over to tie my skates, it was time to hang them up.

But my affinity towards Old Man Winter has taken a wicked big you-ee (New England axiom for u-turn).

This last blizzard on January 4 completed my 180-degree relationship with winter.

It was a day of hoping the power wouldn’t go out as the wind drove the snow sideways outside. On the occasion when Igor needed to go out, we both reluctantly headed for the door hoping to find a spot where she could hit and run.

When the snow finally abated, Emilie and I reluctantly headed for the door to shovel out our cars.

We started with Em’s. I knew we were in for a long evening when the driver’s side door handle of her car broke off in my gloved hand. Her piercing glare was one of, “Really dad?”

Moving on to my car, we shoveled four-foot drifts as best we could as the wind whipped about us.

I shoveled what I thought was enough to get out, but my car got stuck half-way through the tiny tunnel in the snow.

That wasn’t the only problem. I couldn’t open my door now, being wedged against a snow bank.

Emilie shook her head as she watched me crawl from the driver’s seat to the back seat to get out of the car. More shoveling. So much so that one shovel snapped, and the metal one bent out of shape.

I trudged back in with my jeans frozen to my boots. Em went through two pairs of gloves. Bad stuff.

There was a day when I couldn’t wait for snow and ice. Those days are long gone. Now I’ll take Horseneck on a hot muggy day any time. 

This leopard didn’t change his spots, he shed them completely.

© 2019 The Anchor and Anchor Publishing    †    Fall River, Massachusetts