Ongoing Stories of My Soul

Look over my shoulder as I ponder life.

‘Of Ice and Men’ My Apologies to John Steinbeck

We have snow in Indiana. About 7 inches–which is really a sissy amount compared to other parts of the United States. But nonetheless, I love it. And I was most excited to go out and shovel out my driveway, sidewalks, a path for the mailman. Until I started shoveling. Then it started to be work. Heavy work. And when one is 4foot 10inches tall, it soon feels like that 7 inches is catching up with one’s head. Okay, so I exaggerate. Truth is, shoveling snow is not as much fun as sledding in it. But hey…sometimes one has to be the adult, right?

So when the distant neighbor guy hollered, “Hey, we’ll do that for ya for $25 bucks or so…” I at first said, “Naw….I’ll get it. Thanks!” (“I am woman hear me roar, in a voice too loud to ignore.” Who said that? Some lady in the seventies. Not shoveling snow).

Pretty soon, the offer rang out again, and I said, “SURE!” The knee was aching and the shoulder kept whispering: we are NOT 30 anymore. The gentlemen came into the yard and we started talking. If you know me, that was their first mistake. As the conversation unfolded, the novel, ‘Of Mice and Men’ began unravelling in front of me. Sure did! The shorter guy, we’ll call George, and the tall man with one half of his snow overalls hanging down, is Lennie. Without the little soft bunnies and girl with the golden curls. If you’ve read the book, you’ll get that. If not, no worries. Suffice it to say, George did the talking and working. Lennie, just stood there leaning on his shovel, talking to me about the neighbors that just moved out. And where I taught school. And if I knew this person and that person. (I actually did. Who is not surprised?)

Finally, George tells Lennie to start shoveling. Lennie complies. Until George asks if I can spare some bottles of water. Lennie beams as if I was bringing back plates of fried chicken. Settle down, Lennie, it’s just water. Lennie starts drinking the water. And talking about how cute my black dog was and how it looked just like theirs before they had to put it down. (I already know this because I met that dog at a garage sale about three years ago). But, being this was Lennie, I let him carry on. And pet the dog. And he petted it real gentle like, not hard enough to crush the bones or anything.

George adds details to Lennie’s stories from time to time, but never stops working. And keeping an eye on Lennie. And reminding him to shovel. See what I mean? All I needed to do was throw in “livin’ off the fat of the land” and some bunkhouses, a guy named Curly, and I could have this story unfold on my porch.

Purty’ soon (Steinbeck dialect) George and Lennie had transformed my snow-laden drive back to black asphalt. Now…I had asked George if he could turn my car around so it was facing the street. I may find myself in the classroom tomorrow, and wanted to be headed out for duty. But get this. The plot takes a turn. Ole’ George forgot. And it was Lennie, still leanin’ on his shovel who hollered at George that I wanted the car to face OUT not in! Boy, Steinbeck would sure been proud of ole Lennie. Character development in Deb Hall’s driveway!

Sigh. I liked these guys. They were so excited to help out a neighbor. Especially when I paid them. But there’s nothing like a bit of old classical literature coming alive on one’s land.

I’m kinda hoping for more snow, ’cause I know Lennie and George will be back.

Heck, Lennie is hoping for that plate of chicken. I just know it.