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You Want a White Christmas? I’ll Give You a White Christmas

Posted Dec 24 2008 4:17am

category_bug_journal2.gif I realize that Portland, Maine isn’t the only place in the world that got a lot of snow this week, but what a whole lot of snow it was - and is still.

The storm began on Sunday morning. It was predicted to go well into the night with winds at 35 to 40 miles an hour resulting in humongous drifts. Travel, said the weather service, is discouraged. No kidding.

I read somewhere once that the Inuit language has 17 words to describe different kinds of snow. (What are the chances, I wonder, that they are all four-letter words.) The advantage of windy snow, I have now learned, is that it doesn’t collect on electric wires and trees so there is less possibility of a power outage. Their are, of course, disadvantages too.

By early afternoon on Sunday, storm raging, a parking ban was called by the City. That means no cars on any street from 10PM to 6AM. There were already six or seven inches of snow on the ground as my two condo mates and I did some shoveling, arranged our three cars toe to heel in the driveway and then repaired to our respective homes to sit out the storm.

First thing upon waking Monday morning, I checked outside my bedroom window. This is what my covered deck looked like. You can tell a lot about how much snow we got from how far it piled up around the table legs and fence.


The City did a fine job of clearing our street in the wee hours and by the time I looked out the front window at about 5:30AM, a city truck was even pushing the four-foot piles of snow out of the driveway entrances on the block - an unexpected gift I hadn't seen in the previous two winters I’ve lived here.

My upstairs neighbor, who leaves for work at 5:30AM each day, had no trouble backing out of the driveway.

At 8:30AM, my downstairs neighbor and I joined forces to dig out our snowbound cars in the driveway. For some reason, Graham’s car looked as it would in any “normal,” relatively big storm (that's a front fender of his car in the lower right of the photo). But take a look at my little PT Cruiser. Where is it?


That’s about five feet of snow on top of my car. A neighbor looked at it and said, “You win.” Yeah, right. A bunch of shoveling is what I won. Still, it’s an amazing sight. Here’s a view from the neighbor's side porch.


After a couple of hours of huffing and puffing with many rest breaks, we had cleared a path in the driveway and cleared our two cars of enough snow to get them out of the driveway and onto the street without too much slipping and sliding - of us and the cars. We would return after lunch for driveway clearing.


No sooner was I upstairs and out of my wet clothes than, checking email, I found another parking ban announcement for Monday night so the city could clear a wider swath in the street. Mostly, however, we just got more snow in the driveway and spent several more hours shoveling in two sessions on Tuesday.

I have discovered a few thigh, arm and back muscles I had forgotten I have and you can get a sense of how much snow we moved around from this shot of the driveway.


Mostly what we got from the city's second go 'round at clearing streets was much higher piles of snow. I took this shot with the camera at eye height from the sidewalk in front of my house.


This one gives you some perspective on the amount of snow we are navigating around in town. It's only the first big storm of the season and we're unlikely to see this layer gone until sometime in March.


The charm of a white Christmas has faded for me, at least for a couple of days until my muscles return to their normal benign state, but perhaps readers in warmer climes will appreciate the photos - now that I've done all the work.

Here’s little Ollie last week, when he was still recuperating from his hospital stay with a pink bandage to cover the place where his IV had been.


[ At The Elder Storytelling Place today, James J Henry Jr has for us A Story For Small Granchildren: The Christmas Tree. ]

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