I have to say, I am kinda disappointed. This was only the third largest single snowstorm in Chicago’s history. It’s hard to justify the hype.

The reports from throughout the city varied. The drivers that found themselves stuck on Lake Shore Drive Tuesday night probably didn’t enjoy the blizzard as much as I did, all safe in my home. My boss had the good sense to close the office early and keep it shut for the next two days. Once I got home, I made no attempt to leave the block.

I awoke Wednesday to the first 16 to 18 inches and noticed my neighbor had already shoveled his front and half of the gangway. Tony is a sturdy 70-something-year-old German in the house next door. He usually is the first one out on weekends. It’s hard to live up to his standards. So I suited up to take on my first round of shoveling. Since snow drifts came 3 feet up my back door, I began at the front.

It was still snowing and drifting, but I fought the good fight. By the time I finished the front walk — an hour later — Tony came out. He thanked me for doing all the shoveling. I credited him for getting up early and doing his half, but he said he hadn’t shoveled yet. We chalked it up to the Shovel Fairy. Another neighbor fessed up later. So I began to dig out the back yard access to the alley until I smelled bacon in the air. I quickened my pace and took a break.

After round one, the kids and dog walkers came out in droves. The husky across the street was in his element sitting atop a snow bank. Bear, the mutt next door with the apt name, bounded about with a face full of snow. The streets were shut down and no planes flew overhead. It was a winter wonderland, an atypical day in the city as nothing moved and there was no use fighting it. I finished off the pancakes and bacon Linda cooked and suited up with another dry layer for round two.

For the next two days, I was like the Cal Ripken of shoveling. To stay in the game, you have to eat right, stretch and use good form.

A view from our front porch.

Our Charlie Brown tree.

Looking out our back door.

Tony’s backyard.

Round three: The alley. On Thursday, about a dozen neighbors used the blue recycling carts to clear out the alley.

About the Author

Tom Long

Tom Long is one-third of the seldom heard Chicago band The Ethyl Mermen. The name Tom Long can be found in the dictionary, Baseball Encyclopedia and a pub in Ireland. Tom Long is not affiliated with any other Tom Long; he won the rights to use his own name after prevailing in a three-way game of Jan-ken-pon by choosing "dynamite!" No Toms were harmed in the making of this blog.

View All Articles