It’s Iowa’s 175th Birthday; Get Out and Shovel Snow!

Today is Iowa’s 175th birthday. It’s also the first day of snow this winter. I had to get out there and shovel. I can celebrate Iowa’s 175th year of statehood by rubbing liniment on my sore shoulders. The Iowa statehood anniversary will be a year-long commemoration. If it snows anymore, I’ll be bathing in muscle cream for at least that long and will likely miss many of the events.

It was a wet, heavy snow. I pushed it around for hours. While sweeping snow from the front porch, I slipped off the first step and came down hard (but on my feet!) on the sidewalk instead of the second step. I was unhurt, but it was jarring. It reminded me of one of last year’s big snows which left enough ice on the driveway to make me slip and fall on my butt. The next-door neighbor, who was also out shoveling, saw it and looked at me a long time—but I bounced right back up. No need to call an ambulance. I’m good!

And then the city snow plows came through and did what they did last year. They left snow droppings in our driveway, which wasn’t really plugged but looked unsightly.

The only excuse I have for not going back out to clean it up is that it was raining steadily, and my winter coat and gloves were still soggy from sweat. It’s not like it was a couple of years ago, when we lived another part of town and the plows banked in drifts the size of small cars across our driveway. However, I have modified my shoveling technique. I no longer twist my back and throw snow over my shoulder (the John Henry model). I bend my knees and keep my back straight.

There will be more snow tomorrow, later in the day. Maybe it will be late enough that it will be too dark to shovel. Or maybe all the shovels in our garage will meet with some sudden, mysterious accidental breakage that makes them useless. The roads will probably be too icy and impassable from snow drifts for driving to the hardware store to buy replacements.

That’s how things go in the winter around the Midwest, especially in places like Iowa, ravaged by 175 years of snowstorms, freezing temperatures, shovels, and oceans of liniment.

On Christmas eve, when it looked like there would be no snow for Christmas Day, I remembered my blog on WordPress had a setting that would make snow fall and blow across our websites. It looks like that stopped about 6 or 7 years ago to allow a sharper focus on the business aspect. A lot of bloggers were unhappy about the change. You had to pay to play to get the Holiday Snow, which means you had to purchase the Business Plan blog and a special plugin, which could then be exploited by hackers.

Today, I got all the snow I would ever need. Happy Birthday, Iowa!

ADDENDUM 12/29/2021:

Today I used an ice chopper to clear the snow blobs from my driveway, which had been frozen into ice blobs overnight. I also chopped the ice from the curb ramp on my sidewalk which the city snow plow had also plugged yesterday. An official city truck was driving by and witnessed me clearing it. Will it make a difference? It started snowing again this evening.

Author: James Amos

I'm a retired consult-liaison psychiatrist. I navigated the path in a phased retirement program through the hospital where I was employed. I was fully retired as of June 30, 2020. This blog chronicles my journey.

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