Mister Rogers and snow Spring St.


Pat Haley


There is peacefulness about snow. The snow came last week as it always does, and shares what it wants to share with us regardless of what the weatherman might predict.

Last Friday after hearing predictions of up to a foot of snow, in the end we saw only three or four inches, but the winds did blow.

Our windows on the side of the woods shuddered and shook for a few hours before the weather calmed and the soft flakes tempered.

As the big fluffy snowflakes covered the deck and driveway, I did something I like to do when it snows. I threw a couple of pine logs on the fire in the chiminea that sits in front of our garage. The flames began to snap and crackle as they danced over the top of the slim opening at the top of the decorative ceramic furnace.

There is a dusty drawer in the garage. Grandson Jack calls it “the magic drawer.” It holds hundreds of classical, easy listening, country, Broadway, silly, pop, ridiculous and one-of-a-kind CDs (when I listen to them I remember why they are one-of-a-kind), which seem to fit my mood when it snows.

The first CD I found in the drawer was an old one. It was a homemade CD titled “Songs from the Shenandoah Valley” and dated 1990.

I appreciate this music best when I’m in a sentimental mood, and snow puts me in a sentimental mood. My new headphones were tuned just right, and the music was clear and soothing.

The first song by Nat “King” Cole brought back a memory from high school. One Friday night we had played basketball in Greenfield, and I returned home about nine o’clock. My dad was watching the Jack Paar Show and his guest that night was Nat Cole. It was snowing heavily and there were no cars to be seen driving on Spring Street.

“Ladies and gentlemen, I would like to introduce the King, Nat Cole,” Paar announced, as his guest walked into the spotlight and sang ‘When I Fall in Love’ with his trio. As the introduction played the last note, it gave the “King” his opening note. He sang the song flawlessly.

After the song ended, I slipped on my boots and told my mom and dad I was going to walk to see my sister, Rita, who lived just a couple of blocks away on North Spring Street.

“I won’t be long,” I said. “I’m going to enjoy a walk in the snow.”

Our neighborhood was busy. Bill Fife, Harley Day, Ted Burke and Mrs. Katherine Haywood, whose family owned and operated Haywood’s Grocery near Spring and Vine streets, were outside shoveling snow. They were not only shoveling their own walks, they were shoveling their neighbors’ sidewalks as well.

Bill picked up a big scoop of snow and quickly formed a snowball. “Come a little closer, Pat. I want to see if you can dodge my snowball,” he laughed, as his throw soared over my head.

The wind picked up and I noticed every house along the street had its lights on, and the trees in the yards bent as the winds blew. The wind calmed, and the fluffy flakes grew. In no time, the ground was covered with several inches of snow.

As I approached Rita’s house, I met several more neighbors shoveling off their neighbor’s sidewalks, and salting the steps. What a kind thing to do, I thought as I climbed the porch to Rita’s.

This past week during the snowfall, I was reading a story about about our society’s obsession with Facebook, Face Time, texting and social media. Not much time to help neighbors anymore.

“Why don’t we take a ride through town and enjoy the snow?” Brenda asked me.

“Good idea. Let’s ride past Rita’s,” I replied.

As we turned onto Spring Street, there he was. It was Rita’s neighbor, Gene Breckel. As he has done for many years, Gene was dressed warmly and was plowing snow from the sidewalks on both sides of Spring Street from Xenia Avenue to Fulton Street.

Gene does now what Bill, Harley, Ted and Mrs. Haywood did before him. He takes care of his neighbors because he cares about others in need. He’s one of the first people on Spring Street to lend a helping hand.

When we returned home, the fire was still burning in the chiminea and I asked Brenda if she would like to sit out for a while and enjoy the fire.

“Sure. Some music would be nice, too,” she said.

I pushed the button and the most unlikely voice began singing. It was Fred Rogers singing, “It’s a beautiful day in this neighborhood, would you be mine? Won’t you please be my neighbor?”

There is no better time to be a good neighbor or have a good neighbor.

Particularly when it snows.

Pat Haley is a Clinton County commissioner.

Pat Haley
http://www.timesgazette.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/33/2018/01/web1_Haley-Pat-pic-3.jpgPat Haley

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