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Nature’s Wrath and the Best and Worst of People

Natural disasters are often used as yardsticks. As I shoveled my driveway, a neighbor asked me “where were you in 1978?” He was referring to the last big blizzard of this type.

The Big Blizzard of 2013 will be remembered for many years or decades to come. 

Natural disasters are often used as yardsticks.  As I shoveled my driveway, a neighbor asked me “where were you in 1978?”  He was referring to the last big blizzard of this type. 

There is a story for every person who has endured record-breaking bad weather, from Superstorm Sandy to last weekend’s blizzard. 

Hardship can bring out the best in people.  In my case, a neighbor stopped by with his truck to plow snow that was 5 feet deep and 30 feet long in the driveway.  That was after I had spent 8 hours laboring with a snowblower and shovel.  While he did that, I crossed the street to help an elderly neighbor clear a path 40 feet long from his home to the road. 

Unfortunately, not everyone with means is so magnanimous as my neighbor with the plow.

When I got in to work this morning, a colleague of mine recounted how her elderly parents were trapped in their home, and grateful when someone came along and offered to plow their driveway.  For $200.  And it was a small driveway – only long and wide enough to hold two cars.  Nonetheless, the helpless couple was grateful.

This is a reminder of how little it takes to help someone out of a jam.  It is also a reminder of how some people have no compunction about preying on the most defenseless of individuals.

Perhaps the man who did the $200 snow job on the seniors was pleased with himself for “helping out” as he counted his cash and drove on to the next victims’ homes. 

Would he have done the same if his parents were in the same situation?  What makes someone like that tick? 

While we prefer to remember the kindness of most people after a tragedy, one can’t help but see an image of one’s parents or other friends or relatives at the mercy of an unscrupulous individual.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Bam Bam February 14, 2013 at 06:20 PM
Glad I found some kids with shovels and they were worth every penny at $40! and they didn't blather on about how much they chose to spend on those shovels and why I should pay for them. lol. Some day I'm going to get a nice snowblower and I will be helping my less fortunate neighbors! $200 is a lot of money to someone likely on fixed income and there's always someone willing to charge a premium, they need to shop around NOW and prepare for next time!
Most Popular Poster February 14, 2013 at 08:36 PM
Were the kids using Sno Easy shovels?
Most Popular Poster February 14, 2013 at 09:08 PM
They certainly are! And you get a discount if you're a member of the JCC!
Ann February 14, 2013 at 10:06 PM
He lives in Monroe and only plows local people.
COSMO P February 15, 2013 at 12:02 AM
Gale force winds Websters dictionary Winds with speeds between 32 and 63 mph.
COSMO P February 15, 2013 at 12:30 AM
Hey Cosmo, according to you it is only old people who complain. You are a real piece of work. Just because someone thinks that the cost of a service is too high doesn't Mean that only older people complain. BTW I am the person who paid 450 to have their driveway cleaned and I didn't complain. I paid since it was a big job and well worth the price. I will say that you sound like the person who would rip people off and not be concerned. Get your head on straight buddy, you will also be there one day. NOPE i think my TAXES are to high and i cant do anything about that can i. With that i am willing to bet you never plowed an inch of snow in your life. So once again get out a shovel or buy a real 4 wheel drive vehicle or stay home and watch reruns. I made a joke and all you RAGS jumped on it. By the way if you paid 450 bucks a loader must have been used. I have seen drifts well in to the 5' range. I have moved more snow than anyone can imagine. With that i could care less who gets out and who does not. The fact is i am not going to waste my time the diesel wear and tear on my vehicle so some BMW YUPPIE has to go out to get a PAPER. With that anyone that is an experienced plow operator knows not to plow a heavy snow after the storm passes. If you do not understand this then 200 bucks is CHEAP.
Elvis February 15, 2013 at 12:50 AM
and GAIL definition is ????????????????????????????????????? Or higher when the winds are are blowing GAIL
G February 15, 2013 at 01:13 AM
Lighten up, Cosmo. Get a sense of humor and move on. I'm serious....move on. As in go somewhere else. Your blood pressure can use a break from all the liberals around here.
Michael Cragin February 15, 2013 at 11:32 AM
this is Newtown...Mike...(as a buddy goes by in a plow truck)...dont mess with that...(.im getting on in yrs...).....He pulls in and plows my 100ft drive way....we talk awhile...share laughs...How much do i owe you....?? MY FRIEND said nbothing mike...this was a rough storm....I took out 40 $ and said ..dont be crazy take this at least.....you know what he said??...Thats way to much mike we are buds....I forced him to take it......THAT IS NEWTOWN
Kindra King February 15, 2013 at 12:51 PM
The problem is that many older people do not have the income that younger people have. Social Security is being cut all the time and if you think about it, even if these people planned for their retirement, the economy has "blown the roof", so to speak, so that all of the money that they put away is still not enough. It is the right thing to do to help your neighbor. In this case, your neighbor does not mean someone who lives in your neighborhood, but, your neighbor in mankind. It is fine for a plow businessman to ask for a fee. But, the kind thing to do when he knew it was elderly people was to lower his fee this time. After all, we are talking about a one very large snowfall and I am sure he has regular customers that offset the cost of his fuel, maintenance, and insurance.
jack February 15, 2013 at 02:37 PM
bottom line if you dont like the price dont hire the guy
Kindra King February 15, 2013 at 07:37 PM
That is the kind neighborly attitude that seems to be missing from so many of us these days. Thank you Donald!
MikeS February 16, 2013 at 01:40 PM
Sean, How did people ever get by owing a home in the early 20th century before snow blowers?
Ruth February 16, 2013 at 03:50 PM
Wish I could be around when some of you become the "old" folks. We are elderly, do have a plowing service, and do try to plan ahead. We are not "well-off", and plowing is an expense that is a struggle for us. Neither my husband or I are physically able to go out and shovel or snow blow. What would you do if your parents were in this situation and you could not help them? We ask for help from no one and get by as best we can. Remember....you too will be old some day and may not be able to plan as well as you think!!!
Ann February 16, 2013 at 04:30 PM
I'm getting older myself (but can still shovel, etc.). I don't expect age to entitle me to having people do things for me. I am pretty sure I'll have to either continue to do it myself or hire people to do it and that's just the way it is. I like being self sufficient and if I couldn't afford to live here because of the high cost of taxes, heating, etc. I would move to another area that I could afford. AND, I'll still be paying my mortgage until I'm 95 years old so I won't be having the reduced costs of no mortgage AND I'm not wealthy nor do I have a lot saved. If old people have done a lot for others over their lifespan I am sure the good they have done will come back to them and the people they have helped when they are able will also help them when they need it. Otherwise, we're all on our own. It's sad if old people have done a lot for their children and then when the parents need it the children don't help out. Years ago families took care of each other (both with financial and physical support) but now a lot of old people are on their own.
RONALD M GOLDWYN February 16, 2013 at 05:28 PM
Dear Ann, what you say makes sense to me and my fellow senior citizens. For reasons of health I can no longer do any strenuous activity. Today is the funeral of 49 year old Ray of Mr Mac's who died while doing snow removal. My son died of medical malpractice so that leaves my grandson to do the digging if I can get him to do more than his own car. Cosmo P is correct in one sense. There is the correct tool for every job. A kitchen knife is not a substitute for the correct size screwdriver. A 3kw generator cannot power a complete house and even a diesel dump truck can't plow 30" of snow at one time. In this part of our state the 30"= snowfall is rare so that it does not pay for our government to purchase hugh payloaders and keep them on standby. The same holds true for the individual homeowner. Owning a small snow blower just will not do the job. For now my sidewalk will have to wait until the sun reduces the job and I can afford the snow removal cost.
Ruth February 16, 2013 at 09:29 PM
Ann, I did not mean to implythat we feel entitled due to age, as we most certainly do not. My husband and I have always done what is necessary to take care of our family and ourselves. Our house, as well, is not paid for, so we too have a mortgage to carry. Moving is not an easy solution/answer, and who is to say if you move to a so called "cheaper" state, that won't change. We go without often in order to be self-sufficient. Hopefully, we will be able to manage and never become a burden to anyone. We do not expect nor want anyone to have to look after us. We too, Ronald, are letting "solar" power melt our front walk as we could not clear it ourself nor afford to pay to have it cleaned. Our plowing bill was $100, but we are able to exit and enter the house through the garage, so that is all that matters. Whatever happened to people looking out for one another? My age is showing, but when I was a kid my Dad and neighbors, including kids, went around clearing the walks and drives of those who could not. Times have not necessarily changed for the better.
COSMO P February 17, 2013 at 12:37 AM
This town was a good town . We helped one another . Then the democrats took hold The liberals instituted noise ordinances that restricted many activities . Blight laws is the new issue snoots do not want farms and or homes that do not conform to the standards they want. They are bullies plain and simple . Bus stops are every driveway. The yuppies demand this and our bus service is basically a TAXI SERVICE to the snoots. The town shuffles these kids all over town on MY DIME AND YOURS. Everyone elected to the castle at 400 main street cater to this and these people. So as i have helped many older people with snow removal and never send them a bill i have stopped the practice. A couple of years ago i pulled a Mercedies out of a ditch off great hill road and limestone. I hooked up to the tie down rails to pull the women out. She begged me to help her. And i felt sorry so i did it. 3 weeks later i was contacted by her insurance company for damaging her car. WOW i was shocked. So as they say no good dead goes unpunished. I also have plowed many a drive and lost control of the truck in deep snow and went up on some lawns. Once again the owners demanded that i repair the grass in the spring. Also everyone wants to be first in order to get out to work and or go to town for a paper or what ever. So now it is strictly business cash and carry and i dont give a dam who the person is. My prices stand and as they say if you need to know the price it is to expensive for you. DUN!
RONALD M GOLDWYN February 17, 2013 at 08:30 AM
Cosmo P has stated his point of view most clearly. He is a private citizen in business, and not a local charity. 50 years ago i could do much physical activity that I cannot do today. Nor can my wife any longer substitute for me. I had a son who lived with me, but he was taken from us by medical malpractice. Yes life was better years ago when I didn't have to lock all my exterior doors. when alarm systems were not required, when cancer was fatal, and hi-test gas cost 32¢/gal and three people could sit on the front seat of your car. Back when we had respect for our teachers, the police, firemen, and the mailman. Yes i remember the doctor paying house calls and mail came twice a day and cost 3¢ for first class and a penny for a postal card. For myself I would rush home from school in 1946 to see if there were any new test patterns on because programs didn't start until 5 or 6 PM. That was a time when toy stores the 5&10 and department stores had 50+ types of cap-guns for sale and Daisy BB guns were sold to kids. Boys payed as Cops and Robbers or Cowboys and Indians. As for the weather in winter 12" of snow was normal and cars weighed at least 2000 pounds so they went in the snow. Car Registration fees in New York was based on the weight of the car and not its value school girls wore dresses or skirts except when it snowed and only then could they wear slacks. No-one at anytime wore jeans to school. . Yes TIME MARCHES ON if you can remember that at the movies.
COSMO P February 17, 2013 at 01:46 PM
Exactly Ronald. I have spent endless hours helping old folks replace roofs plowing drives and even getting them groceries. My mother is 95 and we take care of her quite well. I have a bitter taste in my mouth as because years ago we used to help our neighbors cut lawns and never look back. But now dare to start a lawn mower before 9AM and 3 squad cars will visit you. This is not how it should be. It seems to me that the democrats do not see this. As posted above i have been following this blight law thing. Basically they are pushing an agenda that forces out buildings farms and whatever after they decide to build the mansions they live in on postage stamp lots. This is true communism at it's best. Also the affordable housing law is another thing bestowed on us by the liberal progressives. Basically busing without buses. And the democrats condone it 100%
RONALD M GOLDWYN February 17, 2013 at 02:14 PM
Cosmo, besides voting once a year, what do you do to try and change the laws and actions of our present government? For the past 52+ years I have been on the inside working on the grass roots level trying to seek change by who is a candidate for office.
Mr D. February 17, 2013 at 03:19 PM
You've got some good points, however keep in mind that: - $0.32 for a gallon of gas corresponds to about $3 today - so yes we're paying more but not that much. - all cars stll weight over 2,000 Lbs, in fact you'd be hard pressed to find one under 3,000. However tires have gotten wider and lower and that's not good in snow. The smart drivers have winter wheels.
Mr D. February 17, 2013 at 03:35 PM
If someone cannot plow their driveway on account of age or health, I would recommend they negotiate a rate with a reputable provider ahead of time. That's a LOT cheaper than hiring someone on the spot after the fact. If you don't want the person to show up after evey snowfall, that's negotiable too. The guy who plows my driveway doesn't show up for less than 4" per our agreement because I can plow this myself or drive over it (both our cars have winter tires). Over 4" the price varies with the amount of snow but is prenegotiated and a lot less than $200. I also have him sand when it ices. The best way to save money is to prepare ahead of time. I negotiated a rate for plowing, bought a snowblower for less offseason, saved for a replacement boiler and now save >50% on heating oil. Waiting for the last minute will cost more every time.
Mr D. February 17, 2013 at 03:47 PM
You both have some good points (perhaps my age is showing too!) 30" is unusual and we should expect some disruption. I see some kids help their parents clean the driveway, but not many. Even fewer help their elderly neighbors. That comes down to parenting. I help my older neighbor within the limits of my snowblower and my bad back if I happen to be at home because that's the way I was brought up but I seem to be the exception on my street. That's pretty sad.
COSMO P February 17, 2013 at 11:48 PM
Exactly i do not go out for some if the snow fall is under 4". But then again i do a doctors drive that has to be plowed no matter what. So he pays me and i give him a good deal. With the old folks i do them and if they don't pay me i do not care. But if i see them in a restaurant every weekend all bets are OFF. Most of my driveways are old established customers and they are great. But the other day i saw an elderly couple shoveling there drive and i made a single pass and drove off. I am not that cruel but i have been screwed many times in my life plowing snow. And most of the time from people that can afford it.
COSMO P February 17, 2013 at 11:53 PM
RONALD M GOLDWYN 9:14 am on Sunday, February 17, 2013 Cosmo, besides voting once a year, what do you do to try and change the laws and actions of our present government? For the past 52+ years I have been on the inside working on the grass roots level trying to seek change by who is a candidate for office. I don't vote in CT. But i do vote in my legal juristiction. There is no point in voting in a liberal state like CT. A republican cant win other than good people like John Fry. All the Dems in this state have it locked up. Question just look at the caliber of the newly elected brain dead politicians just elected to this state and honestly tell me my vote actually means something in CT. So my voting state is not CT any more. Thank GOD!!
Timothy February 18, 2013 at 12:02 AM
RE: Bus Service for Students It's federally mandated.
Ann February 18, 2013 at 02:33 AM
That's the problem -- the federal government mandating buses that stop at every house. If they walk to school, they have to cross roads, etc. Why do they have to stop at every house? No wonder the kids are getting fat. They can't even walk 2 blocks to a bus stop like we used to do IF we lived .5 mile from school in elementary school or 1.5 miles from school if in junior high / high school. The question is, why does the federal government mandate it? Because of law suits? I no longer have kids but I would have no problem with my kids having to walk a few blocks home from the bus stop. Parents who do have a problem should be there to meet them (and walk themselves). I was one of 7 children and had to walk a little under .5 miles to elementary school. My mother didn't drive so my father took me to school on the first day of school and after that I was on my own walking with other children. We were all none the worse for it -- maybe better.
Ruth February 18, 2013 at 04:12 PM
Hmmm.....I had to walk almost 2 miles from the time I was in first grade. In our community, I would be willing to bet more than half of the kids do not ride the bus whether there are sidewalks accessible or not......major traffic jam EVERY school day due to parents dropping their children off.....lines and lines of vehicles backed up both directions on a narrow country road. Apparently not only can they not wait at the bus stops, but they can't be out in cold/rain/snow, etc. We are paying for services not used probably by the majority. RIDICULOUS!!! Also somewhat ridiculous that we have gotten so far off track from the original article. I am to blame as well.
nowhreman February 20, 2013 at 12:34 AM
Who is Gail? oh did you mean Gale? which is a measurment

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