Scott Valley, Short Stories, Siskiyou, South County, Yreka

A Walk on Snow Day Brings Up Issues to Question

“I think we’ve received about 27 inches,” my neighbor says to me, making a path by the road.  Across the street Maryann stands outside disgruntled, “Why does Tory always have to use his snow blower at 6:00am?”

I recently found a studio to rent in Mt Shasta.  I’m told I live on one of the prettiest roads. Trekking through the snow, I get my morning workout in. At 5’7” the snow hits my kneecaps as white puffs the size of marbles fall from the sky. 

Turning left onto McCloud Ave a local holds tightly to a handle as he scoops snow from the front of his truck wheels.  “I’m trying to get to work,” he says with his nose to the shovel.  “This is always one of the last roads to get plowed.”  

I respond, “Why doesn’t the City just rotate what streets gets plowed first?”  

I tell him I write for Siskiyou News and ask if I can take a few pictures.  A snow removal vehicle cruises down the road; its blade crate cuts through the snowpack like cake with large tires packed tight in frosted white.  

The man quickly jumps back into his truck driving off.  I bet he makes it right on time; I think to myself, realizing I didn’t get his name for the article.  

I zip my phone into my pocket.  My phone battery was on red at the beginning of my walk.  I’ve always been a writer more then photographer.

Only a few people are out tending to their driveways this early in the morning.  I already received a phone call from Weed Elementary Middle School letting me know they’d be closed today and no substitutes would be needed.  

My boots are slipping around as I try to find grip.  It seems every business on Mount Shasta Blvd is closed.  I continue enjoying my walk as I cross by another guy trying to get to work while battling snowy roads conditions.

“I have had five City workers drive by and not one has stopped to ask if they could help me out.” He says in disappointment.

I respond, “Well are you flagging them down?”

“I wave,” he says

“Well what do they do?”  I ask.

“They wave back,” we both exchange a laugh.

A City worker driving a push plow comes up the road as he down shifts.

“Well look at that, finally one slows down.  You know he’s slowing down because of you,” he says.

I respond with a smile knowing I’ll include it in this article. 

“Do you have chains?” he asks the City worker.  “We can put them on and quickly pull me out.  It will happen in no time.”

But, the City worker shakes his head no; he doesn’t have chains so he drives off.

I continue to walk saying goodbye with a wave. I could have told him I worked for Siskiyou News getting his name for a quote.  But, why is it always important in reporting to get a name?  I’m writing a story not interrogating.

Ahead is the Gold Room Saloon.  I notice that the open sign is still on and the window lights are still twinkling.  But, the bartender from the night before must have left in a hurry; worrying about getting home rather then making sure the lights were off.   A thought keeps circulating. The Gold Room on snow days for a cup of coffee and an order of huevos rancheros from La Perla Cantina.   

I’m not sure if these are food and drink options.  But, it’s a snow day and these are only thoughts. 

I start circling back home.  My fingers are getting cold inside my gloves.  I pass a few more men shoveling their driveway and one walking his dog.

Every man I have seen this morning has been good looking.

I’m happy I didn’t get any names, Ill just lump them all into the category: Attractive men out at six AM.

The sound of the door to the bed of a truck shuts and with piercing blue eyes he looks at me and says, “This is awesome!” My observation proves right yet again.

His cousin and him own a snowplowing company, licensed and insured.  “We usually receive a grant from the City every year. It pays for us to plow senior’s driveways and roads in Mount Shasta.  But, this year the City didn’t offer the grant.” He says while making sure cables are tightly attached to his machinery.  “All of our seniors are without personal plow service this year.”

I start walking up my street that I’m told is one of the prettiest streets in Mt Shasta.  Tory is finishing up his snow-blowing job.  The snow is so packed I can almost walk on it.  Snowshoes would be perfect right now. Maryann is across the street with a shovel in her hand maybe inspired by Tory.

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