The Sidewalk Santas


“Everybody counts or nobody counts”

Harry Bosch, The Overlook by Michael Connelly

For as long as I can remember, my mother has lived by particular philosophies. She repeats them to me often, no doubt hoping to impart their wisdom. (I am not always a willing recipient of her advice.)   The single belief she most tries to live by is to treat everyone with equal respect. She says that she doesn’t want to die and have to explain to God for the way she treated people on earth but I suspect that she is just an innately decent woman and concern about Saint Peter refusing her entry to the Afterlife doesn’t really enter into it.

Late one Saturday morning just before Christmas Jamie and I climbed into his car to go Christmas shopping in Beverly Hills. On our way out of Santa Monica I remembered that my mom and many of my work friends enjoyed See’s candy so I suggested stopping at the See’s branch at the Century City Mall on the way into town to pick up chocolates for everyone.

Unfortunately, Jamie’s phone rang as we were pulling out of our driveway on Third Street, changing our plans. Something was wrong at the studio so we headed in the opposite direction, merging into the jam on Lincoln Avenue pointing toward Culver City. After the problem was solved and the irate client soothed we headed toward Beverly Hills the back way, turning right onto Motor Avenue near the old MGM lot, then right onto Pico at Twentieth Century Fox Studios, then left onto the Avenue of the Stars.

Beverly Hills was overflowing with both locals and tourists. The sidewalks on North Canon were so packed with dawdlers and gawkers that we were often pushed into the car-clogged streets where we would surely have been run over if any of the cars had been moving.

We had planned to pop into Nate ‘n Al’s on North Beverly for a late lunch after we were finished but the line stretched out the door and up the block toward Little Santa Monica Boulevard, appearing to go all the way to Sunset.

“Wow, look at that line,” I sighed, resting my shopping bags on the sidewalk at my feet.

Jamie nodded. “Do you want to wait?” he asked.

I shifted my weight, undecided. “Yes and no. No because I will be ready for a bungalow at the Motion Picture Retirement Home before we get to the front but yes because I am starving.”

Jamie glanced at his watch. “I have to go back to the studio so let’s just eat at the Greek in Culver City.”

“Oh, great idea.” I loved Mykonos, the Greek restaurant on Washington Boulevard because I had a sentimental attachment to it. On my first full day in Santa Monica, Jamie had dashed out of the studio and brought me lunch from it because we had no food in the house.

The rest of the afternoon passed in a blur – the studio, lunch, and grocery shopping at Whole Foods. It wasn’t until we were turning right onto Third Street that I remembered See’s.

“Shit!” I exclaimed.


“I forgot See’s. Damn. And now we are nowhere near the mall.”

“We’ll go to the one on Wilshire.”

“Is there one on Wilshire?” I asked in amazement.

“You really need to learn to drive,” Jamie observed as he passed our house and slowed to a stop near Mary Hotchkiss Park.

“I can drive,” I answered defensively.

“Can isn’t do,” he said.

He was right; I rarely drove in LA because I was terrified of the traffic, especially on the freeways. My niece, Vikki, had watched me drive once in Beverly Hills and likened my vehicular temperament to a frightened Pomeranian. Embarrassingly enough, she was right.

Jamie had asked me a question but I had scarcely heard. “Oh. What?” I asked. “I wasn’t listening.  Sorry.”

“Why can you drive in Manhattan but not here?”

“Because Manhattan is a grid not an afterthought, and besides it’s an island so I can’t really get lost: if I see water I have gone too far.”

“Honey, just face west and keep going. If you see water here you have gone just far enough.”

He was right; we could see the ocean from our bedroom window. I had never thought about it that way.  All I really needed to remember was that Malibu was north of our house and the Marina was south.

We found a parking place in the small lot behind See’s and turned the corner. Seated on the sidewalk, huddled together directly in front of the shop, were two thin and dirty people, a man and a woman. I presumed that they were homeless; Santa Monica had a lot of homeless people. Shoppers walked over and around them on the crammed sidewalk. Watching, I felt terrible and it seemed suddenly frivolous to be buying candy.

Jamie had already reached the shop, however, and was holding the door open for me. I glanced over my shoulder as I entered. While in the tiny, sweet-smelling store I couldn’t concentrate on which of my family and friends liked what sweets; I was thinking about the two people leaning against the outdoor wall and peered out through the plate glass a couple of times.

Jamie sidled up to me. “What are you looking at outside?”

“Those two homeless people. I know there are social services but it just seems so awful to be out there when everyone else is celebrating with their families and friends. It’ll be Christmas Day soon and they won’t even care because it’ll look just like every other day. I don’t know. It just seems wrong.”

“So do something.”

“You mean, give them money?”

“Laura, you grew up in New York City. You know perfectly well that any money you give them will probably go for drugs or alcohol.”

I considered. “Do you think they’d like chocolate?”

Jamie blinked.

“I mean, I know that food is better but they may well be eating at one of the outreach centers. Maybe they would just like to have a treat, a present. I am going to buy them Santas. Do you think that’s stupid?”

Jamie grinned. “No, I don’t.”

We added two large chocolate Santas to our stack of gifts. Just before Jamie opened the door to step outside I pulled the two chocolate figures from the shopping bag he carried.

I walked over to the man and woman. They avoided my eyes so I crouched in front of them. I held out one of the Santas to the woman. “Merry Christmas,” I said.

She stared at me then slowly reached a thin hand to accept the chocolate. “Thank you,” she whispered.

“You’re welcome.”  I turned slightly to face the man and repeated the words and gesture. He turned to stare at his companion then accepted the chocolate and croaked, “And happy holidays to you, too.”

We smiled at each other then I rose and met Jamie where he was waiting for me at the corner near the parking lot.

Of all the Christmas presents I have ever given or received, I remember those Santas clearly. I am not foolish or naive enough to think that one chocolate Santa will change anyone’s life but it helped; it made one day better for all of us.

I have two dear friends, my Zen friends, Helen Kuryllo and Debbie Levin, who are my mother’s true philosophical daughters because they do things like this every day. They, along with my mom, are my examples of how to coexist peacefully with the world, doing no harm and attempting to do good. As I am nowhere near as decent a person, I may not always appreciate their daily lesson, but I need it.  Especially, during this holiday season, I would like to be like Helen and Debbie, to be the example of how to live well.

Merry Christmas.

Entering the Walkstreet

IMG_3299We had been living in Beverly Hills for three years when Jamie decided that he wanted to move. I wasn’t surprised. While appearing outwardly glamorous in some ways, it is really just an overly-populated, rich people’s small town, and to us, coming from Manhattan, it was a very small town, indeed.

Frankly, I wondered why it took him so long to grow restless. After all, we had seen designer stores before. We had seen Rolls and Bentleys before. We had seen gawking tourists before. And we had seen more movie stars in New York than we ever saw in LA. I think because he spent long weekdays at work and generally returned to New York at the weekends, he had very little time to grow bored; however, when I arrived for holidays or at the end of June and we spent every moment in a town of 5.71 square miles, it didn’t take long for us to weary of it.

One night just before Christmas, Jamie announced that he intended to begin looking for a house. Since I was in New York, he viewed the available ones with a real estate broker after work. After he had seen many and narrowed the field to four, he sent me links to the Google Earth pages so I could participate in the final decision. Benedict Canyon. Hmm. Nice but I did not drive so what was I supposed to do with myself all day besides sit alone at the pool, something I had been doing in BH for years? The same for Coldwater Canyon. Venice? Great, but was that a drug rehab clinic next door?  Oh, no, no, no, not that one. The final choice, in Santa Monica, however, was different.

The late nineteenth century house in the walkstreet was charming. Judging from the photos, it had neighbors, a park, Main Street down the hill, and the ocean two blocks away. There were coffee shops, salons, clothes stores, and a branch library. It wouldn’t matter that I didn’t drive.

Jamie had put off closing on the house until late January, just before the Oscars. I was coming to LA for the long weekend’s festivities; from the gifting suites to the Academy Awards themselves, we had a lot of time already committed, but I wanted to see the house first.

I arrived on Saturday morning. We drove the short distance from LAX to Santa Monica in a wobble of anticipation. I had been to Santa Monica before but, as we had always stayed at the beach hotels, I had no clear idea of its topography.   This time we didn’t go near Loews or Shutters or the Third Street Promenade. We didn’t even get that far. Turning off Ocean Park Boulevard, Jamie pulled into a short driveway and hopped out of the car. I followed. The air was cool and salty. I liked it already.

Jamie tapped the residents’ code into the security gate’s keypad and we entered the walkstreet. I had never seen a more charming place. Two rows of historic bungalows faced each other as the sidewalk joined the postage stamp-sized front gardens. No one was about. Heads swiveling to take it all in, we trotted up the rise to our house. It was sage-green with eggshell trim. It had wide steps and a wider wooden porch with two huge glass picture windows, one in the living room and one in the dining room. Gazing from the house to the west, I could see the Pacific from the rise of the hill. We tiptoed up the steps, excitedly, and peered in the windows. Hardwood floors, open space, a new kitchen. . . I was unbelievably excited, even more than I had been when we bought our first home together.

We stayed only a few minutes. I had hair and nail appointments to begin the long process of getting ready for the big Night Before the Oscars party at the Beverly Hills Hotel. We sauntered back along the walkstreet and re-entered the car then drove back along Ocean Park to eat a quick lunch at Jamie’s favorite burger restaurant, The Counter.

Many years later, I can still feel the excitement I felt that day as, although I didn’t know it, this day was the beginning of so many things – living near my niece, Vikki, and her cat, Finn, again; meeting Debbie and Glenn, who ultimately became among our dearest friends; learning about rats and the proximity of movie star neighbors; and, finally, finding the stray kitten who became our Spencer.

It’s often said that a life’s path is determined with a single step. I think it’s true. My Santa Monica time was among the richest and happiest of my life so far. And it started with the keypad  entry on the walkstreet.

The Movie Star’s Shoe


New York has some pretty big rats. (I mean the ones waddling along the stone walls of the Park at night, not the ones showing up on the front page of the Post.)  When my husband took a job running a Hollywood film production facility I presumed we had left New York’s rats, pigeons, cockroaches, waterbugs, and the rest of the gritty zoologica behind; we were going to live in ocean-fresh Santa Monica with California brown pelicans and Pacific spinner dolphins just outside our door.  It never occurred to me that rats would also share our So Cal paradise until our neighbor, Debbie, told me how relieved she was that Jean Pierre, another neighbor, was having his twenty-foot tall Washingtonia filifera palms pruned.  Not understanding, I asked why.  “Ask the tree guy when he gets here” she replied knowingly.

Later that day I had a long discussion with the man pruning; he told me that rats like to live in untidy palms, the ones with the dead fronds hanging down; they enjoy the protection from the elements and the close food source that unwary humans provide.  To forestall this, the trees must be pruned twice yearly.  Chilled, I spent the rest of the day grateful for Jean Pierre’s garden diligence.

That night sitting at an outside table at The Blue Plate Oysterette, watching the sun slip behind the forty-foot King Palms lining Ocean Avenue, I idly relayed the conversation to my husband, Jamie, as he perused financial statements from the studio.  The idea so captured his imagination that for the entire time we lived there – literally, until we returned to the East Coast – every time we passed a palm tree he’d grab my arm and yell “rat!”  At first it creeped me out, but since I never saw one, eventually I concluded that there couldn’t possibly be rats in every tree. Nevertheless, those invisible rodents remained secreted inside a small, dark sliver of my mind and I cut all palm trees a wide berth .

Still rat-less, weeks later, in mid-July we were lying on our bed watching the 11 o’clock news when I heard a loud thwack. I turned to Jamie.  “Did you hear that?”


“A smacking noise outside, like a bird hit the window.”

“So maybe a bird hit the window.”

“Jame, it’s . . . what, 11:20; what bird flies at that time of night?”

“Maybe it’s a bat.”

“Oooooh, do we have bats here?”

“Maybe it’s a rat jumping out of Jean Pierre’s palm tree.  Remember what the tree guy said.”


“He’s coming to get you!”  Jamie grabbed my arm.  This time I did shriek.  What if the much anticipated, palm-tree-rodent had finally arrived?  He laughed.  “If you really want to know, look out the window.”

Ours is a small house, a landmarked turn-of-the-twentieth-century beach cottage, barely ten feet away from an identical landmarked house, across the paved walkstreet that forms the center spine of the historic bungalow colony.  If that long-expected rat had appeared, he was sprawled on the porch roof, really close, maybe four feet away from the mattress.  I slid Spencer, our marmalade tabby, off my lap and faced the windows; approaching warily, I poked one finger tentatively through the blinds.

Peering through the slats, I saw that something sat in the center of the pitched porch roof; it was sleek-looking with a long slender growth from one end, too sleek-looking to be a rat, even one in overly groomed LA.   And while it was kind of rodenty in color, it appeared to have a red stomach. Was it a bloody rat?

Grabbing a long plastic back scratcher I yanked at the blind cord, then slid up the window sash and leaned out.  I poked at the object with the scratcher.  With a clunking noise, it rolled over and displayed more of its red stomach.  Feeling somewhat safer – rats don’t generally clunk and roll – I leaned out farther and tried to drag it toward me with the curled end of the scratcher.  It turned and clunked again, this time toward the edge.  Leaning out so far I feared tumbling out to join it on the small rooftop, I swatted again.  This time it caught.  I reeled it in.  It was a brown alligator Christian Louboutain stiletto.

Once I had the window closed, I sat on the rug examining my catch as it dangled expensively from the scratcher’s curved end.  It caught the light dully on its sable matte finish.  I lifted it gently and placed it beside me on the pale carpet.  It gleamed; it was a left pump, its sole smooth and crimson, not yet scratched from use.

I knew this shoe.  I had wanted a pair like this but saleswomen in every shoe department from Barney’s to Saks had sighed unctuously and inquired why I had not visited them sooner.  After all, it was the most important shoe of the collection and my size, six, was the most common in all of LA.  Covetously, I slid my bare foot inside the foundling’s cool newness.  I hobbled around to Jamie’s side of the bed.  “Look at this.”

Intrigued by the news broadcast, he ignored me.  I removed the shoe from my foot and waved it in front of his face.  “Jame, look at this.  It wasn’t a rat; it was a shoe on the roof, a brand-new Louboutain.”

He glanced up distractedly and nodded.

Perching on the edge of the mattress I twirled the shoe by its five-inch spike heel.  “How would this get here?” I mused.  “It’s expensive.  It’s alone and they come in pairs.  It’s big, too, look . . . size . . . oooh, eleven.  Wow.  And, anyway, they can’t fly, so how . . .” My voice trailed off.

Jamie looked up from the Marie Callendar commercial and jerked his head to the right. “Her,” he said.

“Her who?”

He looked at me intently and spoke slowly, punctuating his words with a pointing index finger. “Her – across the walkstreet.”  Then, just before he returned his face to the TV screen, he added, “And they can fly, by the way.”

Her Across the Walkstreet was an Oscar-winning actress known to the tabloids as America’s Sweetheart, a Chiclet-toothed girl-next-door, who earned tens of millions of dollars for every movie she made.  None of the neighbors knew her any better than the average reader of Star or People because, while she and her manager-husband owned the bungalow opposite ours, they rarely stayed there, since they also had an estate in Malibu and another in the Palisades.

After waiting for the next commercial to begin, I asked, “What are you talking about? What does she have to do with a size eleven flying Louboutain?”

“It’s her shoe.”

“How do you know?”

“Because I have met some of its relatives.”

“You can’t have; it’s here alone.”

Jamie shook his head, amazed by my naïveté.  “More distant relatives, then – a red Jimmy Choo, a black Givenchy, and . . . I am pretty sure the first one was a crème Manolo.  And they all knew how to fly, although some didn’t land too well; I thought the last one was gonna break the living room window.”

My lips formed a little “o”.  He tapped my chin and grinned.  “Close your mouth or you may catch the next one.”

It transpired that our neighbor – America’s Sweetheart – possessed the interpersonal communication skills of a thirteenth century Mongol.  Whenever she didn’t get her way she threw a screaming tantrum.  “Threw” appeared to be the operative word, too, because a shoe often accompanied the shriek; she wound back and hurled, although with less precision than enthusiasm, apparently, since no one had admitted to seeing her husband with a black eye.  And as our house sat immediately opposite theirs on the narrow walkstreet, the shoes landed most often on our porch.

I was amazed at Jamie’s story.  “When does this happen?  Where have I been?”

“I don’t know where you are.  It happens at all different times.”

“Why didn’t you tell me?”

He shrugged. “I didn’t really think about it.”

“Where are they?”

Jamie swigged his Diet Coke.  “I gave ‘em back; what do you think, I kept ‘em?”

“How?” I envisioned his knocking on the door and bowing, ‘Your shoe, madam’ like some Post-Modern Hollywood Sir Walter Raleigh.

“Usually I leave them on their front steps on my way to work in the morning.”


He stared.  “What else could I do with them?”

I considered.  Fill them with lemonade and freeze them, making shoe-shaped granitas. Plant them with dill and tarragon for a fashionista herb garden. Amusing, yes, but highly impractical, and nothing that my husband would have thought of.

“I don’t know.  I just . . . wondered.”

“Yeah, well, toss it down by the front door and I’ll drop it off on my way out tomorrow.”

“Okay.  I guess.”  Somehow it seemed wrong to throw it again, so I carried the shoe to the narrow staircase and descended into the inky darkness.  I wasn’t sure I wanted to return the shoe, although I certainly couldn’t formulate a reason for keeping it.  It was . . . associated glory, of sorts, like bidding on a star’s detritus at those Hollywood auctions Julien’s in Beverly Hills was always promoting.  This shoe was my own little brush with celebrity, except in this case the celebrity’s Us Magazine life had been found wanting.  Stars!  They’re just like us!  They feed their kids and phone their therapists and argue with their spouses, but their nameless neighbors have to help them find their matching shoes after they have pitched them across courtyards.

A tiny part of me wanted to feel morally superior and be sorry for America’s Sweetheart, as though my life was somehow more meaningful than hers – after all, I didn’t throw shoes – but I couldn’t quite manage that level of hypocritical envy. Regardless, for the first time I considered that beneath the great clothes and red-carpet events it must be pretty weird to be her.  She may well do all those real-people things but she does them with an aging Sober Life Coach rolling along behind her and guiding her hand while a phalanx of photographers angles to capture every misstep for posterity.

No, she is nothing like me.  I teach high school English and worry about rats in palm trees, not rats clutching cameras waiting patiently for the unflattering money shot to define me to all of America.

I sat in the darkened living room thinking until the entire colony was silent, then gently opened the door.  I tiptoed across the paving stones and lay the shoe on the doormat.    Treading softly down the wooden steps I gazed up at Jean Pierre’s palms wondering how many eyes were observing me as I completed my stealthy mission.  However many there were, it was fewer than the number that watched my neighbor park her Prius in the Whole Foods parking lot.  Maybe all the rats in LA didn’t live in the trees.

Roses and the Snow

Rose and Snow

It was my twentieth wedding anniversary a few Thursdays ago and my husband Jamie and I went out to dinner. I went with two of his sisters to a restaurant in Manhattan and he joined his cousin and her husband at their house in Santa Monica. He flies home every Friday night and, like a 36-hour clock precisely wound, returns to Los Angeles on Sunday evening.

Sometimes I wonder if the ceramic bride and groom on our wedding cake were accidentally placed facing in opposite directions. While living in the same place at the same time has sometimes proved difficult, our marriage only became a cross-country relay event three years ago, when he became the President and CEO of The Culver Studios, known throughout the movie-going world as the big, white house seen in the introductory frame of every David O. Selznick film.

While living simultaneous lives on opposite coasts can be Hell, it also comes with unexpected moments of incomparable sweetness that I don’t think would be there if we were together all the time. Sometimes these moments are simultaneous. Sometimes they involve snow.

I really only like snow from a distance, like when Bing Crosby and Rosemary Clooney are singing as they walk through it, arm in arm. When I am faced with the reality of it, I hate it. It was on my mind from the moment Jamie accepted the job at Culver.

“What’ll I do when it snows?” I had asked in October, as he packed linen clothes for sunny L.A.

“We have that huge new snow blower. “

“I don’t know how to use it.”

“I’ll write it out. You’ll be fine.”

One day last February snow was forecast, a lot of snow, the kind of snowfall that made my student’s noses quiver with delight, as though, like rabbits, they could feel it coming. They were right, because at five a. m. it announced its arrival by a ringing phone.

“Laura, it’s Pam from the snow chain. We have a snow day today.”

I awakened a couple of hours later to a world smothered in snow. Enough snow for a day off is good, but what was piled outside my bedroom window was overkill. And it was still coming, tiny, crispy, little crystalline flakes floating happily to the ground covering trees, bushes, and trellises.   It seemed as if a giant Martha Stewart had gotten carried away with the sugar shaker.

Staring at it dolefully didn’t make it go away, so I decided to blow it. I didn’t want to spend the entire day and night marooned. How hard could it be? All manner of confidence-boosting mantras burbled in my brain as I dressed in multiple layers of sweatpants. Then I dialed our house in Santa Monica, the house near the beach where it doesn’t snow. I woke him.

“It’s snowing.”


“I’m going to snow blow so I don’t have to stay here all day.”


“Is it hard?”

“No, it’s pretty easy. It’s self-propelled, after all.”

Outside, actually standing next to it, the snow blower looked a lot bigger than it had when that nice man had delivered it from Wyckoff Power Equipment. I pulled off the note Jamie had taped to it. “Plug it in. Push the orange lever forward. Press the black button. It’s electric start so you’ll be fine.”

Like the diligent student I’ve always been, I followed the directions to the letter. Vrooooom! It roared to life. I had planned to aim the Zamboni-sized monstrosity up the hill toward the road, but I couldn’t move it. It weighed two tons. Thinking the self-propulsion would help, I squeezed the handle and gave it gas. Pow! It jumped and dragged me into the garage wall. This was harder than I thought. Inch by inch I turned the snow blower until it pointed mostly uphill toward the road, definitely away from the garage. Squeezing the gas handle again and holding on tight simultaneously proved to be the key. It chugged up the hill projectile-vomiting all the snow in its path. It was huge, though, and heavy, and despite the self-propulsion or maybe because of it, I ended up with a really crooked furrow. Regardless of what propelled it, it still had to be pushed low to the ground and guided. It looked like a nearsighted groundhog with faulty GPS had tried to burrow uphill in the dark. My confidence ebbed.   One badly plowed trough in the snow wasn’t going to solve the driveway problem. At the top of the hill, I let off the gas and, again, inched it into the correct position. By now I was sweating profusely in my down jacket so I ripped it off and tossed it over the stone pillar that frames my driveway and continued in my sweats. Downhill was easier (the self-propulsion, again) but since it was downhill and I am just over 100 pounds, I lost control of the machine and it thumped along with me clinging to it. Nearing the end of the hill, and trying to hold onto it, I forgot to stop squeezing the gas lever and crashed into the garage wall again.

My spirit of adventure left as I landed on my butt in the cold, steadily deepening snow. My ego was completely deflated. Obviously, I couldn’t do this. There was too much snow, it was snowing too hard still, and I was just not big or strong enough to handle the machine. I began to feel sorry for myself. My rotten husband went to Los Angeles and left me here in the Arctic. My nose started to dribble and fat, hot tears welled in my eyes. Too stubborn to surrender, I tugged on the giant machine until it faced uphill again. I began a new channel next to the previous one. Suddenly it got harder to push the machine and it looked like less snow was being churned up and spewed out. I released the gas and shoved the lever into Park. Crouching in front of the behemoth I saw that one of the churning blades, the far left one, was spinning lazily. I touched it. It twirled like a Texas cheerleader’s baton. It was broken. Something had broken it. Pushing away the caked snow I saw that a twig stuck out at a weird angle, like a broken arm. I realized exactly what was wrong because it had happened before. The rigid twig had jammed the blades causing the shear bolt to snap.

Fury crashed over me like a tidal wave. I stumbled through the slippery mess into the garage and grabbed the extension phone. Wiping my nose with my left sweatshirt sleeve, I dialed L.A. with my right hand. Jamie answered.

“It’s broken!” I sobbed.


“It’s broken. The damn snow blower is broken. The snow is so heavy it snapped a little branch from the maple tree near the well house and it’s still snowing so it got buried by the snow and I didn’t see it so I ran over it and it wedged in the blade and broke the shear bolt again and now the stupid thing’s broken and I’m stuck here in eight inches of snow all by myself and it’s seventy-five degrees where you are and you left me here all alone and I want a divorce.”

Silence. Then, “I’ll call you back.”

Heaving with sobs at life’s unfairness and the relentless snow and my husband’s selfishness and, truth be told, my own incompetence, I stomped into the house, kicked off my boots and threw myself onto the kitchen window seat to cry. After about twenty minutes I felt a bit better and decided to make a cup of tea. I unfolded my legs to rise from the seat, and a red SUV appeared at the top of my driveway. “Oh, great. He’s broken down right there so even if I could get someone to plow he’d be blocking the driveway,” I mumbled.   Just as I was about to pull on my boots to go back outside I realized whose car it was. It was Jamie’s friend Kurt. He strode down the driveway. The snow seemed to part in front of his 6’4’ frame.

I opened the back door.

“Hey, Jamie called me from California and said you needed help with the snow blower so I brought an extra bolt from my house. Those darn things break so easily, don’t they?”

Kurt fixed the snow blower and cleaned the entire driveway. Then he had a cup of hot tea with me in the warm kitchen and drove to his own house. I had a clean driveway and didn’t have to stay home all day if I didn’t want to. I didn’t go anywhere, though, once the driveway was plowed. I snuggled on the couch with the dog and watched Turner Classic Movies. And it’s a good thing because if I had, I might not have been there to open the door when the truck arrived from The Little Flower Shoppe in Ridgewood bringing a dozen snow colored roses. The card read “Happy Snow Day. Your worthless husband.”