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Now that my sailboat sits shrink-wrapped in the backyard between the gas grill and the garden and my other warm-weather toys are all put away I have little to do around here until the snow flies and I have to start plowing and sanding our long winding driveway. Some think with global warming our snow this season may arrive late and leave early so who knows how much fun I’ll get to have with a plow-and-sand package – if I decide to get one.
When we moved up here to the country I couldn’t decide if I wanted to get a fancy new plow rig to take care of my half-mile driveway, or if I should just have someone come and do the plowing for me. It was an important decision not to be taken lightly so I did what I often do before making crucial life-altering decisions – I talked to the locals.
Like any Maine town worth its name our town has a local store where a select group of resident seers, scholars, consultants and public-sector employees gather each morning and hold informal council sessions, all while collectively downing several jugs of the store’s own breakfast-blend and putting away a few boxes of donuts and Danish.
After putting my “plow or be plowed” question before the distinguished panel I didn’t have to wait long for a heavy discussion of snow plows to begin.
Just like lawyers who in formal court settings cite precedent to sway an argument so do these wise counselors of the store cite presidents – usually the experiences of a brother, an uncle, cousin or neighbor.
One expert told the story of his neighbor, who decided he needed some extra money so he went out and got himself a top-of-the-line plow rig with every extra gadget and attachment you could think of. He was going to plow driveways and parking lots, and he figured with all the money he’d make he’d be able to retire to Florida by the time the truck and plow was paid for.
So, I asked the storyteller, how did it work out for your neighbor?
Well, what with his day job and his nights and weekends plowing schedule the fella was never home and the repairs on the truck and plow rig about bankrupted him so his wife ended up divorcing him. When all the dust had settled from the divorce and all the lawyers had run off with their cut, she ended up with the house, the boat and the truck with plow package. Poor fella, and I mean POOR! I don’t know what he’s doing now but I know he ain’t plowing.
Even after a story like that I still wasn’t convinced. I still thought I could save money by getting myself a snowplow and doing it myself.
But it was the local plow salesman who finally convinced me. He assured me that their latest model would be a joy to own, a cinch to operate and only pennies a-day to maintain.
What a funny guy! Why do I listen to these people? They’re worse than politicians and we all know from recent experience what some of them are like, don’t we?
Anyway, do you know anyone looking for a driveway to plow?
John McDonald is a humorist and storyteller who performs regularly
throughout New England. John’s e-mail address is
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