T he latest storm left about 16 inches of snow in my area over the weekend (the official measurement in Boston was higher). I tend to wait until the storms are winding down before I head outside to start shoveling. As I was in the kitchen drinking coffee and looking out the window, watching the snow fly sideways in huge wind gusts, I heard the motor of a snowblower.
Our next-door neighbor has been helping us out by clearing all or part of the snow deposited at the end of the driveway by passing plows, so I assumed he was at it again, but then the sound grew louder. He was coming up the driveway with the blower, which I thought was strange until I remembered the dryer vent in his house's basement faces our driveway; I dug it out after the first big storm, but it had gotten covered again by a drift caused by the latest storm's high winds.
He pushed the blower straight into the drift until he reached the vent, then backed up and continued up our driveway toward our garage, then turned the corner at the back of the house and came across toward our back steps. He didn't quite get all the way there because there was another very large drift, but he did enough to save me a bunch of effort when I did get outside to shovel.
A couple of hours later I had cleared everything except the big pile at the end of the driveway; the neighbor had cut a path straight through but the rest of it remained. I started working on it, figuring I had at least another hour's work ahead of me. It was still very windy and was getting even colder, and I was worried that I wouldn't be able to finish.
Since I was stepping out into the street frequently I was keeping a close eye on oncoming traffic. I had been working for 15 or 20 minutes when from a couple of blocks away I spotted what looked like a piece of heavy equipment approaching. As it got closer I saw that it was a Bobcat, and I thought to myself, buddy, you sure could make my life a lot easier right now. As I stood watching the vehicle slowed down, then angled in toward my driveway. The driver lowered the bucket and picked up a big scoop of snow, then drove forward a little and dumped it on the big bank formed by weeks of plows passing by.
He then backed up, turned toward the driveway, and came forward, lowering the bucket and then backing up again, using it to pull the snow into the street, then scooped up another pile of snow and dumped that too. He repeated this once more as I stood grinning and waving, then went on his way, leaving just some loose snow that I was able to clear away in about ten minutes. I have no idea whohe was, but I am extremely grateful for the assist.