… on helping(ish) miss judy


Those of you who have been reading for a while might remember my summer neighbor, Miss Judy, especially from a post I called, ‘on driving miss judy‘.

Miss Judy is now closer to the age of ninety than eighty, and continues to come to Maine in the summertime. She is incredibly independent, still able to live in her two story house (with her bedroom on the second floor) on her own. Other than driving her to the post office, or helping with the other occasional errands and/or activities, our visits have tended to be purely social in nature, most including iced tea.

Pre-summer season this year, I got a call from her. She said she was coming up and this was the year that she was putting her house on the market.

We both laughed.

Last year was also the year.

As was the year before.

But this year she was serious.

Then weeks went by… then a month… then two.

No Miss Judy.

When we would check in on the phone, there would be one delay or another, but she was still firm in her ‘I’ve got to get up there to get it ready to sell’.

And then, in September, she arrived!

It was kind of awesome to see the lights on and hear the shouts of ‘Well, finally!”, from friends and neighbors making their way up Miss Judy’s driveway to greet her (and probably have some iced tea!).

The house went on the market mid-October and it is, of course, bitter sweet. Miss Judy has been coming up for more than forty summers. She loves it here, and many of the folks here love her.

I asked her how long she intended to stay this year (she usually leaves by early fall). She hedged initially, but then decided to head home by Thanksgiving.

Then she was still here on Thanksgiving.

She said she and her friend were waiting for the Thanksgiving ‘rush’ to clear.

Then, two weeks into December, we were talking and she said there’d been “A few unexpected circumstances, you know. We’ll head home soon.” We both agreed it was fortunate that it hadn’t been snow-y or ice-y… yet.

She seemed unconcerned, so I was too.

Then, last Thursday morning, snow started falling out of the sky.

By the end of the storm, somewhere between ten and twelve inches had fallen. It was very fluffy and light, so it blew around everywhere. You could be standing in a few inches in one spot, and then step sideways into a pile up to your hip (true!).

John used The Beast (his name for our snowblower) to clear our driveway and other key spaces. I watched for Miss Judy’s plow guy (she has her driveway plowed with every storm whether she is here or not), but I didn’t see his lights that night. When I drove by and noticed the driveway wasn’t plowed the following morning, I waited until noon and gave her a call from my car.

“Oh, we’re fine!” she assured me. I asked her if she was awaiting the snow plow and she got a bit huffy. She explained that, last year, the plow absolutely ruined her driveway so she did not arrange for her ‘regular plow man’ to come. I waited, like, for the alternative plan. Nada. So I said, “So… I could call a different plow man for you…”

Oh no, she explained, the sun was coming out so the snow would probably melt on its own.

I looked down at my dashboard.

It was 22 degrees outside.

“Well,” I said, “it might melt. But if it doesn’t…”

In the same, gentle, sweet voice she said – and I am not kidding – “Oh I am not risking my driveway to those creature plow people.”




I nearly drove off the road.

I stayed calm though, and eventually she agreed that JoHn would call her at 2:00 and, if the snow hadn’t melted, he would come over with the snow blower. I was careful to say that the snowblower would not necessarily leave her driveway gravel completely in place, but it might not do the damage that a creature plow person was capable of doing.

I did not actually say ‘creature plow person’, because I would have laughed out loud before finishing that sentence.

I will, however, now formally capitalize Creature Plow Person (and/or People).

Later in the day, I checked in with JoHn as I was driving home. He said that he did call Miss Judy at 2:00. Miss Judy politely listened to him tell her that he would be very careful and would be happy to snow-blow her entire driveway so that folks could get to her house, and she could – you know – leave. He explained that each day that went by added to the risk that the snow might be all packed down, or icy, or generally un-snow-blow-able. He was trying very hard to save her driveway from a plow-tastrophe.

Miss Judy agreed to the following:

*  He could snow blow a single snowblower’s width path up her driveway, to her side door.

*  He was also allowed to snowblow around Miss Judy’s friend’s car.

*  She let him bring up her trash barrels (which had been snowed in at the end of the driveway).

*  He also delivered a package from Fed Ex.

That last one came about because the Fed Ex driver could not shrink her vehicle to the width of one snowblower to get up the driveway.

And this is where we stand today.


It has since rained, so the snow is now very heavy and icy and not at all inclined to being tossed around by a snowblower.

Miss Judy called me this morning to tell me that she had called the General Store and told them she was sending them a check. She gave them our names, and was pre-paying for one of their delicious daily specials so we can order dinner some night when we don’t feel like cooking. She even included desserts.

How great is that?!

I thanked her and told her she didn’t have to do that, but she said she was so grateful for JoHn’s help that she really wanted to. I told her that was very sweet and generous and thanked her again. We got to talking and she said she had plenty of food and didn’t need anything. She said she was sure the snow would melt by tomorrow because they were planning to head out to the store then.

But it is cold and it will not melt by tomorrow and guess what that means.

Creature Plow People, that’s what that means!

Time to pop the popcorn.

Thanks for readin’.

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