How A Small Town Shovels Out

Two days later, the hangover from our first winter storm is still being felt, with school canceled at Gibraltar, Sevastopol, and Southern Door, and delayed in Sturgeon Bay. When the blizzard arrived Saturday night, it kept several friends and me from making it home from a Christmas party, creating an impromptu slumber party.

The next morning I put faith in my Pontiac Vibe to take me home through five miles of wind and snowdrifts to my house. Apparently it takes more than 16 years of driving compact cars in Wisconsin winters to learn when to say when. The closest I’ve come to owning a truck made for this kind of weather was a rusted out el camino.

I made it to the first STOP sign before I was stuck.

But it was only a couple minutes before Bobby Schultz, one of our Baileys Harbor Town Supervisors, came through, plowing snow for the Door County Highway Department. He finished his swipe to Highway 57, then turned around to get the other side of the road, making it back toward the corner I patrolled, where he performed some intricate carving around my Vibe, which I had so impressively nestled into a snowdrift.

Though his plow dwarfed my car and its blade hovered ominously before my hood, I wasn’t the slightest bit nervous as he inched hairs away from my headlights to clear the snow. He’d obviously done this before.

Within moments I was freed. I opened my door to give a sheepish, embarrassed thank you, and Mr. Schultz opened his. In fact, he was hopping out of the cab with a big smile and some sand in case I needed traction. I didn’t, though I certainly appreciated the gesture. Even more-so, I appreciated how much satisfaction Mr. Schultz seemed to get from helping a guy out.

Though he probably pulled away shaking his head, wondering what the heck I was thinking trying to drive through this storm with that car (I didn’t see anything but trucks on the road the rest of the way home), all he saw at the intersection was a guy (um, idiot) who needed a hand.

That’s how a small town shovels out.